So, this is an old man’s story. I make bad decisions.

I knew that the cockpit and all the upper surfaces of the boat had to be repainted. Boat paint is very specialized stuff and is not easy to come by.


A mess. This shot does not show the  intense crazing that is the result of 10 years of Okinawan sun.


This is what all the paint looks like.

You will remember that I went to San Francisco a few weeks ago. One of the main objectives of the trip was to buy paint for the boat. Serious boat paint is highly specialized stuff and buying it in Japanese was intimidating.

West Marine is a huge U.S. boat shop. They have everything.   They have an ‘outlet’ in Sausalito and I went there 3 times to wallow in boat stuff.  The drive from San Francisco to Sausalito is one of the best ever! Over the Golden Gate Bridge and through Sausalito, such fun.

Anyway I buy all the paint I need for the boat. This costs several hundred dollars. I should point out that the wonderful paint guy at West Marine said that he did not think I could take paint on an international flight, but I was too excited to hear.

A little later I reflect on carrying several liters of paint in your checked-in luggage on an international flight. I check the rules and the answer is   –  NIET!

This is so obvious, but my old man view did not take  law into consideration. So, I leave lots of wonderful paint behind  and arrive in Okinawa, paint-wise, the same as I left.

I put my head on Sato san’s lap weeping and explain my dilemma.

” No problem, Neil san I will order the paint from Yokohama.”

A few days later he delivers the paint.


He refuses to let me pay.

As you all know, the success of a paint job depends entirely on the preparation.

I have spent the last 2 days meticulously sanding the top of the boat. It is dirty and tedious work.


The best 8000 yen I ever spent was on a rotary sander

As a respite from sanding, I dismantle a strange device that lurks in the depths of the boat.


This thing pumps grease to the propeller shaft bearings

I polish her and say charming words to her.


She responds

So brace yourselves, the future holds little other than boring painting posts. Today I took off my T shirt as I worked. Returned home, writing this post, I can feel the burning on my back that indicates that the Okinawan summer is on its way.

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7 Responses to Paint

  1. Rosemary says:

    The crazed paint photo reminds me of a beautiful Japanese painting I saw somewhere. You should frame it!

  2. Alan says:

    There was some story of your attempt to board a plane to Japan with a kilo of camembert or some such. Seems that we all have our own groundhog day!
    What’s with the Melanoma Appreciation Society schtick?

  3. calderi says:

    Painting is very difficult – it is all about the preparation, but I just want to slap it on, and then spend ages regretting it.

    • Luckily a New Zealander has stopped by Ginowan in a replica Bristol Pilot Cutter. He has been a boat builder all his life and is immensely knowledgeable. He has become my painting mentor. Apparently silicon sealant traces have terrible effects on yacht paints. The boat has silicon everywhere and I can now see days of work minutely removing it all and treating with anti silicon cleaner – when I can track some down. I do not even know the name in English!

  4. Alan says:

    Silicon sealant remover is the name in English. It does work in my experience though it’s not magic and some sealants seem to resist its advances, Available from Screwfix locally but you can also get it from the ‘great white’ that is Amazon (description from an ex-Amazon executive!). You also need a bottle of methylated spirits to remove the remover once the silicon is gone!
    It may be that some/all of that silicon sealant is doing an important job!

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