Refinishing Your CLC Boat

We’re often asked what sort of ongoing maintenance CLC boats require. Here are some thoughts on the life of your paint and varnish.

How often will I need to refinish my paint or varnish? - The glib answer is, “Depends on how hard you use it.” Our large demo fleet sees heavy abuse most of the year, with literally hundreds of in-water trials, often from rough beaches. These boats typically need at least a touch-up once a year, and refinishing every two years. Few people use their boats that hard, though. Lightly used boats that are stored indoors can go three or four years or even more.

How do I know when to refinish my boat? - Scratches in paint and varnish don’t harm the integrity of your boat, just its appearance. When the scratches start to bug you, sand the paint or varnish with 220 grit on a random orbital sander until you have a ‘matte’ finish. Wipe carefully with lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, or the potion recommended on the varnish can. Apply two fresh coats.

What if a scratch is deep? - If you think a deep scratch or abrasion might have penetrated the fiberglass and epoxy, it needs to be repaired right away, before water can damage the wood. Make sure to dry the affected area thoroughly. Sand away paint or varnish until the scratch is clean, and fill the scratch with epoxy. When that’s cured, you can build up new coats of paint and varnish. If you want to get back on the water quickly, you don’t need to refinish the whole boat; just tape off and refinish the area around the damage. You can blend in the repair next Winter, when you have plenty of time.

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