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High-gloss topcoat

Given the generally cool and damp weather conditions often found in Seattle, Antrim specified two coats of Seaguard 6000 for the entire vessel, a versatile epoxy that cures in temperatures as low as 20 degrees F. While a high-gloss finish may not have been important to the Contender’s owner, it is to Suri’s, and Antrim specified Sherwin-Williams 4800 Linear Polyurethane (full gloss) not only for excellent chemical resistance and UV protection, but for its mirror-like finish. A flexible membrane provided a smooth texture and impact resistance to the deck areas, followed by American Safety AS 250 to provide non-skid characteristics,and a coat of 4800 Polyurethane for UV protection and cleanability.

The underwater hull, also primed with two coats of Seaguard 6000, was finished with two coats of Seaguard Ablative Anti-Foulant.

While as many as 30 West Coast Marine personnel would be on hand for setup during daytime hours, most of the coating operations actually occurred at night, when about a dozen painters could concentrate on application in the absence of other on-site trades.

“A great deal of organizing has to take place for the subcontractors,” according to Antrim. “There are many schedules.”

For Wiehle, the greatest challenge was preserving an optimum application environment. This often included pre-heating the tented working areas.

“Getting the conditions right was the tricky part. It wasn’t just managing the temperature or wind, but dust,” he says, referencing the indirect heat and filter boxes applicators used. “Other trades are moving around and cutting things during daytime hours, so we painted at night,when we could keep the dust down.”

The end result is a built-to-class craft that even someone with a pretty good memory of the Fierce Contender is finding hard to fathom.

“The owner who sold us the Fierce Contender came and saw Suri for the first time the other day,” recalls Mary Jane Antrim. “I think you could describe his reaction as absolute shock.”

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