Building a Boat: The Process Begins

Actually, the process began quite awhile ago, but this is the first concrete step we can document (other than sending a deposit check…which is done!)

What color will the boat be?

Bruce pours the first test sample gel coat of our new hull color.

This is a very personal decision for any boat buyer, but for us it was also a practical decision.  We love boats of many colors, but experience has narrowed our list of choices.

The American Tug will be built with a gel coat hull, so we needed to limit our decision to gel coat options and needed to consider shortcomings unique to gel coat surfaces.

Because of our experience with both light and dark hull colors, we determined that we do not want a dark-colored hull.  Not only do dark colors make the boat hot on warm, sunny days, but dark gel coat, in particular, typically succumbs to UV damage quickly.  It becomes faded and chalky within a few years, and then needs to be painted.  We want a lighter hull that will not be as hot, and  that with proper maintenance will hold gloss and sheen for many years.

Our current boat, a Sabre 386, is a nice pale grey color gel coat that has held up beautifully with diligent cleaning and waxing.  imageAfter eleven years, it still looks almost new, with great shine and depth.  We would have stayed with that color, which Sabre calls Smoke White, except that we feared it would present an unfortunate “wall of white plastic” look on a trawler with a large superstructure and no wood.  So we needed something that was still a relatively light shade, but also brought some color to the boat.

A Shelter Island Runabout in “Sea Shell Green” AwlGrip.

A few years ago we saw a Shelter Island Runabout in a handsome light grey-green color.  We both loved it.  Some time after that, we saw both Back Cove and Sabre boats with the same color.  A little research gave us the information we needed: a gel coat color code that we could order and test.  Which we did.  And which we liked.

A Sabre 48 with “Wasabi Green” gel coat.

Above, Bruce is mixing a sample and making some color chips.  Left is a Sabre 48 which is conveniently docked just ten minutes from where we live.  We took our sample color chips down to her, and confirmed the color match.  We have our color.  Shelter Island calls the AwlGrip version “Sea Shell”.  Sabre calls the gel coat version “Wasabi”.  Our new American Tug will be the gel coat color “Sea Spray”.



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