Vinyl Wrapping Update

s/y Charlotte, Hanse 388

I’ve received a few questions about our whole vinyl wrapping experience, so here’s a short post about that!

Wrapped Hull Color

When we got the boat in the spring of 2019, it came with the standard white hull.

Long before that, however, we had decided we wanted to spruce up the color a bit, so when we got it to Finland, we had it quickly wrapped in its new golden color. (Well, we call it golden, but the manufacturer says it is ORACAL 970, glossy metallic #922 brass, and who are we to argue!)

Here’s what it looked like then:

Vinyl wrapped Hanse 388 s/y Charlotte

And here’s another shot of it in the sun. The apparent color changes a lot, obviously, depending on the surrounding light.

s/y Charlotte Hanse 388

Fast forward to our third season (with different light conditions), and I’d say the boat looks pretty much the same.

All in all, we’ve been very happy with the decision to have a wrapped hull color.

Now, let’s dig into the questions I’ve received.


Q: Was it expensive?

The wrapping cost was about 3,500 € + VAT 24%.

In addition to that, we had to pay the normal fee for getting her out of and back into the water.

It was much cheaper than painting, but I didn’t get a paint offer at the time (Hanse didn’t offer that option at all, but the commisioning yard would have), so I don’t know exactly how much cheaper. Of the current models, Hanse offers optional painted colors for the Hanse 460 and up, and if you want something other than white or gray on that boat, painting it will start at 20,000 € + VAT.

Q: How long will it last?

The maximum service life as guaranteed by Oracal is about 4-5 years. I don’t know what will happen after that. 

Q: Has the color changed much over time and due to the sun?

The color has changed slightly, but not very much. The image below is from this spring (with a bit over two seasons in the sun) with a brand new patch to the left, and the slightly tanned old wrap to the right.

When you knowingly locate the patch and compare it to the original color, the difference is noticeable. In normal everyday life, however, when you look at the boat, you really don’t notice it at all.

Q: Does it scratch easily, or get damaged from fenders rubbing?

No damage at all from the fenders (and it has been rocking and pushed against them in storm force winds). The wrapping company said to use fender socks, however, and I assume that is key. 

It is, however, frustratingly easy to damage it next to the cleats with the mooring lines.

We’ve used empty fender socks to try to protect it, and it works ok, but still, hard to achieve 100% protection. The original Hanse 3-strand (white) mooring lines are the worst! They attack it like they had saw teeth. Soft braided mooring lines are much better.

A fender sock rigged to protect the tape.

Q: What about lifting the boat?

The yards have to be a bit more delicate when lifting the boat so that the wrap isn’t damaged. To achieve this, they use soft cushioning pads between the lifting straps and the hull.

Unfortunately, the first yard we used had some mishaps, but since that everything has gone smoothly.

Q: How do you maintain it? What do you do to it in the spring before launching the boat?

Whenever it is dirty, it just needs a wash (with soap, if that is allowed). There is no polishing, waxing, etc, just washing. (Using soft and non-abrasive methods/tools.)

Q: Can you remove it?

Yes! According to the wrapping company, it’s easy to remove it.

And beneath it should be a smooth and good-as-new white hull — which actually is a really cool additional benefit!

Q: How is the logo and the model number done?

It’s printed separately and taped on top of the colored wrap.

Q: Can you tape it if you have rub rails?

Yes. According to the wrapping company, it would actually have been a bit easier, since you can then use smaller sheets of wrap when doing it.

More Questions?

I’d be happy to answer more questions, so please comment if you have some!

As a concluding opinion, we have been very satisfied with the whole wrapping project, and have absolutely no regrets about doing it.

Yes, it is a bit easier to damage it (especially next to the cleats), and it does require us to be a bit more careful during mooring maneuvers (and anchoring).

On the other hand, it just looks so stunningly pretty, that these issues are quickly forgotten!

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