Upgrading our Westerly Storm 33

By Benedict Warcus

Annika and I acquired our Westerly Storm 33, Sailing II, in summer 2018. From the start, it became clear to us that Sailing II was a boat which would perfectly meet our needs and it is certainly built to last. We have given her a lot of attention, carrying our maintenance and improvements to her condition.   We had the engine replaced in 2019 with a Sole Mini29, including new gearbox, driveshaft and propellor.  There is now new upholstery in the fore and aft cabins.  On the navigation side, there is new electronics and the rigging was replaced in 2022.

Apart from the technical aspects I particularly wanted to improve Sailing II’sappearance (which was quite acceptable for a more than 30 years old boat) as well. In autumn 2019 I decided to repaint Sailing II’s cockpit. As I had very little experience on paint jobs at that time I chose Epifanes Monourethan paint as it would be easier to handle and mistakes could be more easily rectified. My choice of Epifanes was also influenced by a friend who runs a shipyard.  He highly recommended using this Dutch manufacturer as in his experience, the results were exceptionally good. So, I started to gain my first experiences of painting and what shall I say…there is still a nice result in 2024.

But when it came to the pandemic lockdown Annika and I had a bit more time to think about further improvements on our Storm. As some saloon windows were slightly leaking, I planned for replacement. I found a company who could manufacture bespoke windows (the longer ones in the front part of the saloon are not commercially available ‘off the shelf’) and so I laid plans to start the

‘windows project’ in Winter 21/22.

One thing leads to another!  Once the windows were removed, I realised that this provided the perfect opportunity to repaint the whole superstructure as well. This time I was braver as, encouraged by the cockpit’s results, I decided to do it with Epifanes Polyurtehan (2 component paint) as this promised longer lasting and more durable results. Before repainting the superstructure, I decided to work on Sailing II’s stern first (a part of the boat which you don’t see during sailing in case you mess it up…). However, the principles of a paint job are always the same: Clean-sand-mask-apply paint!

First, I started with cleaning the stern thoroughly with plenty of silicon remover. This is a very important step – not only to clean the surface from any dirt but especially from any kind of wax that was applied over a boat’s life. On completion I started sanding the surface beginning with 120 grain followed by 220 up to 360.  Sanding is necessary not only to level the surface but to ensure a clean base for good paint adherence. After each step of sanding, I vacuumed the surface and cleaned it again with silicon remover.

Fig 1 Stern Sanded

Having finished the sanding and cleaning, it was now time to apply the masking tape to cover all the areas which shall not be painted. I decided to use a higher priced version from Tesa as it can be applied easier, sticks better and can also be easily removed without “melting” to the paint. When it comes to masking it is important to be aware of the width of your paintbrush or pain troller.  With 2 component paint, it was particularly important to ensure accurate masking of the area NOT to be painted, you really do not want to be removing any excess edge paint marks.  So, masking with the most German precision possible pays off in the end!

After some 4 hours on preparing the stern, it was finally time to apply the paint. The 2-component paints are little sensitive when it comes to application, but it is not rocket science! Most important is the temperature and a precise mixture of paint and hardener (the mixing data is provided on the paint can). A scale provided by my lovely wife and a plastic cup were just perfect to achieve the right amounts. It is also necessary to measure the temperature on the surface you want to paint and to be aware of the predicted temperature of your boat’s surrounding for the next 24 hours – 2 component paints dry based on a chemical reaction which is affected by temperature.

After mixing the two paint components they should be left standing for approximately 20 minutes to ensure connecting perfectly to each other. Take your time, stir it from time to time and get yourself in a protective suite and gloves to avoid arguments with your wife and especially to avoid any eyelashes or hairs to fall on the freshly painted surface.

I decided to use a small foam roll supposed to be suitable for 2 component paints when it finally came to application. Despite those foam rolls are supposed to resist 2c paints they do start to fall apart after a certain time (based on my experience the process begins after approximately 30 minutes). So, do have plenty in stock so that you can replace them as soon as they feel very soft and sticky.  Before I finally started applying the paint, I left the foam roll in a paint tray where I poured the paint in from the plastic cup. This ensured that the roll evenly soaked up paint and that eased the application.

Applying the very first layer of paint was probably the most satisfying step after the long preparation, the key to success was to apply just the right amount of paint. If you apply too little, the paint will not start to “work” and flow evenly (I found that the Epifanes flowed well and created a brilliant surface when applied in the right quantity). If you apply too much, the paint will flow too much while drying and create ugly colour noses. I applied just as much paint necessary to have a shiny surface and then let the paint “work” and dry.

24 hours later I returned to Sailing II to get a first impression of the first coat. The paint had flowe evenly over the surface, no colour noses were visible but, of course, the colour was not completely covering the surface-which is somehow what you can expect. So, I prepared to apply a second layer which meant…sanding the surface with 400 grain (don’t sand the paint down to the ground, just slightly!), vacuuming and cleaning with silicon remover again. I left the masking tape for the second layer but removed it immediately after application to avoid any melting with the paint. Finally, I had applied 4 layers of paint to the stern; and the result: more than acceptable!

Stern painted

Coachroof  Sanded

Following the same principles as mentioned above I also repainted the superstructure in spring 2022 when Sailing II was ashore. This time I applied a little more paint in each step and used a paint brush in addition to the foam roller for some little edges and tiny areas. Yes, some very little colour noses appeared but nothing you see on the first sight. Result: once again more than acceptable.

Coachroof painted

Summing up:

Repainting your boat is not rocket science if:

1. You prepare the surface properly and with utmost German precision
2. You invest in quality equipment (masking tape, foam rolls, cleaner and the paint itself)
3. You have an eye on the temperature and don’t rush through the paint job.

Facts and figures:

1. Time for preparing the surfaces (sanding, cleaning, masking) app.10 hours
2. Time to apply paint (stern and superstructure) app. 5 hours
3. Cost for equipment (stern and superstructure) app. €360
4. Approval by wife-priceless