What color would you paint Pandora?

This post is up for one reason and that is to get feedback on which color to paint Pandora, our Aerodyne 47 sloop.  She’s been a very dark green Awlgrip since being launched in 2007 and has already been painted again, just a few years ago.

Someone once said to me that “there are only two colors to paint a yacht, white and stupid”.  I will protest this position as a yacht painted a dark color makes a dramatic statement but for sure, dark hull colors don’t hold up for nearly as long as white.    As good as a dark hull looks, it does cost a lot more to keep it looking good so lighter does seem to make sense.

So, while I may like the dark color hull the best, we have found, after 6 tropical winters, that a big downside of a dark colored hull is that it gets really hot, especially in the afternoon when the sun is low and beating on the starboard side of the hull.  And, it’s nearly always shining on that side as the prevailing winds are just about always blowing from an easterly direction.   Additionally, as we don’t have crew (just me) to wash her down each day, salt builds up along with minerals that are really hard to remove and give the hull a messy look, especially near the waterline.

Additionally, the paint and the top clear coat have peeled in some areas from the intense sun and that doesn’t even begin to describe the wave of heat that billows out when we open some of the lockers.

So, here we are, deciding on the color for yet another paint job, her third since being launched in 2007.  The shed pre-arrival.  Pretty big space.  Not so big now.  She fills it right up.  So, here she is being prepped and now is a good time to think of what’s next.  That’s where you come in.  Ok, so the plan is to nix the dark color and go to something lighter, perhaps a LOT lighter.  Easier to keep looking clean and a lot cooler.   Here’s Pandora in her current color scheme. The shop doing the refit offered to modify the photo of Pandora to show different Alexseal color options as well as boot tops and cove stripes for comparison.   As a note, we are going with that brand of paint as opposed to Alwgrip, as it’s a bit softer paint and somewhat more resilient to dings as well as easier to repair.  I understand that many of the really big yachts, that are always being touched up, have gone to Alexseal.

Here’s the darkest option we are considering, “Kingston Grey”.   This rendering includes a dark green boot top and cove stripe for contrast.  Having said that, it doesn’t have to be green.  However, her upholstery down below, for what it’s worth, is dark green so the color is a nod to that. And, the same color without the boot top and cove stripe.  From my vantage point, she looks a bit bulbous without the contrasting stripes.
Now, for some lighter colors. “Light Grey”, a good deal lighter than the prior option.“Whisper Grey”, even lighter, but still with the striping. A bit lighter still.  “Pearl Grey.”So, the question is really dark or light grey?  The issue of the color of the boot top will also need to be addressed.  Her bottom is black now and will likely have to be black, blue or perhaps red as those are the most common colors for ablative paints.   The renderings that they did show a white contrasting bottom paint below the boot top, which isn’t correct.

I understand that they will be done sanding and will apply a light grey primer on Tuesday so I’ll be able to see what she looks like “grey” then.

So, what do you think?

Oh yeah, one more thing.   It’s been a while since I have posted a shot of our Grandaughter Tori.  We thought that she was still pretty little but she doesn’t look so quite so little since the arrival of the twins, fresh from the hospital last week.  Meet her sister Emme and brother Rhett.  



20 responses to “What color would you paint Pandora?

  1. Congratulations on the new babies! My two cents: I like whisper grey with the boot and cove stripes.

  2. Which one is closest to the color of bird poop? I’d go for that one…
    But, seriously… my vote is for Whisper Grey, since you asked! At first I thought I loved the dark grey, but then it started looking like a battle ship. One woman’s opinion.


    Hi Bob,
    I’ve always been a white boat guy. I suggest a dark green cove and a boot top, same height as now, but alternating green, white, green, white, green, white. (Three green stripes with white above, between, and below. Bottom color: any color other than the same green will work. I wish I had your problem. Mel

  4. I like the last one. The Pearl Grey.

  5. George R. Hallenbeck

    Whisper or Pearl get my vote, definitely with a contrasting boot top.
    What about the Cove Stripe ?
    You make a strong case for lighter colors given the regions you
    love to sail in.

  6. Gee I was going to suggest light blue with contrasting stripes (boot tops… don’t know the lingo). My first thought was yellow because there is a sailboat in Salt Pond that color and it makes for stunning photos against the blue water. But if you’re sticking with gray, I like whisper gray with contrasting strips.

    Look forward to seeing the final result.

  7. Jack Stillwaggon

    Whisper and with stripes. Congratulations on the new sailors in the family.

  8. Kingston gray. Yess to boot top no to cove stripe. Rick

  9. Lawrence Shields

    Bob, congratulations on the new crew. The contrasting cove and boot top look nice and, as you pointed out, they pick up your existing interior color. All of your reasoning sounds good. I think that the particular gray should really be up to you and Brenda. All the very best,


  10. Miles Cherkasky

    I like all the greys. Go with the darkest you’re comfortable with. Not really sure what color bottom paint works. White is logical but not practical.

  11. Bill Saunders

    I tend toward the darker Kingston Gray but fear that it would not be much cooler than your current darker color. With the green boot and cove stripes I think it looks very nice. I have never seen a Navy destroyer with green stripes. 🙂 BTW, an absolute yes to the boot and cove stripes. They set the hull lines off and add a lot to the appearance of the boat.

    Having said that about the kingston gray, though, I had to go to the alexseal website color chart to see the difference between the lighter colors since I couldn’t tell much difference in the photos you provided.


    In the color chart the whisper gray is the most gray without the slightly yellowish tones of the light and pearl grays. Maybe that is just my computer color screen, but those two don’t look a very nice shade of gray to me. Only the whisper gray and the kingston gray look true gray.

    As someone else said, only you can really tell what color gray you prefer. Hopefully the yard has some accurate color swatches you can take out in the bright sunlight and compare. That is what the men at Admiral Ship Supply in Port Townsend recommend and I agree. Get it out in the light in which your boat will exist and see what you think.

    One last thing, have you considered their Matterhorn white? It looks like it has a faint blue-gray tint and might look very nice.

  12. Whisper Gray is just enough darker than white to let white elements stand out as pure white. Look at the apple web site home page, they’ve used whisper gray as the background to make the colors bright but still reveal a pure white border.

    • Whisper grey seems to be the overwhelming favorite. I expect that we will go that route. I’ll know better in a few days as she’ll get her prime coat in a light grey. That will be very telling.

  13. David Havanich

    You’re on the right track. Lighter is better.
    Have you considered Hatteras White? It’s a light cream, close to white but without the blinding punch of pure white in the Tropics. It’s warmer than grey, plus it will harmonize with your interior.
    A nice companion color for stripes is Jade Green, a rich dark green. Just make sure that there is at least a 1″ hull color between the stripe and the bottom paint.
    Good luck!

    • I am afraid to go with white as it may make Pandora look too plump. As far as the stripes go, I am inclined to use a dark green and agree on the boot top you suggest.

      Thanks for taking the time to respond. Details to come very soon.

  14. Nice dilemma! Allegro used to be flag blue, even in TX. But we went pure white because we gel coated and the interior is up to 15 deg cooler in the tropics. As you said, using stripes for id’ing contours works. We used varnish ( yes, a big hassele) for shear line (cap rail), dark blue for two boottop stripes and gold with the rub rail. I suggest that lighter is cooler/better! Your comments on dark colors are right on! Good luck!

  15. what colour did you decide. i will be doing my boat in the spring from flag blue to probably Kingston or Stingray gray. Are you pleased with the Alexseal

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