3 coats of varnish have been applied to the many parts of the boat with light sanding in between. I'm using Interlux Original Spar varnish. It levels nicely and dries within a 12 hour cycle. Over my bare sanded Epoxy coated transom the varnish has worked very well. On the mast/boom/gaff it looks awesome. If anything i'm more proud of the mast work than the boat. I've never attempted to build a mast before and it looks like anything I'd see in a book. Whether it's strong enough time will tell.
Regarding the type of brush I use for my varnishing... some craftsman and "boat builders" may choke at this, but I'm using cheap brushes bought on sale by the 5 pack. so I pay about $1 per brush. 1" and 2" for gunwales and other parts, and 2 1/2" - 3" for transom, mast, boom and gaff. The reason is simple. An expensive $10 brush in which i'd need 2 sizes would need a thorough cleaning after each use. Then there's the possibility that it could be stiffened up by the time I use it again. My time is valuable to me, so I buy bulk and dispose of the brush at the end of the job. Every evening I put on an additional coat i'm using a fresh brush. and I can't complain about the results. The odd hair come from the brush but I pull it out when I see it hanging, no big deal.
Time: 6 hr (2 hr per coat)