Shades of Grey.

Pathfinder build project post middle of April 2022.

Today, as i write, the Pathfinder dinghy looks very different to how iv’e got used to it this year as it’s gone from looking odd, messy and incohesive to this afternoon where, at the end of just a day’s work it’s all almost a 2 tone uniform grey : the underside is one grey which is the Primocon primer and the topsides a slightly different grey which is the topside primer. After some discussion on the forum, lots of thinking and costing up the various options i did the obvious thing which was to have a look-see what i already had in the workshop and what that would work with.

Although the best approach might have been to start with an epoxy primer and then tie coats before maybe reverting to simple Alkyd or one pack Urethane topcoats i know my way around simple one-pack paints well enough and i know i can work with them – plus i’d like to add that the boat hull is fully sealed and well protected with glass and epoxy. What i’m aiming for is more like a good example of a neat and functional working boat rather than the perfection of finish some builders go for – i enjoy seeing and respect their work hugely but i think i have a slightly more utilitarian attitude towards my boats. From once having owned and tried to maintain an all varnished Folkboat my recent boats have had almost no varnish… last boat only had one piece varnished and that was the tiller…..when i make a tiller for this one it may well get an oiled finish ; as i think about it the only part that I might finish ‘bright’ could be the mast just because it makes the joints and surfaces more visible.

First coats of primer.

Last year i did some priming inside the boat so i already had a light primer and a satin finish topcoat ready for that and then i found some International Primocon and it’s thinners so that was a good start for the underside……and then, I unearthed the undercoat and Topcoat that i bought too much of for my last boat. The latter has never been opened and has a decent shelf like so it should be in good condtion – also, i completely failed to make a decision about the topsides color so i may as well just go with what iv’e got except that i might add a different colour as a top strake.

The underside i think i’ll have to antifoul because the boat could be in the water for weeks at a time so that’s likely to be a hard racing finish which is good for mud berths and quite easy to bring to a hard and smooth finish ; right now the whole of the underside has 2 coats of the Primocon primer which i find slightly difficult to work with – the first coat went on ok but gave me little working time but the second one seemed to be dragging a bit so maybe the No 3 thinners soften the previous coat…..whatever, it’s on and can be wet sanded back a little.

The paint shop

I’m now at a bit of a critical moment because i’m not far (as i write) from turning the boat over and taking the build frame out completely so that i can work with the boat on the ground – with the skegs on pads. Yes, iv’e got a lot of work to do on the inside of the boat and still got some parts to make but i could soon be working on the decks, gunnel and cuddy ; iv’e really got to make a final decision on what rig i’m going to have and that determines the next big order for timber. I thought i was going to build a high aspect Dutch style gaff rig because iv’e had one on a boat before and liked it but I can feel myself slowly coming back around to the idea of an English/Breton style standing Lug rig with as tall a mast as i can make from 1 piece staves (6.1 meters). Yes, i built a compression post for a tabernacle but it’s hardly in the way and if i really didn’t get on with a lugger i would have little work to do to build a gaff main mast.


Lugger Greyhound in Whitsand bay… that rig !

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