The top paints from previous years, like Micron 66, get split decisions this year. Interlux's Trilux II comes in as the surprise top performer—too bad it's only available in Canada. Pettit's Hydrocoat and a paint from Blue Water did well in both Florida and Connecticut waters.
This months bottom paint article got me thinking again about Practical Sailor. We are, in some ways, the old barnacle of the marine publishing world, clinging tenaciously to an independent, ad-free format, while our brethren are whisked off by the current toward banner ads, YouTube videos, and blogs, where opinions and advertiser bias often supplant fact-based reporting. Ours is not an easy road. If it was, thered be others doing it. I dare not try to calculate the man hours that went into conducting the tests in this months issue. The annual bottom paint project alone consumes weeks. Then theres the multi-day pull-tests for the rope-clutch comparison, the days spent dissecting 9.9-horsepower outboard engines, and a long week of comparing 27 different kinds of clear-vinyl cleaners. And I haven't even mentioned the dirtiest project featured this month, Technical Editor Ralph Naranjos epoxy barrier coat removal project-a hot, dusty ordeal carried out for weeks during a Chesapeake Bay heat wave.
While gathering data for this months bottom paint report I took comfort in the notion that Im not the first to have barnacles on the brain. For seven years, Charles Darwin immersed himself in the study of barnacles, and with each passing year, he seemed to become more and more confounded. Darwins consternation-and later, an almost maniacal obsession with the barnacle-is well documented in Rebecca Stotts compelling book Darwin and the Barnacle.
The lure of sailing is a magnet that draws us toward boat ownership, but annual maintenance, and costly refits are a less-welcome fait accompli. Self-sufficiency will always be our emphasis, but we have also noticed that fewer recreational sailors have the time, training, or the inclination to tackle the big jobs. A common thread among this growing group of do-it-for-me sailors is the desire to become a smarter consumer of the services offered by a very diverse marine industry. Here, we offer an insiders guide on choosing the right boatyard and quality contractors.
The results derived from a professionally applied LPU topside refinish are as dramatic as the invoice that accompanies the makeover. The shiny, wet look and the protection it affords can last for years-whether its three years, five years, or nearly a decade depends upon how kindly the rejuvenated surface is treated. Two-part polyester urethane coatings such as Awlgrip II are tough, gloss-retaining coatings that will put up with some abrasion, but if you make it a regular occurrence, both the gloss and the paint will eventually go away.
Pulling hoses is generally low on the fun list. They are in bad places, jammed onto crusty hose-fitting barbs, and have stiffened over the years. As part of our 2016 update on long-term tests, we needed to wiggle loose a few of the sanitation hoses were testing to see how they were looking on the inside-a job much less pleasant than new installation.