I mentioned earlier that I decided to work on the refurbishment project in a more or less
"stem to stern" direction, starting at the bow and working aft.  Since the foredeck and its
associated hardware was the first major area to be tackled, I removed the bow rail, the
toe rails (which were damaged and needed to be replaced), and the bowsprit.  The
anchor locker hatch and the forward hatch were next to be removed, as they were in the
way of refinishing the deck and in need of refinishing themselves.

When Sloop Du Jour was last painted, in 1995, the
non-skid areas were done in a pastel yellow (it
shows as a tan color is some photos).  During the
refinishing, one of my objectives was to return the
non-skid to what I call "O'Day Gray" which would
also match the interior non-skid surfaces.  Within
the Interlux Perfection line of two-part epoxy paints
that I am using on the exterior, the closest match is
the color "Platinum".  This turns out to be a very
light gray and a good match.

Not only was the finish on the hatches worn and
weathered, when the hinges and other hardware
was removed it was obvious that there were some
surface imperfections that needed to be fixed before the painting could begin.  Mainly
this consisted of stress cracks and voids where screws through the fiberglass had been
for years, exerting pressure on the surrounding material.

                            The first step in refinishing the hatches was to remove the
                         old finish so that the new finish would have a good surface
                      for adhesion.  Using course sandpaper it was not a very
                   lengthy process to get the old paint off.  For the areas of
                non-skid that were applied over the original O'Day non-skid
             surface, I sanded enough to remove the top layers but not
          down to a smooth surface, as I wanted to retain the texture
       of the original surface.

                                 After sanding the entire hatch surfaces
                              to remove the old finish, the next step
                           was to repair the cracks and damage.
                        To do this, I used Interlux's Watertite
epoxy filler.  This can be mixed quickly, applied to the surface, and
after drying can be sanded down to a smooth surface ready for
priming and painting.  I masked off the areas to be epoxied to limit
the area that would have epoxy applied to it.  The stress crack                               
shallow enough not to need epoxy, and the primer coat sufficed                                     
to fill them.

                                                    Although both the interior and exterior sides of the
                                                    hatches were to be refinished,
                                                    I decided to use different material on each.  As I
                                                    mentioned earlier, Interlux Perfection two-part epoxy
                                                    was used on the exterior, with two-part epoxy primer
                                                    coats.  For the interior surfaces, which don't get
                                                    nearly as much wear, Interlux Brightside one-part
                                                   epoxy was used.  Both paints look good, and if you
                                                   didn't know it would be hard to tell them apart.

                                                    I've found the hardest part of the painting is to get
                                                    the paint thinned just right, so that it is "runny"

enough to flow and make a smooth surface, but not
so runny as to drip and sag.  It takes some practice
to get this right, and you may (like me) have to redo
some areas until you master the technique.  I'm still
working on that.

In spite of the challenges, the results of the project
make it well worthwhile.  My two hatch covers, which
are a small part of the refurbing project, have been
restored to like-new condition.
Refurbing - Forward hatch and anchor locker hatch
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The forward hatch is shown
here with the hinges and
latch hardware removed,
prior to refinishing.
The area under and
around the forward
hatch hinge shows
severe signs of
stress and wear.
The inside of
the hatch
sanding and
Here is the hatch, sanded
and with epoxy on the
damaged areas.
Screws serve to keep
epoxy out of the screw
holes, while masking
tape keeps it off the
surrounding area.
Here the epoxied
area has been
sanded down prior
to applying primer.
The finished forward hatch,
just before removing the
masking tape around the
After priming and
painting, it's as
good as new.
The anchor hatch was
refinished simultaneously.
Here's the refinished
underside of the forward
hatch.  This was done
using Interlux Brightside.
Lessons Learned

Two-part epoxy paint must be mixed immediately before it is
used, and the different parts must be measured in the ratio
specified by the manufacturer.  This project is requiring many
small applications of paint, so only small quantities are used
at any one time.  I use old yogurt containers to mix the paint,
and I measure the two solutions using disposable plastic
spoons.  For painting the hatches, a typical batch consisted of
six teaspoons of paint and three of hardener.  A separate
spoon is used to measure each, to avoid contamination.  After
painting, the yogurt container and the spoons are discarded so
no cleanup is required.  Similarly, I use disposable paint
brushes, bought in bulk lots of a dozen or more.