We’ve had some really interesting conversations with rowers and club members recently about painting rowing boats and why we predominantly produce white boats for our customers. This blog we’ve decided to give you our opinion on the decoration of boats and why we suggest a single colour – preferably white – as the best option when it comes to rowing boats.
Over the last couple of decades that we have been involved in the rowing world we have seen a few trends in paint and boat design swoop through the rowing ranks for short periods. In the early 2000’s a ‘two tone’ colour palette was all the rage, with KIRS in particular producing a lot of boats with coloured tips fading to a central part of the boat. That fad seems to have died out a little bit now – and whether that be a matter of taste, or just the changing of the guard in boat builders around the country, we’re not too sure.
What we are sure of is that only using one colour makes a lot more sense than an intricate paint job. Fundamentally, that comes back to the fact that clubs and schools around the country row their boats for kilometre after kilometre up waterways that often have the odd hazard in them, and take them in and out of sheds where riggers and ‘pointy’ objects have a tendency to snag a boat. What this means is that every season boatmen, coaches and rowers inevitably end up having to repair holes and damage to their boat’s hulls.
More often than not, a quick patch isn’t necessarily the biggest issue, what becomes an ongoing problem is if the paint job is complicated or in a colour that is different to the repair-work. All of a sudden a beautiful looking boat has a patch in the paint that is a different colour, which stands out.
Painting and fading out a coloured patch is a simple task for a seasoned professional in the right conditions (like SL Racing's spray booth) but in club rooms it is a very hard job to get right. White is with no doubt the easiest colour to match. Even if the colour white is slightly off, you will not notice it as much as another colour, especially a red, yellow or blue.
Taking that practicality a step further, we also build our boats to last a long time. At a minimum our boats all come with a 5 year hull warranty. When you then take a boat that is painted in a dark colour out into the elements for five years (I hear New Zealand’s sun can be brutal!), it has an impact. Paint shouldn’t fade if its darker, but the darker the paint colour on the hull, the more impact it has on the hull over time. Try putting your hand on a dark coloured car in the middle of a summers day, we all know you can’t keep it on.
While we are not saying that you have to keep to one colour (and we are happy to paint any boat any colour - it doesn't make much difference at our end) but always feel it's important to keep our customers in the know. There is a reason that a company like Empacher has produced their boats in a light, single colour for decades - it’s just the smart thing to do.
If you are serious about racing and serious about longevity in your equipment, then first and foremost consider a light single colour paint job for your boats. It will be cheaper and have less complication's like colour matching when it comes time to repair and lets be honest, there will be a time.