For those of you that don’t know me, I work for the Yacht Division of International Paint in Felling, Gateshead as a designer/artworker within the marketing team.

Typically I spend my working days clicking away on a giant iMac, artworking labels for a various number of yacht-paint products including topsides, antifoulings, primers, undercoats etc. So what are those? To be honest, I really have no idea what they are, what they do, what they look like or how they work either. Until now that is.

Last year, International Paint ran a programme called ‘Restore a boat’ in which we sourced a vessel that was looking pretty ordinary and in need of some serious restoration work! We were lucky enough to be given a boat to work on from the Scouts up at Lake Windermere, who used it for weekend sailing days. The idea of the project was that we take the boat away and give it a complete makeover from top to bottom using our own products and then hand the boat back after the transformation. This meant that we were able to help out a worthwhile cause and at the same time, showcase our own product range, demonstrating how the products are used and showing the effect and finish of the end result.

The project was a big success and this year we have again been fortunate to find a boat in need of a lot of TLC, which has been given to us by the charity organisation ‘Calvert Trust’. The trust works to help give people with a broad range of disabilities the chance to do all sorts of activities with purpose built facilities that they might not find on their own doorstep, such as canoeing, sailing and climbing to name a few.


Having learned more about the trust and the work they do, it is an excellent and worthy project to be involved in and I am very pleased to be a part of it this year. After all, it’s not every day you get the chance to get out of the office to paint a boat and play with power tools is it?


The boat in question is pictured above which as you can see is a catamaran, so in effect, we have two boats! We also only have two weeks to restore it, with a team of 24 people. Three teams of eight, on a three day rotation, with four people at any one time, working on one hull alone. If that sounds like a lot of work, believe me, it is!

The first job we had, was to dismantle everything, which meant using spanners, screwdrivers, sockets, pliers and drills. Taking everything to pieces leaving the bare fibreglass shell. Spanners and screwdrivers??? I was in my element!

I don’t know about you, but to me there
is nothing more satisfying than taking something apart with a spanner and
screwdriver, only to put it back together
again, with a huge sense of achievement
that, in doing so, you’ve somehow improved the item you’ve been fiddling with. Even though it’s no different to when you took it off in the first place. Nevertheless, with the super-structure stripped down to it’s shell, it was time to start cleaning it down and prepping it ready for it’s first coat of paint.

If I had my head in the clouds with a screwdriver and spanner in my hands, I was quickly brought right back down to earth with a hard thud when i had to exchange them for a piece of sand paper and a tack-rag. Cleaning and prepping a boat has got to be the most tedious job known to man, other than changing duvet covers and ironing shirts! It probably takes three times as long to prepare a surface for a coat of paint, than it does to actually paint it. If not longer!

Varnishing on the other hand, was a different matter altogether! The brand new wooden trim was already cut, sanded and ready to go. Being a creative artworker, I love putting the finishing touches to things and ‘the icing on the cake’ so to speak, so was more than happy to spend an afternoon adding the glossy finish to the deck rails and wooden panels.


With only three days work left on the project, and around 20 coats of paint done, the boat almost looks like new! And with one or two more finishing touches, it will be time to get re-acquainted with my spanners and screwdriver again. My only hope is that we labelled everything correctly when we took it apart so i can find everything to put it all back together again. Erm, hmm, will post again once the project is completed. Fingers crossed!

For more information about the Calvert Trust, please visit their website at http://www.calvert-trust.org.uk/
For additional images of ‘Project Perfection’ please visit our page on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/InternationalYachtPaint

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