What Blue Is Really The Achievable Blue Of The Century Blue Arabian True Blue?

55 Arabian card

Art thanks to Tommy Holmes

As we plow quickly towards The huge Lake Dora event in just 65 days, Woohoo, we ask the woody boater universe, which Bimini Blue and Dawn Gray is correct? It’s not like we haven’t researched this…to death By The Way! And the good folks at Katzs are fortunate enough to have the original blue on the hull to match. But what is correct?

orignal colors

Original Bimini Blue and Gull Grey under the paint. Photo Bob Kays

It seems as if each one of these very rare boats was slightly different. Was that from the factory? We have read that one year was lighter than another, and forget about the restorations. That’s all over the place. Light blue, dark blue?


Image sent by Tommy Holmes and Frank Mikols – Century Boat Club

Since this was a multi phase job, variances can and we are sure happened. It should be fare to say that if you are lucky enough to have some original finish on the boat, then that’s what you match? Right? Did it darken or fade? According to Jim Johnson in a 1984 article said the blue was Royal Gard brand high gloss 310-17. See article below. But there is no Royal Gard anymore. Unless you are matching the hull to a star wars guard.

BlueArabian technique

Blue Arabian technique by Jim Johnson RIGHT CLICK and it should enlarge

55 Arabian

The color appears to be a similar value system as the dash. Lighter, but matches the tone.

Blue dash

Note dash Blue is close to the flag pole below.The rest is not right and being stripped.

Blue flag Arabian

Original un touched bow flag pole on the Katzs /Phil Andrews Arabian

Also there was a great breakdown on the color from Frank Miklos on the subject. Who laid out that some years were slightly different. Or was it a boat by boat thing?

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Photo Frank Mikols You can see the grey that highlites the grain which matches the Kats/Andrews Pole.

Here is a photo of an original 55/56 Arabian stern pole with blue opaque stain with gray rub … The rub highlights the grain… This method was used on the 55 and 56 Arabians , but the other later boats appear to have had true stain without the rub…

From what we’ve seen the color close on this one … But It appears that the first 56 was a lighter color. (not as light as the 55 that is around.) But lighter We have two bow poles with original finish.. Both are the darker blue… Century did a wipe with gray over the blue but it only filled the little specs in the grain which highlighted those areas… Brad I did not even think of that but if it works….

One key to going blue you can not use spar varnish… Century used Crystal Clear Boydel varnish on the Blue Arabians… If you use spar the blue will turn green. and the gray will be yellowish… Not very attractive…

SO! Whats the final word on color here? Your opinion is requested. Is there a can or two of a matched Bimini Blue Paint?  Gull Gray is findable, and Pettit has a ultra clear varnish.

25 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    My father used to say “I don’t care what color it is, as long as it’s blue.”

    He would have loved this Arabian.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Question for River Rat:

    I met a gent at the local watering hole last night that bought a Skiff Craft out of Clayton named River Rat. Since I don’t know where you are from, Any relation? I am sure there are a few Rats out there.

  3. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Maybe it was like the story Richard Petty tells, that in the early days they were getting a car ready one night and only had two small cans of paint in the shop, white & blue. They mixed the two together, to make enough to spray the car. They liked the blue that came out of that combination so well that it became the color on Petty cars for the rest of his career.

  4. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    It is Manistee Blue with a little Filer City gray. Available in gallons only at the Painted Lady on Tuesdays payable on Thursday. Ask for Don or Russ. Cash only.

  5. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Its going to be the only one of its kind down here in NZ so I don’t expect much comment about colour correctness when she is at St Arnaud Lake. Mt Dora is a whole different deal.
    I can’t wait to see the boat finished!

