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Old 16-06-2017, 04:43   #1
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Hard or Soft - Paint

Last year (14 months ago) I applied "multi-season" ablative paint to the boat as I didn't plan to haul out for at least a couple of years. Well it became fouled and I had a diver clean the bottom the other day and he said the bottom was 100% covered and that the paint wasn't "soft" anymore. So that "multi-season" paint didn't last all that long and was a waste of money over the single season paint I had been using. So till I can get around to it I guess I'll have a diver clean it once in awhile as 1.5 years of that works out to be the same cost as hauling and painting.

But the diver cleaning got me thinking of whether the ablative paint is the way to go now that I'm cruising full time. In the past it made sense as I hauled each year and it got pressure washed off. But now maybe a hard paint would make more sense. Either way I'm going to have to strip all the old paints off the boat to start with a fresh bottom for the next paint.

What are other cruisers doing?
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Old 16-06-2017, 04:49   #2
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

I only use hard paint. It still seems to come off all too easily on anchor ropes and things. Unless I've been misinformed, ablative paint works best on boats that achieve higher speeds.
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Old 16-06-2017, 04:51   #3
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

Ablatives will keep clean only when moving. Just curious, which multi-season did you use and how much did you sail?
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Old 16-06-2017, 04:56   #4
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

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Ablatives will keep clean only when moving. Just curious, which multi-season did you use and how much did you sail?
Used Micron CSC. Don't know how many miles but went from Boston to George Town Bahamas and back to St Augustine Fl.
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Old 16-06-2017, 05:55   #5
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

It does seem to be a big difference in the hardness of ablative paints. Some of the harder paints work well with faster motor boats and trailer boats. The softer paints like Ultra SR 40 & 60 seem to work better on slower vessels. Both need to move thru the water to clean. My 2 cents.
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Old 16-06-2017, 06:34   #6
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

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Used Micron CSC. Don't know how many miles but went from Boston to George Town Bahamas and back to St Augustine Fl.
Not enough! It only works if you go around the world non-stop....

Kind of hurt paying these prices for a paint that does not work. I'll be curious to the replies here. Would Micron 66 be better? It is even pricier.
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Old 16-06-2017, 07:18   #7
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Last year (14 months ago) I applied "multi-season" ablative paint to the boat as I didn't plan to haul out for at least a couple of years. Well it became fouled...
You expected otherwise? Anti fouling paint will retard fouling growth, it doesn't eliminate it. It requires periodic cleaning.

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I had a diver clean the bottom the other day and he said the bottom was 100% covered and that the paint wasn't "soft" anymore.
That doesn't even make sense. Soft paint that somehow became hard? Sounds like you found a hull cleaner who doesn't know what he's talking about.

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So that "multi-season" paint didn't last all that long and was a waste of money over the single season paint I had been using. So till I can get around to it I guess I'll have a diver clean it once in awhile as 1.5 years of that works out to be the same cost as hauling and painting.
Again, any anti fouling paint, be it hard, soft or otherwise is going to require periodic maintenance. That's simply the nature of the beast. Your multi season ablative didn't fail you; you failed to take care of it.
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Old 16-06-2017, 11:38   #8
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

Some of what you may be experiencing is due to water temp.
Up North where you were I believe the water is colder and growth is slower, but about this time of year when water temp hits about 80 F down South here, the growth goes into overdrive, or seems to anyway.
Some areas worse than others.
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Old 16-06-2017, 16:57   #9
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

AFAIK ablative bottom paint never gets "hard" as such. It gets hard and chalky, sure, but like chalk, it then can just be rubbed off. It isn't "hard" like Baltoplate or any of the other hard bottom paints is.

Maybe the ablative paint was actually gone, completely, and the cleaner was actually looking at the barrier coat or another coat that had been under the latest ablative?

The only agreement that I've heard (other than banned tin-based paints being great at their job) is that every bottom paint performs well in a very limited niche environment. You'd have to ask Micron (etc.) for their recommendation for very specific salinity and hours in motion to get a really informed guess at what might work best.

I've seen a paint work great one year, and in the following year in slightly different waters, not work at all. Niches.
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Old 16-06-2017, 17:05   #10
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

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I've seen a paint work great one year, and in the following year in slightly different waters, not work at all. Niches.
I've seen the same in my travels.
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Old 16-06-2017, 20:31   #11
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

We like Islands 44 hard ablative paint. You can't use it in the USA, though. I am sure there are other hard ablatives available that are legal in the US. We prefer it to the softer ablative paints. Nothing works if you spend your cruise at anchor, but if you sail the hard ablative keeps the bottom clean. Every once in a while I surface dive with a plastic putty knife and knock off a few barnacles or use a little square of terry cloth to wipe off patches of slime. The maintenance is really minimal.
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Old 17-06-2017, 09:57   #12
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

Islands 44 is, no surprise, one of the incredibly effective TBT-based bottom paints. Which are totally illegal and banned in much of the world. Sail into the wrong harbor with a TBT paint, and your boat will wind up at an impound facility.

That's not just the US. Last I heard, Trinidad was about the only spot in the Carib where it was legal.
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Old 17-06-2017, 17:42   #13
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

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Islands 44 is, no surprise, one of the incredibly effective TBT-based bottom paints. Which are totally illegal and banned in much of the world. Sail into the wrong harbor with a TBT paint, and your boat will wind up at an impound facility.

That's not just the US. Last I heard, Trinidad was about the only spot in the Carib where it was legal.
Do you have any instances of people's bottom paint being scrutinized by the authorities? Seems far fetched that any would bother or be equipped to do an analysis. But how else would they know? Surely no one keeps empty cans of bottom paint aboard to show what sort of paint they applied?
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Old 18-06-2017, 05:22   #14
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Some of what you may be experiencing is due to water temp.
Up North where you were I believe the water is colder and growth is slower, but about this time of year when water temp hits about 80 F down South here, the growth goes into overdrive, or seems to anyway.
Some areas worse than others.
I checked the paint as to locations as I knew I would be in warmer weather. It was rated good for Florida. I think my paint mostly just "washed" off.

I only had a choice of 2 paints really last year; the single season ACT I had been using and the CSC. Everything else was going to require stripping paint or a hull prep that I just didn't have time to do in the small window I had between snow melting and boat launching.

Next time I haul I'm going to have to strip the bottom paint off. That opens up a world of paint choices!
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Old 18-06-2017, 07:46   #15
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Re: Hard or Soft - Paint

We normally use cheapest ablative and as many coats as we dare.

Our best choice ever was Micron 66 Biolux (if I remember well, that was 2006 though). Four coats. It was fine from NZ to Europe - about 18 months mostly sailing or else anchored.

If I were to rebuild the system, I would go:

- epoxy barrier, black,
- hard AF, on tack epoxy, white
- compatible soft AF, on tack hard AF, coulour, 4 coats.

Then if your soft paint is going you can see the white hard underneath and still you can clean the hull between haulouts.

Plenty depends on time between haulouts. If less than 2 years, I would just slap on anything soft and plenty of it and go.

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