Captain Carlo De Amicis explains: “The good crew are aware about [paint application] while sometimes there are yards’ employees that should be trained more before taking a brush in their hands.”
Captain David Evans of Clan VIII agrees that there are some shipyards that take on the task of paint application without sufficient delivery figures to suggest paint application is an area of adequate knowledge. “I believe it is shipyards that propel the vessel into painting in imperfect conditions and try to paint the vessels themselves which is foolish in the extreme. I have seen builds in Holland, the USA, Spain, the UK, New Zealand and the fear East – nowhere can a yard guarantee a perfect finish. If you build thirty vessels a year and paint them I would allow that you may be experienced enough to paint your own vessels, however finishing one or two vessels a year will mean that you are not experienced and should use a company of the owner’s choice from a list of approved contractors supplied by the yard to apply the paint and supervise the preparation. This would mean the schedule is taken away from the yard and a clause should be entered [into] which means a larger company takes the responsibility for the paintwork, enabling the paint company to schedule the paintworks in a period that would enhance the paint job as opposed to its detriment.”
"The constraints placed on the captains and crew by the driving forces of the owner’s desired programme or the management company’s charter programme, combined with a late decision making at that level of management, means that the crew and contractors are often left with no choice of when or where to apply their paint."
For Captain Carrington-Wood, however, the problem with paint application comes down to owners and management. “The truth is it is not the crew but the owners or management companies that do not get it. The constraints placed on the captains and crew by the driving forces of the owner’s desired programme or the management company’s charter programme, combined with a late decision making at that level of management, means that the crew and contractors are often left with no choice of when or where to apply their paint.” This is something, adds Captain Carrington-Wood, that was discussed in detail at Jotun’s paint conference in Antibes last year, where, “it was clear from all parties attending that the problem lay at the highest level of the yacht’s management and was unlikely to change.”
Surely the answer, then, can only be ongoing education. Paint is not something anyone wants to get wrong on a yacht – problems will arise for the crew, management, and certainly the brokers when it comes to its sale. The coatings sector of this industry can seem even more niche than the industry itself, and as such perhaps some parties are guilty of not paying it their full attention. But with better education – listening to and learning from each other – there is no reason that complaints of this nature will become less frequent.