In 2017 Richard Hare painted his Golden Hind 31’s sheerstrake with International Toplac single pot boat paint. 5 years later we find out how well it's performed...

Almost exactly five years ago my Golden Hind 31 Keppel’s tired and exhausted blue sheerstrakes were given a full four-coat paint system. Up to then years of exposure in the Med and other sunny places had taken a serious toll.

I was curious to know whether a quality single-pot boat paint would perform as well as a more expensive and complicated two-pack paint. To this end I opted for International Toplac.

The advantages that I saw in a one pot paint was its simplicity and lower cost. At the time I concluded my repaint article by saying that I’d return with a verdict on its performance in five years time. So, here we are. Was it any good?

Article continues below…

Well, it has performed brilliantly. It looks as good today as it did when the job was completed back in October 2016. The gloss retention is very impressive and there is no peeling away at the edges or corners.

I followed the application guidance to the letter – two coats of undercoat and two of topcoat and all the usual preparatory work and application techniques. Rollers were used to apply the paint and this was tipped off immediately by brush.

And if you’re wondering if the paint system has had a cushy time of it over the five years, let me put your mind at rest. It has been brutal. First though, Keppel has never had a winter boat cover during her 23-year life, and this latest five years is no exception.


Keppel’s exhausted sheerstrake gelcoat was ripe for painting

Harsh test

In the summer of 2017 Keppel pottered around in her East Anglian home waters. It was a dismal summer, so UV was minimal.

Summer 2018 was a different kettle of fish. It was a sweltering hot summer in the UK, and hotter still in northern France. Two and a half months of continual sunshine followed her as she made her way to the Med through a north/south canal route.

And let’s not forget, dark blue gets very hot in sunlight. Fry and egg on it? I wouldn’t discount the idea. Keppel was then laid up in a Camargue boatyard, a region known for fierce winter Mistrals and driving grit, quite a lot of which managed to find its way into the cabin.


The fresh coat of paint as it looked in October 2016

Summer 2019 was spent cruising the Cote d’Azur and Provence. In mid-September she was laid up in Aigues Mortes.

And then Covid hit us all. Keppel was left to fend for herself for one month short of two years. She remained unattended on a hot, sunny hard standing. The temperatures would have been extremely high during the two summers.

Anxious expectations

And so it was with deep anxiety that Janie and I returned to sort her out in early August 2021. We were astonished to find that the International Toplac paintwork was as good as new.

Keppel still looking smart on a staithe in the Canal du Midi

Keppel then completed summer 2021 with a passage of the Canal de Deux Mers (the Midi and the Garonne). Again, it was a hot, almost cloudless summer.

Further punishment was endured by heavy fender rubbing as she climbed to the top of the Canal du Midi through many fierce filling locks.

Am I impressed? You bet I am. I would not hesitate to use International Toplac again. As to the question of whether it is as good as two-pack – well, seeing I can’t find anything to fault in it I have to conclude that, to date, it cannot be improved upon.

The blue International Toplac appears as good now as the day it was painted

Damage repair

Early on in the five year test, while still in the UK, a neighbouring visitor yacht grazed Keppel’s sheerstrake with its bow anchor, probably while reversing out of an unfamiliar berth.

This minor damage was very easily repaired and the result is invisible. Mixing a small quantity of two-pack paint would not have been quite so easy.

Each winter we lather boat wax onto the blue sheerstrake and leave it unbuffed. It’s a trick I picked up in the South of France many years ago. This affords a useful degree of protection on all fronts. We remove it with fresh polish when we return in spring.

Buy International Toplac boat paint on Amazon

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

Why not subscribe today?

This feature appeared in the February 2022 edition of Practical Boat Owner. For more articles like this, including DIY, money-saving advice, great boat projects, expert tips and ways to improve your boat’s performance, take out a magazine subscription to Britain’s best-selling boating magazine.

Subscribe, or make a gift for someone else, and you’ll always save at least 30% compared to newsstand prices.

See the latest PBO subscription deals on