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Yacht wraps: trend or tech?

Refit
Written by
Charl van Rooy

We scrape away the myths surrounding yacht finishes and strip down to the bare truths as we ask yacht wrapping experts the important question: Why Wrap?

Vinyl yacht wraps have been around since the early 1990s, but a steady increase in product development over the years have only recently seen this transforming material receive the industry attention it perhaps deserves. Today, a skilled team can restyle a 50m superyacht’s hull completely into any shade of a myriad of colours and finishes within just two weeks. John Clark (JC) of YachtWrap, Wild Group’s Greg Hoar (GH), and Dutch firm Trim-Line Yacht Wrap & Design’s Ben van der Schoor (BS), gives us the insight into what owners and crew can expect from this cosmetic procedure.

What are the main advantages using wrapping as a finish on youryacht?

JC - Time and money. Ayachtwrapcan be as low as a third of the price of a quality paint finish and even lower without the infrastructure costs (tenting / haul-out procedure).

GH – Flexibility. Theyachtis not 'shut down' during thewrapinstallation, leaving crew and other sub contractors free to carry out other works. The reversibility of the product also makes it a useful resale tool; it is easier to sell an original white-painted yacht (instead of last season’s trendy bright gold finish - ed.).

BS – Choice. Wraps come in many exclusive colours with finishes including pearlescent, metallic,gloss or matt.

How does yacht wraps compare with conventional paint?

JC - Vinyl is not a replacement for paint and probably never will be. Vinyl and paint can work in perfect harmony and in fact this is where we need to educate the market. Vinyl is not about wrapping 100 meteryachts(although we can do that), it is more about identifying when paint is the right option and when vinyl should be used.

GH - This is a very good question, and the real answer is twofold - paint came first and 'is the habit', and secondly, it is about perception. Imagine if it was the other way around andyachtswere wrapped as standard; you would never convince someone to paint a yacht, when painting takes longer, costs more, is non-reversible, difficult to repair at anchor and requires special and expensive tenting. Perhaps in 10 years’ time, it will be quite normal to have youryachtwrapped.

BS - It is important to note that vinyl is not equivalent to paint, but rather an alternative method with its own various advantages and disadvantages. The shine of vinyl is slightly less than that of a high gloss paint, but it offers a range of colors and effects for the exterior that is easily applied without the need of a spray booth.

How long does a yacht wrap normally last for?

JC - There are a number of variables to awrapfinish includingclimate, choice of vinyl and exposure. A white gloss on avertical surface, for example, will considerably outlast a red chrome on a horizontal surface.

GH - You could reasonably expect a 3- to 5-year lifespan from a good film and installation.

Can touch-ups be performed by crew?

GH – Yes. On larger projects we will give basic training to a crew member so that small repairs can be carried out on the fly; this is especially useful on yachtsthat have busy charter programs.

BS – Small, light scratches can easily be polished by crew. Larger damaged areas will have to be removed and replaced by a professional.

What special care do crew need to take when maintaining a wrapped finish?

JC - Just like a painted finish, crew are not to use any abrasive cleaners or strong solvents. There are a number of dedicated vinyl cleaners on the market if additional cleaning is required.

GH - Thewrapwill be softer than paint, however, it is very easy to look after. In most instances keeping it clean using fresh water and soft cloths will be all you need to do. On hulls we are now using 'Tough Guard' a nano-polymer which is buffed on and makes cleaning areas where there are soot problems (engine/generator exhaust residue) very straightforward.

Is it easily removable?

BS - The vinyl is designed to be easily removable. However, wraps that remain applied for more than 5 years may be difficult to remove as the adhesive is now cured.Our advice is to have the wrap replaced between 4 to 5 years.

Alternative?

In addition to yacht wraps, numerous yachts have relied on Zytexx, an organo-ceramic hybrid coating, said to deter any form of dirt build-up on your painted surfaces, as a way to not only protect, but enhance that glistening, freshly painted look. Michael Pass from Zytexx talks us through the product.

What are the advantages of applying Zytexx to your yacht’s painted finish?

The main advantage is that due to the product’s non-porous finish (as opposed to a porous PVC finish), nothing adheres to it. Together with its 900ºc heat resistance and non-porous surface, diesel soot, calc, and salt simply wash away with the vessel’s movement in water.

What is the purpose of the product?

The purpose behind the product is to be able to have it applied without the necessity of massive or expense scaffolding and tenting, as Zytexx can be applied while the yacht is in the water. Zytexx prevents paint degradation while giving your painted surface a cosmetically enhanced ‘face-lift’. It dramatically cuts down every day cleaning maintenance to a bare minimum.

What is the life-span of a correctly applied coat of Zytexx?

We give a two year warranty.

Is this product easily applied by crew, or specialists only?

We prefer to apply Zytexx ourselves over large areas as it can be very temperamental. For this reason we cannot warrant our guarantee if we don’t apply it ourselves.

Can small touch-ups be performed by crew?

With our new PG7100 removal paste, repairs can be done quickly and efficiently. Simply Skype us for a 1-minute instruction chat.

How does coating a hull with Zytexx compare with a yacht wrap?

I have noticed that the price of wraps varies dramatically between companies and especially locations. Time wise these products are similar, with wraps being the quicker to apply. The real difference between the two, however, is that Zytexx has a very high quartz gloss finish. More importantly, diesel soot simply doesn’t stick to Zytexx.

This article is featured in the seventh edition of the SuperYacht Times newspaper. To read more, subscribe now and never miss another issue.

Photos by Wild Group International, TrimLine, Boat Yacht Wrap and Zytexx

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