Cockpit Sole Paint and Cleaning Up

I feel like I’ve been slogging through these projects forever.  The boat has been in the water a month now, and we haven’t sailed.  I’ve just finished these projects.  Finally, we’re getting much closer to going sailing.

Painting Cockpit Sole:  Looked at the proprietary non-skid paints, and frankly thought they were all overpriced.  $40 will get you a quart of anybody’s non-skid paint (West Marine, Interlux, etc.).  I really wanted more of a working finish for the cockpit sole (it gets a lot of traffic anyway), and I wanted a flat finished paint.  So I paid much less than $40 for a quart of Rustoleum oil-based flat white.

I know it says primer on the can.  I'm okay with that.  It covered the surface, encapsulated the sand, looks white and not shiny.  That's what I wanted.  It's not much trouble to repaint the surface every couple of years to keep it looking fresh.

I know it says primer on the can. I’m okay with that. It covered the surface, encapsulated the sand, looks white and not shiny. That’s what I wanted. It’s not much trouble to repaint the surface every couple of years to keep it looking fresh.

Then I picked up a bag of play sand from the hardware store, and scooped out a cup or so into a flat pan to let it thoroughly dry.  Punching holes in the top of a plastic screw-topped jar gave me a sand shaker.  I painted the sole with a small roller and chip brush, then shook sand on the “wet” paint.  Well, yesterday was a beautiful day – 62 or 64 degrees, absolutely clear sky, and about 20% humidity.  Why did I think the paint would dry slowly?  It didn’t dry slowly – it dried instantly.  I shook the sand onto the surface and it bounced.  It only stuck on the places where the paint was thickest, and therefore drying (ever so slightly) slower.  Okay – change of technique obviously indicated here.  For my second coat, I mixed a quarter cup of sand into the paint and stirred (and kept stirring – it settled out pretty quick).  I applied this to the sole as fast as I could go, as evenly as I could spread.  It came out pretty good, if I do say so myself.  Here are a couple of photos:

The sand had competition from maple seeds for adding texture.  They blew off the trees that were 75 yards away from where the boats were moored.  All the boats were covered with them.

The sand had competition from maple seeds for adding texture. They blew off the trees that were 75 yards away from where the boats were moored. All the boats were covered with them.

I'm very pleased with the how well the patch leveled out.  Can't even tell that rectangle was cut out and replaced.

I’m very pleased with the how well the patch leveled out. Can’t even tell that rectangle was cut out and replaced.

Cleaning Up.  With the sole complete, I finally began the a stem-to-stern cleaning.  Every cushion came out and got vacuumed.  Every interior corner of the boat was vacuumed.  Every surface was wiped down with ammonia and water solution.  As each area came clean, I repatriated the cushions that belonged there.

All cushions exiled to the cockpit until vacuumed and interior spaces cleaned.

All cushions exiled to the cockpit until vacuumed and interior spaces cleaned.

All clean, now.  Dust banished, along with any incipient mildew.  Tools put away, surfaces clean and ready for habitation.

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4 comments
  1. David said:

    I’m working on my cockpit now. In fact I’ll be doing the whole deck. I didn’t read where you did any prep work. The PO must have used a latex paint as I can peel it off the old paint in strips. I went the expensive way by buying Interdeck 1 qt of white and 1 qt of gray. I’ll mix them together to give a light gray finish. Wont show the dirt as bad.

    • David, I think that will give you a nice, neutral color. I thought about changing colors for deck paint, but my entire deck is white. I think that will be too radical and quirky a change to do in stages, like I’ll have to do it. It would look weird to have the deck be two different colors for a year or more as I gradually painted the non-skid areas. Besides, if I changed color on the sole, that would be a tacit commitment to redo all the decks . . . and I’m just not ready to start another big project now!

      I prepped the sole after I patched the rectangular hole I had to make to remove the old rudder bracket (page back a few posts for references). I cleaned and sanded the entire sole after I did the final sanding on the patch, and re-sealed the edges of the cockpit sole.

  2. Anonymous said:

    I’ll second the interdeck..they put in on a boat in the marina..goes on easy and has a flat finish..at $30 a quart not bad..also like kiwi grip just not the price!!

    • Somehow I missed Interdeck – or it wasn’t available locally when I went looking at non-skid – not sure which. Anyway, it got past me, because $30 seems like a reasonable price, and it’s one-part polyurethane flat finish, so it would be pretty durable, I’m sure. Oh well, next time I paint I’ll order it online. I was getting crunched for time and needed to get it done.

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