If it were my boat, I would ask the varnisher to do 3 coats of 50/50 after stripping to bare wood, and instead of sanding between coats I would use 3M synthetic steel wool to burnish away any flaws. Then, 2 or 3 full strength coats, with a light scuffing beyween each coat with 220 grit Tri-M-Ite sandpaper
That is the plan:
My varnish man has considerable experience in the field, but he is new to me.
He told me this story when Epifanes first came to the US: The local rep handed him a can and said, try this!
My varnish guy were pleased with the product and never looked back. (Now sure how long ago, but probably 20+ years with using only Epifanes)
He explained how he thins the first 5 coats, gradually increasing to full octane. Then 8 coats of varnish, then he thins again for the last couple of coats.
(Not sure of the logic on that last part, but him being far more experienced than me, I will let him do his own thing.)
This guy have worked on 125' wooden yachts and done as many as 25 coats on a single mast.
Tall stories, but so far I am very impressed with the workmanship and attention to details. He is also a hard worker putting in 8 to 9 hours in the July Florida sun without taking a break.
Based on that, I will let him do it his way and I am fairly confident on the results.
(My varnish guy came highly recommended from my previous varnish guy: A lad I had to fire as he was too slow: 29 hours prep for a maintenance coat and no wet brush yet. We stayed in touch however on him doing other jobs, washing and waxing boats and so on. My previous varnish guy recommended this old timer with the Epifanes experience and that is why I started this thread: Is Epifanes as good as my new guy says.....? Based on the above replies..Perhaps not..?)