Many sailors consider varnishes to be the prettiest finishes because of their clear amber glow, which shows off the wood in all its grainy glory. Using a pretty basic formula, which includes turpentine, boiled linseed or tung oil, pine tar, and a drier, varnishes have been used to protect boats for centuries. All modern gloss varnishes contain UV inhibitors to help preserve the finish. The most popular varnishes are the easiest to work, and with a few coats, they provide a deep, brilliant shine. Varnish experts in the Caribbean, where the sun is especially brutal, prefer Interlux Schooner and Epifanes Gloss Varnish, though Z Spar Captain's and Awlgrip's AwlSpar varnish are popular as well. Well outside of the tropics, in the middle and high latitudes, you can expect varnish to last the whole season-and longer, if you can keep it out of the sun and if you don't let it sit covered with salt. In warmer climes, you may find yourself sanding or touching up the varnish several times a year.