This installment will be about the application of the final bottom paint. Most hulls that are wet-sailed (always in the water) have some type of ablative or anti-fouling paint, with something in them to help limit marine growth on the hull. Without a paint like these, critters and slime start growing almost immediately once the hull is in the water. In the Great Lakes, we have to guard against Zebra Mussels and algae, and in salt water, there are Barnacles. These growths can cause poor fuel economy and speeds.
Most folks use Interlux VC-17® in this area. It is quick to dry, and can be applied over and over again. Quick to dry is also a drawback if you are a slow painter. The solvent causes the paint to start evaporating immediately and you’ll go through more of it that you need if you take your time. To counter the evaporative loss, I’ve used an old 2-liter pop bottle. You can pour out what you can use immediately, keeping the rest capped to limit evaporation, and keep it mixed by shaking it before you dispense more. If you have extra, you can store it in the bottle until next year. I’ve done it. VC-17® is thin, which means it can be rubbed off fairly fast, and you’ll put it on every year.
Then there are some boaters that use a multi-season ablative. These can be used anywhere from 2-5 seasons here in the Great Lakes. There are many brands, and many formulas. Some are eco-friendlier than others. Some work better, based on where and what type of water they are used in. You can read reviews, or ask others that do the same type of boating that you do. I used Interlux VC Offshore®. For my purposes, it worked well. It goes on relatively easy, a single coat may be enough, and it can be burnished to a very smooth surface. It lasted about 4-5 seasons. VC Offshore® was about $300.00 per gallon. I covered the entire hull with one coat for the size boat I had. VC-17® was about $50 a quart, 1 to 1-1/2 quarts per season. So the Offshore is more costly per application, but it lasts longer. Remember in installment one, how there are no real shortcuts? Same applies here.
For the sake of this article, this applies to VC Offshore®. After applying the barrier coat, alternating layers of color, we look for problem areas. It could be something like a spot that the barrier coat did not adhere to. It could be a rough spot. Most issues at this point will present themselves if proper surface preparation was not done prior to barrier coat application, or during it. Proper, thorough, prep and cleaning will help to avoid this. Normally, with the light colored barrier paint, you’ll see any issues almost immediately.
VC Offshore® must be used in temperatures above 50° Fahrenheit. If you don’t make sure it’s over 50°, you’ll re-apply. That’s at least $300 gone to waste. VC-17® is much more tolerant of cold weather. Apply it using the roller that they recommend. If not, again you’ve spent another $300. Take your time, and roll it on, a section at a time. Let it set up for a couple of days, then apply second coat. Take care to see if you have any “orange peeling” or “spider cracking” on the first coat, when the paint goes on blotchy, and the surface has a rough texture akin to an orange peel. If so, smooth it gently, NOT using sandpaper, and re-coat. Once the second coat is set, you can once again go over the hull to check for any rough patches, and if you wish, burnish the hull with some old newspaper.
Now, stand back and congratulate yourself. You made it!
Written by: Steve Bayless
Port Sanilac Marina
(810) 622 -9651