In 1992 when we purchased our last vessel, a 34' Catalina
, I applied Copper Clad to the hull
. It was touted to repel all manner of sea creature for little more than a light cleaning
four times per year. The installation
was hard work and time consuming. The installer gave me a choice of having all the work done by a crew or I could supply the crew under his direction and tutelage. I chose the latter based on monetary concerns.
The day started well. The Copper Clad dealer, myself and my brother (poor fool didn't know what he was in for) assembled at the boatyard. The beginning was to sand the barrier coat until it met with the installers standards. I thought my arms would come out of the sockets by the time we successfully sanded the clean, new bottom. Following the sanding
came the wash cycle which was done several times using some vile smelling stuff with rubber gloves and eyeprotection.
When the hull
was properly prepared, we applied five (5) coats of epoxy barrier coat. Once that had set, we continued with nine (9) coats of copper powder in a vinyl-ester solution. The final coat was with vinyl-esther epoxy (a wash coat) to aid in the curing stage.
The boat was launched several days later and we sailed to our new home. Several weeks later, the installer arrived at the marina with his dive gear
and a scrubber with two counter rotating brushes
to clean the bottom and burnish the copper. I donned my dive gear
and observed the cleaning
. The bottom shined like a new copper penny. I was elated.
This procedure did several things (supposedly):
It freed us from bottom paint
, was environmentally friendly and saved time and labor. Wrong! The cleaning was necessary four times per year - in the water
in June is OK - in the water
in January is NOT OK! The time required to clean the bottom became oppressive. After about five years, we painted the bottom. Ablative paint
is less effort and cheaper in the long run. The best part is that the hull never had a blister... never....never.
Would I copper clad another bottom? NO, NEVER! Too much work for the return.
I tried every possible method to clean the bottom and the only thing that worked was to don the scuba
gear and scrub very hard with a coarse 3M pad.