Attached is a shot of mine. And yes - I got rid of the "Speedster" decal from the bow. Thought it was ugly - well the real truth was that it had been buggered up by the previous owner.
I got to help design the lettering & layout. The main characters are metallic silver with black shadowing. And the best part??? The decal place saved the file so if I bugger up the numbers, big damn deal. Just drop by the place and get another one made. Oh - and if you're wanting to put a name on your boat, this would be a good way to give your boat a custom look. The vinyl used is typically very thin (and UV resistant) so the letters almost look painted on.
Now for some installation tips & tricks. Mind you, there's more than what I'm giving here, so if you have other suggestions, please lettuce know.
- Lay the decal down on a flat surface and, using a straight edge & new razor blade (single edge, X-acto knife, whatever), establish a straight edge to the top edge of the top backing sheet. For instance, measure .50" from the top of the lettering and mark that. Then, using a straight edge, cut off the excess top backing sheet. The idea here is to get the top edge of the top backing sheet parallel to the top edge of the lettering. You'll see why in a minute.
- Before you remove the backing sheet exposing the decal's adhesive, place the decal on the hull where you feel it looks good and, using three or four 3" pieces of blue painters' tape on the top edge of the decals' top backing sheet, tape the decal(s) to hold it in place. Try to find some reference point on the hull that you can "index" the decal to so that you can duplicate the placement of the other decal on the other side of the boat. For instance, I used the forward cleat and measured back from it to the first letter in the registration number. And I used the rub rail to establish the height.
- Next, BEFORE YOU REMOVE THE TEMPORARILY PLACED DECALS, take the new razor blade and cut the painters' where it contacts the top edge of the top backing paper. This will leave a portion of the painters' tape on the hull and a portion on the top backing sheet. The idea here is to create some reference points so that when you place the decal on the hull, all you have to do is line up the pieces of painters' tape on the top backing sheet with the pieces of painters' tape left on the hull.
- Liberally spray the area where the decal will be placed with some kind of light soapy water (I just use Windex 'cause it works just as good).
- Remove the back backing sheet that exposes the decals' adhesive.
- Place the decal on the hull lining up the blue painters' tape pieces on the hull with the ones on the top backing sheet. Be sure to leave the top backing sheet in place! Using some type of plastic squeegee (an old credit card works well), start lightly squeegee'ing the soapy solution out from behind the lettering. You want to start in the middle of the decal and work your way to either end and up & down. Increase the amount of pressure after each pass until it looks like no more liquid is being sqeezed out. DO NOT REMOVE THE TOP BACKING SHEET! Go to the other side of the boat and repeat the above process for the other decal.
- Take a break, grab a beer and start removing the top backing sheet. If possible, make a vertical cut in the middle of the top backing sheet so you can remove the top backing sheet from the middle working outwards. It's not imperative, I just have found it a bit easier. Be patient and work slowly. Don't be alarmed if the decal lettering sticks to the top backing sheet and starts to lift from the hull's surface. Just take an X-acto knife or some such sharp object and "pick" the lettering away from the top backing sheet and press the lettering back down onto the hull. If you see a bubble or two in the decal lettering DON'T DO ANYTHING at this point. Typically, these bubbles will disappear after the decal has been in direct sunlight for a period of time. If they don't go away or if the bubble is really big, use a straight pin to prick a hole in the bubble and either sqeegee it out or just let the sun do its thing.
- Step back and enojy your work and celebrate with another beer.