Chrysler 26
Last updated: January 7, 2018
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A 1979 Chrysler 26 Sailboat
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Another Chrysler 26 has entered Saskatchewan waters via a flat deck semi to Saskatoon, and will be sailed from the Lake Diefenbaker Yacht Club. Congratulation to Don & Helen on the purchase of their first sailboat!

From March 1st, 2001 to December 1st, 2005 this site continues to average 200 hits a month.

There was a significant amount of work done in 2005:

  1. Editorial and general web site changes
  2. Added a Rudder/Tiller section to the website
  3. Prepare and paint topsides (the area between the waterline and the rail)
  4. Refinish tiller with satin Spar varnish
  5. Clean and refinish deck teak
  6. All deck fittings rebedded
  7. Winches serviced
  8. Repair battery box
  9. Replace forward hatch weather stripping foam
  10. Replace one trailer tire
  11. Outboard checked by Evinrude dealer - excellent condition - impellor replaced
  12. Elaborate renaming ceremony involving over 225 hours of preparation and finishing
  13. New boat decals designed and installed
  14. New Sunbrella sail cover

Topside Refinishing

Awlgrip Paint job in 1987

The boat had an Awlgrip paint job in 1986 or 1987 but the finish started to peel. The first photo shows the boat just after the late 1980s paint job. Note that the bottom is actually white. The second photo shows the peeling of the clear coat as well as the prior boat names.

Starting the topside renewal

The decision to refinish the gelcoat surface is as much a matter of aesthetics, money and the fact that painting can enhance appeal and consequently the boat's value. Quality professional refinishing of topsides can be expensive depending on the degree of preparation needed and the experience and facilities to do the work. In our case a local auto body shop with experience refinishing boats allowed us (under supervision of a painter of exceptional knowledge and 30 years of experience) to do the preparation work. They would do the fiberglass repairs, priming and painting. Aesthetics was a top priority so the additional expense of professional spray application was chosen over the DIY brush application method. If you are interested in boat painting as a DIY project project there is an excellent article on the Practical Sailor site titled "Do-it-Yourself Refinishing with Polyurethane" by Jef Spranger.


Assessing and dealing with the condition of the surface of the hull is the first step. Any cracked, crazed, scratched, and patched gelcoat, as well as areas showing conspicuous "print-through" pattern needs to be dealt with. The success of the refinished surface depends on getting a near-perfect surface before the paint is applied and consequently the bulk of time and effort must be put into smoothing and fairing the old gelcoat.

The initial preparation step was to use a wax and residue remover on the hull to remove any grease that would be burned into the surface by sanding. Then the hull was sanded down to remove all of the peeling, chalking and surface blemishes with a pneumatic power sander (320 grit disks). Sanding is done with air-powered tools that were originally developed for the automotive industry where a good finish is critical. An article on sanders can be found at the Practical Sailor site titled "The Right Power Sander for the Job - Part II: Finishing Sanders, Palm Sanders, and Air Sanders".

The first lesson in auto body work is that there are absolutely no quick solutions or short cuts to doing the preparation work. For example the paint immediately below the rub rail was starting to flake away and needed to be hand sanded (220 grit) which took approximately 10 hours to complete. In addition the shear line and boot stripe needed to be maintained because it would be very hard to manually recreate the compound curves. Keeping the boot stripe/waterline required wet sanding (320 grit) in this area.

High-build primer Fiberglass repair

Although there were only minor flaws in the topsides sixteen hours of shop time were needed to repair the fiberglass hull. These topside repairs represented around 20% of the total cost of the paint job. A special sprayable body filler was used to cover any open fiberglass as well as any repaired areas. This filler was then long block sanded.

Polyurethane paint manufacturers recommend an undercoat to improve adhesion and to fill minor imperfections. Since polyurethane paint will not fill or cover even minute crazing, pinholes, or swirl marks from sandpaper a commitment was made to doing a super job on preparing the surface and so the hull was hand sanded (320 grit). The gloss of the polyurethane will highlight every ripple and every unfair area, just like a mirror reflecting back the amount of care put into the surface preparation. Any small areas of primer that were sanded through were spot primed and then hand sanded (400 grit). The result was that the hull is now faired to a much high level of precision than what was delivered from the factory.

Primer Sanding Completed Paint Job

Given the amount work that went into the prepping the hull we wanted to have the durability and ultimate surface that a two-part polyurethane paint would provide. Professionally applied a two-part polyurethane coating is as glossy, if not glossier than the original gelcoat. Polyurethane paints like Imron or Awlgrip were used on aluminum airplanes before they spread into the boat painting business and industrial applications such as cement trucks. In our case Imron was chosen since the shop has experience with Imron application. When applied properly and allowed to dry in a dust and moisture free environment these paints develop a nice gloss that maintains a cosmetic excellence better than most other paints. The downside is that the cost of these paints is quite high compared to regular marine paints. A polyurethane paint is relatively though and elastic, and nearly nonporous. The outstanding properties associated with polyurethane paints come from the use of two-part coatings rather than one-part paints.

Avocet Name and Paint Reflection Stern View

The remaining photos show the finished topside paint job; the refinished transom and transom motor mount that was repaired and sprayed with Line-X prior to painting; the obligatory boat name and photographer's reflection; the renewed teak; and the shine imparted to the dull deck by the application of Penetrol (see 2013 Log for my current comment on Penetrol).


The deck teak was renewed along with the topsides. The procedure followed was out similar to that outlined in Teak Care by Don Casey of Boat U.S. The teak was cleaned with a mixture of SPRAY 'n WASH Laundry Stain Remover (chlorine bleach compatible), chlorine bleach, boosted with TSP (trisodium phosphate) and Davies SUPER-TUFF (see 2013 Log for my current comment on Davies Super-Tuff), and the mixture was applied with a ScotchBrite pad. The scrubbed wood was rinsed, allowed to dry and then treated with Tung oil. Tung oil intensifies the colors and grain patterns and gives the wood a rich, warm appearance.

Time and Effort

Teak and Pentrol Bow View

The number of hours put into Avocet in 2005 was significant: preparation and final clean-up 38; sanding 63; fiberglass repair 17; transom motor mount repair 8; spray filler 3; priming 12; painting 11; teak restoration 12; tiller restoration 5; deck fitting reinforcement and rebedding 57 and some miscellaneous hours. Total project time was around 225 to 250 hours. Materials used were 65 sanding disks, 44 sheets of sandpaper, 1 gallon of colour build primer & hardener; poly surfacer & hardener; 2 gallons of red Imron (7678); 2 quarts of off-white Imron; 15 rolls of tape; lots of paper & plastic coverings. Although there was a good deal of time and effort put into renewing Avocet's topsides there was also a good deal of reward as well. New skills were learned and new friendships made.

The March/April 2008 issue of Good Old Boat, pages 20-23, featured an article called "What's inside your winches? - Keep those old primaries clicking nicely", by Jamie Harris.

The March/April 2008 issue of Good Old Boat, pages 41-43, featured an article called "Choosing the right anitfoulant - Learn how best to combat marine fouling", by Greg Nestor.

Practical advice on restoring your boat by David Pascoe: Fundamental of Restoration Projects

A list of helpful videos for DIY boat maintenance: Ultimate Guide to Boat Preservation and Repair