Wrap It Up

IS PAINT PASSé? IN SOME CASES, MAYBE. VINYL WRAP­PING IS FASTER AND CHEAPER, AND CAN MAKE A MEAN-LOOK­ING LOGO. BY MIKE SMITH

Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD -

ap­plied with a brush. (I used to think this made me a Lud­dite, but re­cently I’ve been cor­rected: I’m ac­tu­ally a Neo-Lud­dite. Google it.) Maybe I’m all wet too, as wet as foul-weather gear in hur­ri­cane sea­son. Fiber­glass boats are re­ally fiber­glass­re­in­forced plas­tic; they’re skinned with gel­coat, an­other plas­tic; and lin­ear polyurethane paint is, yep, plas­tic. So, with all this hard­core plas­tic­ity go­ing on, what’s the dif­fer­ence if the boat’s also cov­ered with stretchy, col­or­ful vinyl? And even “plas­tic” it­self is such a vague term, isn’t it? What’s my prob­lem? Maybe I need to get out more.

Plas­tic Pluses and Mi­nuses

The big ad­van­tage of vinyl-wrap­ping a hull is lower cost com­pared to lin­ear polyurethane, most of the sav­ings com­ing in fewer la­bor hours. Ac­cord­ing to the Wild Group, lead­ers in wrap­ping megay­achts—the 223-foot steel mo­to­ry­acht Aviva is one of their best-known projects, wrapped in 2,600 feet of gun­metal-grey vinyl—wrap­ping costs about two-thirds as much as a top-qual­ity LP job, thanks to re­duced la­bor time. Both pro­ce­dures de­mand a per­fectly pre­pared sur­face—even mi­nor scratches and dings will show up through both the thin skin of vinyl and a coat of LP—but once the yacht is ready for top­coat­ing, the vinyl rolls on in one shot. No primer be­fore the color (ex­cept with bare metal hulls), no gloss top­coat af­ter. Roll it on, squeegee out the air, and you’re done. OK, it’s a lit­tle more com­pli­cated than that, and re­quires skilled wrap­pers for a first-class job, but you get the idea.

Cost isn’t the only ad­van­tage. To many yacht own­ers, time is money, and they’d rather be en­joy­ing their boats than have them laid up in the yard for months get­ting shiny new top­sides sprayed on. Wrap­ping gets the boat back in ser­vice quicker, and the owner hav­ing fun sooner. For yachts in the char­ter biz, shorter re­fits are even more im­por­tant. Should the top­sides come out on the short end of a bad dock­ing or a ram­bunc­tious launch driver, vinyl is eas­ier to re­pair than LP, too, and vinyl ad­vo­cates claim the ma­te­rial is more UV-re­sis­tant than paint.

Ad­vo­cates also say vinyl wrap is eas­ier on the en­vi­ron­ment than LP, be­cause no chem­i­cals or sol­vents are used on-site dur­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion, and there­fore no fumes are emit­ted; dry­ing paint re­leases va­pors, some of them toxic. How­ever, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists con­sider PVC man­u­fac­tur­ing one of the

Wild vinyl graph­ics like this are of­ten cheaper than paint.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.