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Yacht wrapping is the application of decorative or protective self-adhesive film, usually to the hull of a yacht or superyacht. The use of this film or vinyl can be used to renovate, customise and protect any vessel’s hull. It’s already commonly used on racing yachts, but is now growing within the luxury yachting industry.
This guide looks at the pros and cons of yacht wrapping in comparison to traditional hull protection methods.
Vinyl yacht wrapping has many advantages over marine painting, including:
Vinyl yacht wrapping has many disadvantages compared to marine painting, including:
Esther Siles, marketing manager at Fibra Nautica explains, "There are several problems that can arise from vinyl being applied to a boat. For starters, aluminum boats where the appearance of corrosion is very common, it would be necessary to cut the vinyl to make repairs. This repair patch will then be accentuated over time as the vinyl will be weathering at different times, making the colour difference evident."
It has been well reported that vinyl wrapping a vessel is a lot more cost effective method than painting. Even though in the literal sense this is true, in reality it is actually a little misleading.
Duncan Boote from Premier Yacht Services, a specialist yacht painting & varnishing company based in Antibes commented, “Prices are based on the assumption that the surface is without any defects at all, prior to the vinyl being applied. If the same assumption is applied to painting then the cost would be for "a scratch & coat" and therefore the costs would the similar.
This is only true providing the surface is sound. Duncan added, “If the surface is not spot on, it has to prepped in exactly the same way as for a paint application, so basically if there is any corrosion, blisters, bubbles, cracks, flaking, dings, dents, deep scratches, crazing or chalky gelcoat, these must be addressed by a paint company. This then obviously increases costs.”
Repairs are only simple of course if it’s only the vinyl that is damaged. If something has damaged the vinyl it is highly likely to have damaged the substrait. It would then require a proper repair to the area before a piece of vinyl can be stuck on top.
Caroline Shaw from Hargittai & Shaw, a yacht wrapping company with over 40 years of experience commented, “Wrapping is by no means an easy task and can be very costly to a company if not project managed correctly. The wrap company must educate possible clients on the differences between vinyl and paint, otherwise the end user will expect to see a ''paint like finish'', when he or she has only paid a fraction of the cost compared to paint.
“Many clients believe vinyl will hide a multitude of flaws in substrates, which can be the case, but the average high-grade vinyl thickness is 80 microns, so mostly anything you can feel, you will still see it as a flaw under the vinyl.
"But once the prep work is completed to the high standards we advise and as long as our guidance and warranty installation procedures are followed, we can complete a full hull wrap on a 40-foot vessel (or bigger) in days - not months!"
At the end of the day, if the client requires a time efficient, more cost-effective alternative to paint, wrapping is a very viable option!
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