Maintaining and preserving antique and classic wood boats can be hyper-expensive. Doing it correctly improves performance and saves money and anguish over the long run.
Lapstrake boats are an excellent case in point. The topsides have a huge amount of surface area, which makes stripping and repainting them on the recommended five-year cycle both time-consuming and expensive.
I understand constraining cost wherever is possible without compromising the outcome. Painting topsides is not a candidate for doing it without proper preparation.
Yes, if the existing paint is in excellent condition, and if it was not applied on top of layer after layer of paint, sanding it flat, priming it and applying several coats of topside paint is fine.
This video offers an up close and personal view of what happens when correct procedures are sloughed aside in favor of “Just tossing on a couple more coats.”
As of April 19, I have removed 80 pounds of topside paint from the strakes. Yes, 80 pounds! And we are about 80% of the way to clean wood.
Please, please, please. Strip it long before there are 10+ layers of paint on the hull. Your performance, as in speed and acceleration, will improve. And, stripping the paint completely off every third round of repainting will expose emerging issues before they become serious, and before addressing them involves a major structural as well as cosmetic repair.