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Old 15-10-2012, 21:16   #1
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Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

i will try to be as specific as possible.
i recently purchased my cal 2-27 and the next step in the journey of making her cruise ready is deciding on a bottom paint. we are planning on pulling her out asap. as i have never done this before i have been asking questions around the boatyard and at west marine (i think they are getting annoyed with me because i never purchase any of their over priced items) and have not yet gotten a straight answer (just alot of people trying to swindle me into a deal that i fear benefits them more than me). i intend to keep this boat moving and not pull her out (after this) too often (unless something terrible happens that forces me to *knock on wood*) which is the way to go? soft or hard paint? brand preferences? help.
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Old 15-10-2012, 21:30   #2
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Re: ablative or hard bottom paint?

Many threads on this subject: It's a toss-up. Your choice. I like hard ablative (heh) because it is easy to clean by diving, fast, no buildup (light), and very easy to re-coat at haulout. Downside's are it comes off quickly at the bow (anchor rode and flotsam), and where the prop wash hits it on the hull. Micron Extra.

For the paranoid in me: I chose it because a yard and a bottom-cleaning pro both said it was a bad choice...

You cannot avoid hauling the boat every few years and believe you are properly maintaining anything...it's a requirement for a proper boat.
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Old 15-10-2012, 21:50   #3
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

For cruisers I like ablative, for racers hard. They last about equally long, but hard can be wet sanded.
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Old 15-10-2012, 21:52   #4
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

Hard. Better for the environment.
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Old 15-10-2012, 21:56   #5
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

I do plan on taking the boat out again in the future, and also regularly maintaining the bottom via diving and scraping or wiping as it may be with the softer paint. I was told that the ablative paint comes off faster the more you are moving and as you go to clean the bottom it wipes off. I was also told the hard paint becomes inactive as soon as the boat is taken out of the water and is much harder to remove the remnants once it is apparent that it is time for another paint job. this boat will be staying in warmer waters and will be (for the most part) on the move for the next couple years.
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Old 15-10-2012, 22:05   #6
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

Here are the very basic pros & cons of each type:

Hard- A quality product, properly applied and properly maintained will be longer lasting than any ablative. The best ones have great anti fouling properties. The downside- eventually all the previous layers of hard paint will need to be removed from the hull. Pettit Trinidad is a hard paint and is overall, the best anti fouling paint you can buy, IMHO.

Copolymer ablative- Will not build up over time, can withstand prolonged periods out of the water and the best of them also have great anti fouling properties. Available in more colors than hard paints. Downside- typically shorter lifespan than hard paints, due, in no small part, to the fact that they do not stand up to in-water cleaning as well as hard paints, even though they need in-water cleaning every bit as much as hard paints. Interlux Micron 66 is my favorite of this type.
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Old 15-10-2012, 22:13   #7
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

Ablative, and make sure you move the boat around a lot.
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Old 15-10-2012, 22:14   #8
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

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Originally Posted by lexilee View Post
I was also told the hard paint becomes inactive as soon as the boat is taken out of the water and is much harder to remove the remnants once it is apparent that it is time for another paint job.
That's a serious consideration for people who pull their boats out of the water this time every year in order to engage in skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and other strange cultural practices such as throwing snowballs at one another.

Normal sailors, on the other hand, only pull their boats out of the water to repaint the bottoms, regardless of season. This happens less frequently with hard paints.
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Old 15-10-2012, 22:25   #9
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

Quick tip for the ablative paint. Do the first coat in one colour (ie black) and then 2 coats in a different colour (ie blue) when the black starts to show through you need to repaint but with the black there you still have protection.

ps I use ablative and I could strangle the PO who had about 12 coats of hard on there I needed to remove to get back to the barrier coat
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Old 15-10-2012, 22:28   #10
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

Depends on what's there now and what shape its in. You can put soft paint over hard, but I'd hesitate to put hard paint over soft.

Worst paint I ever experienced was Petit Trinidad--serious hard fouling in 6 weeks in the South Pacific. Second worst was some soft I bought at a fisherman's supply in Spain--stayed clean across the Atlantic, then fouled badly. I've had pretty good luck with West Marine's CPP+, which was half the cost of Micron 66.

You definitely want a paint with biocide as well as copper--it won't keep the algae off forever, especially when fouled with diesel around the waterline, but it will usually not need any cleaning the first 6 months.

You want to put a minimum of 2 coats everywhere and 3 around the waterline and leading edge of keel/rudder. That should stay pretty clean for 12 months, even in the tropics. Then its time to get out the scraper.
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Old 18-10-2012, 20:54   #11
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

This is about as contentious as anchoring so don't hold your breath for a definitive answer.

I think it largely depends on where you will be. Worm tropical, cold temperate.

International has a barge moored in our club where they test bottom paints. This gives you an idea of the fouling we have here in "tropical warm."

No one here is using hard paint except a couple of racers and they have divers once a week keeping things clean.

Everyone else is using soft ablative. Most use Jotun because it is available and cheap. They get max 18 months for 2 coats plus 4 at waterline.

I use Micron Extra because I can't afford Micron 66. My last 2 coats plus 4 lasted 24 months.

I like to stick to one system - It took us a messy 5 hours to sand and we are ready to put on 2 more coats - easy peasy maintenance.

I agree with 2 colors.

A friend donated some left over "not for sale to public" ship paint. I am going to put one coat of that on under the Micron this time and see what happens.

I've checked the compatibility...
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Old 18-10-2012, 21:38   #12
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

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International has a barge moored in our club where they test bottom paints. This gives you an idea of the fouling we have here in "tropical warm."
Interlux tests paints in many areas (including San Francisco Bay) not because they are looking for the most rigorous fouling growth, but because they know that a product that works well in Singapore may, or may not, work well elsewhere.
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Old 18-10-2012, 22:07   #13
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Hard. Better for the environment.
Might "better for the environment" be a euphemism for less effective?
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Old 18-10-2012, 22:27   #14
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

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Interlux tests paints in many areas (including San Francisco Bay) not because they are looking for the most rigorous fouling growth, but because they know that a product that works well in Singapore may, or may not, work well elsewhere.
Absolutely - Here we have what many would call warm tropical worst case...

That's why I stated cruising grounds is very important and what may work "best" in SFO may not work best in Fiji.

What I don't get are those that claim to anti-foul like every 10 years - I would really like to know the "reality" of that claim.
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Old 18-10-2012, 22:30   #15
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Re: Ablative Or Hard Bottom Paint?

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Originally Posted by Astral Blue View Post
Might "better for the environment" be a euphemism for less effective?
Umm... no.
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