Paints

Making Sense of Solvents

Practical Sailor wades into the world of thinners and clean-up chemicals.

Four Solvents for Nearly Every Boat Job

As with cleaners (see One Bucket Cleaning Kit, May 2017) its easy to be over-specific with solvents. Pretty soon, we end up with a zillion cans in the paint locker. While we would probably pay extra for the magic vendor-specific blend for a topside paint job, wed not be so selective for every single small varnish, fiberglass, or similar job that comes up. For these everyday jobs, a few generics can do the trick.

Not All Paint Mixers are Created Equal

If you buy your paint in summer or fall, you can often save some money, but this means youll need to mix it well prior to painting. In fact most of the paint in the store has settled long enough to have separated, leaving a thin solvent-rich layer on the top and 2/3 of the paint as a sludge on the bottom. Intended for less stubborn house paint, ordinary mixers clog up with the goo, taking 15 minutes or more to properly rejuvenate a can. After a dozen layers of paint build up, they scarcely mix at all.

Freshwater Bottom Paint Test

We werent too surprised to learn that Irgarol 1051, an antifouling paint additive that last year was awaiting U.S. Environmental Protection Administration certification, has received approval to re-enter the market. As we reported last spring (see Bottom Paint Update 2017, Practical Sailor April 2017), Irgarol 1051s manufacturer, BASF, had moved its manufacturing to Asia, and was waiting for its new foreign-sourced formula to be certified by the EPA. By 2016, nearly all of the major antifouling paint manufacturers in the U.S. had exhausted their reserves. Now Irgarol is back, which means there may be some confusion as to what secret sauce is boosting the performance of your top-shelf slime-resistant paint.

Bottom Paint Care

Modern anti-fouling paints promise a hull free of marine growth for one to several seasons. But in nutrient-rich water and as the paint becomes expended, barnacles and green stuff take hold, slowing us down, increasing fuel consumption under power, and degrading handling.

Cleaning Your Hull

Before diving into a hull cleaning project, check first what the rules are in your marina. Marinas are regulated under the Clean Water Act and they often have their own policies regarding DIY hull-cleaning.

What About GlowFast Tethers?

In response to your request regarding safety tether knowledge or suggestions (see Safety Tether Warning, Inside Practical Sailor) please test and include information about Glowfasts HLR Safety Line system.

Which Bottom Paint for a Watertender?

I have a West Marine Watertender 9.4 with a polyethylene hull (versus polypropylene for the Walker Bays) and am wondering if there is an anti-fouling paint that is suitable. Looking through the product info for both, the manufacturers both claim that the plastics are slippery enough to not need paint, however, the plastic wrap (unknown material) on the wooden pilings on my own docks in Florida have marine growth on them, so I suspect the same will happen with my Watertender (currently stored on the dock).There are conflicting reports/opinions on various forums as to if there is a paint that would actually stick to the hull, as well as potentially damage the plastic.

Propeller Paints that Last

A cheap, effective antifouling paint for a propeller is as rare as a good pun. The coating must not only ward off all marine growth, it must present a smooth slick surface that can stand up to the constant water friction when the boat is under power. And in the case of a folding prop, the coating must also adhere in nooks and crannies and, in some cases, even withstand metal-to-metal contact. These demands are well beyond the reach of any run-of-the-mill marine coating. Thus, our search for-wait for it-a prop(er) paint.

Durabak Nonskid Coating Long-term Test Update

In the January 2012 issue, we evaluated the application ease and traction performance of do-it-yourself nonskid options. A few months prior to the report, a Practical Sailor tester applied the tests Best Choice pick, Durabak, to the coachroof of his Chesapeake Bay-based 1978 Union 36; this served as a real-world test of the coating systems application ease and coating longevity. That field test has reached the five-year mark, so we wanted to offer an update on the coatings long-term performance.