Painted to Perfection

With yet another busy re-fit season in full swing, The Islander spoke with Felix Wright, Commercial Manager at De Cabo Yacht Painting based in STP Mallorca. He shares with us his invaluable insight for Captains who are planning and managing large yacht painting projects.

When choosing a paint contractor:-

  • Do ask around – your network is your best resource but also ask companies for references, and follow-up.
  • Don’t make a decision based on historic work; find out about their latest completed projects.
  • Don’t go for the cheapest. If you havde a quote that is significantly cheaper than the rest, you should be asking why!
  • Do accept plans need to flexThere are always going to be unforeseen issues when a boat is taken apart and before paintwork can begin. Inevitably, once you start to remove fixtures, you’ll find things that need rectifying that you had no idea were going to be a problem. Even in the most meticulously planned project, planning can go out of the window on day 1; when you can’t pull a winch off for example.
  • Do allow a timeframe margin at the end of a project to cover you.
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to dismantle and prepare the boat before the paint work begins.
  • Do consider an independent paint surveyor.
  • Expert liaison between the Owner/Captain and paint contractor can be an excellent asset to the project. It adds a level of extra assurance for the owner and means expectations can be managed even more effectively from the contractor side.
  • Do be sure to do as much due diligence on your paint surveyor as you do with your paint contractor.
  • Do ensure the surveryor is involved from the start. Your paint surveyor should hold the first inspection before the work begins and at strategic points throughout the process.
  • Don’t be too loyal to the productsthat you used the last time the boat was painted. Formulations change and product technology evolves. What you used then may not be the best paint system option for now. Discuss the best current products with your paint contractor.
  • Do be honest with your paint company regarding paint and coatings previously used. If you don’t know, say so. Tests can be carried out to determine this so as not to prejudice the outcome of any new paintwork.
  • Don’t go on board when no access has been agreed. Contamination issues are a huge problem. When your paint contractor says “no crew onboard“, there are very valid reasons. Projects can be delayed significantly because of easily avoided handprints, footprints, dust and grease. Minimise hiccups and respect that no access means no access.
  • Do be aware of the implications of a dark paint colour changeDarker colours will significantly heat the surface area of the vessel in the sun. This will have a knock-on effect on all of the internal systems. Often, air conditioning will need upgrading, spot-zero water systems fitted to assist with cleaning but more critical than that, the constant heating and cooling of components, filler, topcoat, composite, etc, can lead to costly issues that weren’t factored in at build.
  • Do read the small print. Be sure to find out if your chosen paint company includes all the infrastructure needed to complete the job or if there will be add on’s and variables that will be invoiced for separately. Clarifying this at the start will save accounting stress later.


De Cabo Team

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For more expert painting advice contact the team at –

De Cabo Yacht Painting


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