Mailport: July 2014
It is interesting to see that scraping off old bottom paint is getting some press (see PS May 2014 Mailport online). It was more than 25 years ago that I scraped every single spec of bottom paint off a Pearson 323. It did not take long to realize that the corners of the scraper had to be rounded to prevent damaging the bottom and that keeping the blade sharp was key to success. It took several days of hard work and was a very unpleasant task, but scraping took far less effort and time than trying to accomplish the same result by sanding.
I recently took a different approach to stripping the bottom paint from my current boat, a Freedom 36. Recalling the grueling job of scraping a 32-foot boat, it was an easy decision to hire a company that specializes in stripping paint from boat bottoms and other surfaces, using a fine compound and compressed air to strip the paint quickly and economically with no damage to the boat, when done by an experienced professional. Additionally, this process left a consistent finish that was much the same as what I would have wanted to sand into the gelcoat prior to reapplying a fresh barrier primer coat, followed by the antifouling coating.
There was no degradation of the gelcoat above the waterline and no damage to through-hull fittings. I am not one to back away from sweat-equity projects, but given the speed and excellent outcome of the blasting process, I would never again consider scraping bottom paint.
Cinereous, Freedom 36
Next: Jackett Packet