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      Vern’s boat was one of the 10 that were the lighter stain at the beginning of the 1955 model year. So that color would be wrong for later 55 s and early 56s…

  6. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    There were actually 3 different Blues used in 1955 and 1956. The lightest of the three was on as far as we can tell 10 of the first 11 built in 1955. The second blue was used from around hull # Q5561 through the end of 1955 production and a good ways into the 1956 production … Both of these stains were an opaque stain with the white/gray wipe which highlighted the grain . Starting sometime in the middle of 1956 Stain was changed again to a true blue and true gray translucent stain with no wipe used. The few blue Coronados built after 1956 also used this blue translucent stain.. Here is a photo of three original stern poles one of each type of stain… I feel that all three are 100% achievable it is just going to take some testing.. The key to all three blues is the finish must be clear if you look at the third pole in my set it had spar varnish added to it which turns the blue to a greenish blue…

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      Of these three poles I do not know which one actually was the Bimini Blue … I think that it is the first one.. or top one in the photo. I’m guessing the middle and bottom ones had a different name… Also the last known boat that century stained blue was in 1966 in a Coronado. We know they also built them in 1962 and 1958. And there is some evidence that they built them in 1963 and 1960. One in each year.

  7. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Troy, Not mine. All 103 feet of boat we have is Lyman. I am by far not the only RiverRat on the St. Lawrence

  8. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    This is my 1955 Arabian that I just got this summer.. It is one of the 1st 11 which 10 were the lighter blue. My boat is hull # Q5559 The hull was painted by someone black and the poles were painted blue but under the paint was the original finish… the light Blue..

  9. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    This is a close up of the original stain which was on the rest of 1955s and at least the first 10 56s The one at Katz was this type of stain.. Being the first 56 QX5650.

  10. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    The article on making old blue blue. that formula was derived from one of the early 1955 that was owned by former century Dealer Vern Kramer.. Vern’s boat was one of the 10 that were the lighter blue.. Jim Johnson’s boat actually was a later one that should have been the middle color… In that first 11 boats one boat was the darker blue it was the one that went to the NY boat show… I think that boat was hull # Q5556. (I’d have to check my records to be sure) The 10 boats with lighter stain also had lighter or medium blue on the interior… This is a photo of Old Blue in 1984…. it is the lighter stain color … one note the inter with the lighter color should also be lighter… but only on those ten boats.

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      Just went and checked up Vern Kramers boat was Hull #Q5554 not Q5556. Q5556 was the one in the first 11 that was dark blue one that went to the NY Boat show in 1955. “Old Blue” Jim Johnsons boat was Hull # Q5592 a later one that should be a darker one… Another note there was one 1956 that was done natural it had green interior.. That boat was sold in Canada by Murdon Marine.. It was hull number Q5686. There is no other special notes in 1955 for special upholstery so it appears that 55 all were either the lighter blue as the early boats or the darker blue like the later 55s and 56s. It appears that at least 1/2 of the 55 s are still in existence.. and at least 1/3 of the 56s. My real guess is that about 60% of both are still out there in some restorable form.. All three finishes are unique an are quite striking .. I would love to see one of the Coronados that were blue… Here is the blue 1962 Coronado. It is an Opaque stain like the later 1956s or close to those…

  11. Matt
    Matt says:

    It appears the Katz / Andrews one is a? From its hull number? We have found the original manufacturer of Royal Gard paint and they are sending a paint chip from 1984. That story later. So Frank, would the Andrews boat be the darker or lighter?

    • tommyholm
      tommyholm says:

      Lighter, I think as it would be like the 1955’s and it is the first of the 1956’s. if I follow Frank as above.

      • Frank Miklos
        Frank Miklos says:

        Here we go … the very light boats were from hull # Q5550 to Q5560 except for hull # Q5556 which was dark and ended up going to the NY show… From around Q5561-to the end of production in 1955 Q55100 they were the darker blue with the white highlights. Also the early 1956s were done that same way From QX5650 – some where in the Q5660s … then Century started using a true stain transparent stain which had no white highlights.. This was used through the end of production … Q5695… Also the Coronados that were done blue were the same transparent stain… the photo is a representation of the colors, done in photo shop so approximate look…

  12. tommyholm
    tommyholm says:

    Matt, if the hull number of Andrew’s Arabian is Q5650 it is Q=Arabian; 56=1956 model year; 50=production count. Production count began usually with 50 post WWII.
    So the Arabian is the first one of model year 1956 which begins in late summer/early fall. I suspect the boat was made in late 1955. No record of the boat is on file. I have no guess as to the paint/stain supplier of Century in 1955. No doubt a one barrel special order.

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      QX5650 was actually through upholstery 6-27-55. Very early switch over for the Arabian that year. But it was a R&D boat… normally the switch is mid July. The last 55 went through upholstery 6-9-55 The second 56 went through 10-11-55.

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