Grand Banks Varnish Tips for Maintenance Reduction

Keep Your Grand Banks Looking “Classic” with One of Our Low Maintenance Varnish Plans

There are three main tips to greatly reduce your maintenance from varnishing on any classic yacht:

Keep it out of the sun by always storing it under a shed or indoors in the winter and covering any varnished areas with canvas
Replace the varnish with modern systems like the Awlgrip products which give the same look with a lot longer between rework
Paint some (or all) of the varnished areas with Grand Banks White two-part Awlgrip which will last at least 5 years and some boats are still looking great after 10

Maintain that classic Grand Banks Varnish look

You probably bought your Grand Banks, Eastbay, Hinckley or similar cruising yacht because you love the classic look. Or you may be one of many prospective new boat owners who say, “I’d love to have a classic trawler, but can’t deal with all the varnish”. It’s a common theme with any boat with varnished rails, transom, and Flybridge trim work. We want to show you a solution that will have you as proud as ever about your classic yacht, without the varnishing blues. The mid-80s Grand Banks classics and Europas like my Penultimate (1985) and Aurura 1988 came with top rail, cap rail, two Flybridge trim strips, Flybridge top trim and the transom varnished as a minimum. Some of the older boats had varnish on the Flybridge windshield and around the anchor pulpit. That’s a LOT of work to keep all that varnish up. So, what’s the solution? In later years, the Grand Banks and Eastbays had stainless steel top rails and less teak all around. Those boats have a big advantage from the start but can still benefit from varnish maintenance reduction.

6 Tips to get a beautiful Grand Banks Varnish Job

In our perfect world of maintaining good looks and minimizing maintenance, we recommend these 6 Steps to having a beautiful, low maintenance classic Grand Banks or other classic.
  1. Always store your boat indoors in winter. This is particularly critical in the Chesapeake Bay and north. Check out our Dickerson Harbor storage plans.
  2. Have a canvas cover for every area that’s varnished. Only the teak trim around the Flybridge is difficult to do this for. This is why many Grand Banks have one or both of the trim pieces around the flybridge painted with white Awlgrip.
  3. For areas that are varnished, keep them up annually with a minimum of two coats of new varnish. A little refresh each year makes a tremendous difference and never lets your boat get “out of control” where the work to bring it back is very difficult and expensive.
  4. Awlgrip the Grand Banks White over half of your teak. If you have two trim pieces on the Flybridge paint one. For boats with two teak rails, paint the cap rail or replace it with stainless steel.
  5. When you need to go down to bare wood on your varnished teak, we recommend replacing the regular varnish with the more modern system, there are several great ones available. All new bare wood finishes start by priming with a penetrating epoxy like West, MAS, West Marine, or TotalBoat. This is vitally important in more sunny climates where the usual sealer ideas just can’t cope with all the hours of sun to ruin your varnish or paint job. It’s all in the primer.
  6. For the best finish with either Varnish, Awlgrip, or Awlwood always start with a penetrating epoxy like West System or from West Marine. Starting with a quality penetrating epoxy and following that up with the proper primer system is the essential first step in preserving teak over the long haul.