It makes sense to do the topcoat now, really... it's only the budget that has pushed it to a non-priority, but somehow, it's come back to be at the top of the list! Many thanks to our dear friend Steve Salmond of New Zealand Multihulls (http://www.newzealandmultihulls.com/frames.htm) who came to visit us and told us that we just HAD to paint the boat with topcoat! It was his enthusiasm that set us on the path of painting...So here we are, in the midst of being covered in sanding dust, and growing shoulder muscles that I never thought I had - all in pursuit of a shiny coat.
I honestly never knew there were so many 'layers' in sanding a boat. It's not just about randomly going over it with a electrical sander and putting on some paint.. it is another language. I hear things like "paddle board" (also known as the torture board - I found out why after 20 minutes of using it!), "long boarding", "guidecoat", etc etc. Yes it's certainly another language, and it's not just about sanding... there are types of paint "layers" that go with this mammoth amount of hard work. Of course I was on the 'dainty' end of a compressor driven random orbital sander, to which I must say was fantastic to use! (It's my tool of the week). Lightweight and easy to use.
So there we were, one side was myself using the sander, while on the other side was Craig using the "paddle board"... which apparently is for making the surface more even. It was a romantic afternoon passing glimpses through white eyelashes & dust masks when we were changing our sandpaper. It was good motivation though - both were working on our dream!
Consideration for masking is important and a 'good' amount of time should be allowed. Like anything marine, allow yourself at least three times longer to do it. It's a task that you cannot do when you are tired, especially when masking 'lines' on the boat. Remember to protect the surroundings that might end up with overspray if you are spraying.
Next is undercoat then the shiny stuff!