A Classic for the Classics

What makes anything a classic? This is an interesting question and the word ‘classic’ is often used to describe anything from cars, wines and buildings to songs and books. The Ford Mustang, the top wines of Bordeaux, the Taj Mahal, Stairway to Heaven and Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ – all can be considered classics, but why? Generally speaking, for something to be worthy of the title, it must have longevity, appeal, influence and to have been judged over a period of time to be outstanding of its kind.

The other things that define a classic are beauty, grace and elegance and most people would say that they know a classic when they see one. This is certainly true of the vessel ‘Sunburst’, a 1967 racing 8m, Cruiser Racer designed by David Boyd which caught people’s eyes when it arrived at Mylor Yacht Harbour in 2019.

With a heritage going back more than fifty years since her construction by Alex Robertson’s boatyard on the Clyde, Sunburst’s fine lines have also contributed to her full and illustrious racing career, and with her aerofoil rod rigging and 2 speed Barlow winches, she soon became the fastest boat in her fleet.

Sunburst 8m CR before work started on her

With her streamlined design winning races, the other aspect of this classic boat which also turned heads and contributed significantly to her overall good looks, is her wooden bright work. The desire to maintain this in peak condition was what led owner Nick Briant of Fistral Beach Ltd. to discuss the application of Awlgrip’s Awlwood system with Mylor Yacht Harbour’s Marine Team Painters having seen an example of their expert work on a similar vessel based at Mylor.

Sunburst classic yacht wood work prepped for varnish     Sunburst Classic lines with Awlgrip Awlwood system applied

Nick wanted to rejuvenate the deep red mahogany finish of the wood and together with Mylor’s Marine Team, they decided that the Awlwood was perfect for this – a product that keeps its colour, has good UV protection, is hard wearing, has a high gloss finish and is flexible.

To prepare the woodwork for this application involved stripping back the existing varnish, sanding down and masking up before applying primer. It was then ‘tickled back’ (sanded) ready for a further eight coats of the Awlwood to be applied meticulously by hand.

One of the challenges that Mylor painter Steven Burley faced was that once you start to apply the Awlwood, it cures very fast so there is a small window where you have to get every brush stroke right. Steve said that after applying nine coats, he felt like he knew absolutely every inch of the boat and by coat eight, he was dreaming of varnishing at night. He also said that every piece of wood he looked at for days afterwards looked dull in comparison to the finish on Sunburst.

Once completed though, the final finish was worthy of a piece of furniture you might find in a royal palace somewhere, and definitely something to be considered beautiful and outstanding of its kind.

Owner Nick said that it was “Wonderful to have her back to looking her best after the painstaking and meticulous work of Mylor’s painters, I am thrilled with the finish. He’s also planning to reignite Sunburst’s racing spirit in the coming season, starting rather appropriately with the Classics.

Will history repeat itself with Sunburst being the fastest in her fleet? – We’ll have to wait and see (a classic answer…)