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Old 29-10-2012, 17:56   #1
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Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

With respect to multi-hull cruising:

I'd be interested in hearing alternatives to anti-fouling paint for long-term cruisers (i.e. not weekend sailors)

One of the great romantic features of a catamaran is it's "beachabilty". However, as was recently pointed out, beaching wrecks your beautiful, expensive anti fouling paint.

Further, anti fouling is costly, not very durable, and poisonous.

So what do you say? Are there reasonable alternatives? Does it depend on where you sail? When you sail? Is it acceptable to mess up your anitfouling paint for the privilege of beaching your cat on a beautiful Caribbean island? How hard is hand cleaning? Are there more permanent, less expensive, or weirder solutions? How about just letting that sea garden grow?
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Old 29-10-2012, 18:07   #2
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

Other than cladding the whole vessel with copper cladding any alternative to anti-fowling is wishful thinking. I would also put copper cladding into that catagory.

Just suck it up. Unfortunately. A necessary hazard of cruising.
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Old 29-10-2012, 18:13   #3
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

Not only does it cost you to have the beach sand off all that bottompaint, it also costs the beach. It's not legal to scrub your bottom in many places due to the toxic paint that is scrubbed off. Beaching a boat with most bottom paints that actually work would leave a big patch of very expensive poison behind, not a good thing to do on many levels.
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Old 29-10-2012, 19:34   #4
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

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Not only does it cost you to have the beach sand off all that bottompaint, it also costs the beach. It's not legal to scrub your bottom in many places due to the toxic paint that is scrubbed off. Beaching a boat with most bottom paints that actually work would leave a big patch of very expensive poison behind, not a good thing to do on many levels.
So what would happen if you had no bottom paint? On a cruising cat? (i.e. not on a 6ft keel setting idle for weeks at a time)?

Inconvenience? Permanent damage? Would a good beaching scrub that mess off? Is this even an option?

I copper cladding a real option? I mean, is this a legitimate choice on something like a 40-42' Lagoon or FP or similar? If so, why is it not popular?
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Old 29-10-2012, 19:55   #5
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

Looking at the same question while building a folding tri. How about the hard type's of anti-fouling?? I have only used the abblative types. Just ask'en..Michael..
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Old 29-10-2012, 21:55   #6
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

We had crystic copperclad coated on our hull in the mold during construction. It was not a good alternative because you had to scratch it with abrasive to keep it active, and it was not a very powerful antifoulant. But it made a very hard, smooth bottom.
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Old 29-10-2012, 22:01   #7
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

You're barking up the wrong tree. It is not feasible to keep a boat in a marine environment without some sort of anti fouling. There are non-toxic altenatives to copper or zinc-based anti fouling paints. Do some research.
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Old 29-10-2012, 22:04   #8
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

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Originally Posted by rubyjean View Post
Looking at the same question while building a folding tri. How about the hard type's of anti-fouling?? I have only used the abblative types. Just ask'en..Michael..


There are some great options that wouldn't scrub off at all, but of course their antifouling properties are minimal. You might call most of the claims of antifouling ability in this category optimistic at best. If you planned on regularly diving on your own hull it might make good sense for a cruising cat that intendeds to beach regularly to go that route.
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Old 29-10-2012, 22:14   #9
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

The only way to not use anti-fouling, is to keep the boat on the hard !! Sorry but it's true !
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Old 29-10-2012, 22:27   #10
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

Just scrub it one a week. Use the hardest *white* epoxy paint you can buy. It's good exercise. It also helps to cruise in clear tropical water as there is far less bio activity than in rich dark cold waters, generally.
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Old 30-10-2012, 00:55   #11
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

If you are considering a trailered boat, that opens up all sorts of new options. Two weeks max in the water will allow you to use just about whatever you want. I like VC-17M Extra with Biolux. It will eventually get rubbed off by trailer bunks, but it makes for a fast bottom and is easy to work with.
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Old 30-10-2012, 01:29   #12
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

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There are non-toxic altenatives to copper or zinc-based anti fouling paints. Do some research.
It would be nice if a Consumers Reports type of agency or a University study looked at the different options and ideas. From stainless steel, cooper, some type of alloy (Aluminum, cooper, and Molybdenum (stuff they add to steel to make it stainless) mixture.

What about hard plastics? I do know that hard black plastic doesn't work.

There is a lot of money to be made by whoever figures this out. But I would think that you would see a bunch of samples about the size of a piece of paper floating in the water in different places.
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Old 30-10-2012, 03:49   #13
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

I am surprised that nobody has advocated one of the copper/epoxy coatings which have a fairly large userbase in the UK and have a proven life expectancy of 10+ years. There have been several comparitive reviews published in the UK sailing magazines. They also work well on drying moorings so the occasional beaching should be no problem.

The other area that has emerged is ultrasonic systems of which I have only seen 1 review and that was favourable. They are fairly expensive and draw quite a lot of power (~1.5 -2 A @12v monohull, ~3-4 A for catamaran) but can be fitted without slipping the boat. One advantage is that they can also protect the props, shafts, saildrive etc which is a problem area particularly saildrives. At the moment, probably only feasible for boats kept largely on shore power or who have significant generation capacity. At the moment I think the jury is out on whether these work well enough because so little feedback seems available. Perhaps anyone who has fitted one could comment
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Old 30-10-2012, 03:53   #14
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

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I am surprised that nobody has advocated one of the copper/epoxy coatings which have a fairly large userbase in the UK and have a proven life expectancy of 10+ years. There have been several comparitive reviews published in the UK sailing magazines. They also work well on drying moorings so the occasional beaching should be no problem.

The other area that has emerged is ultrasonic systems of which I have only seen 1 review and that was favourable. They are fairly expensive and draw quite a lot of power (~1.5 -2 A @12v monohull, ~3-4 A for catamaran) but can be fitted without slipping the boat. One advantage is that they can also protect the props, shafts, saildrive etc which is a problem area particularly saildrives. At the moment, probably only feasible for boats kept largely on shore power or who have significant generation capacity. At the moment I think the jury is out on whether these work well enough because so little feedback seems available. Perhaps anyone who has fitted one could comment

Plenty of threads on both of those products here on this site. Neither have been mentioned for good reason.
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Old 30-10-2012, 07:02   #15
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Re: Alternatives to Anti-Fouling (multihull cruising)

Much of the Caribbean tidal range is too low for beaching.

Beaching a catamaran is not as easy and safe (for the boat) as everyone envisions.

Even cruising boats normally spend weeks at a time not moving.

Growth on most catamarans hits the boat performance much, much more than growth on most monos.

No bottom paint in most of the Caribbean = lots of growth in days. In some places (Cartagena Columbia, Luperon DR, etc), the very best of bottom paints = lots of growth in days.

In the poorer parts of the Caribbean, you can have your bottom scraped clean for $20-30. In the scenario of no paint at all, one could let things grow when not making passage and hire (if possible) a cleaning, or scrape it yourself before passage. You will quickly tire of doing it so often yourself, and only ~10% of the places we have been have the cheap labor.

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