Shortly before this issue went to print, Practical Sailor learned that Irgarol, a pesticide commonly used as a boosting agent in antifouling paints, is in short supply in the United States. Although we have not fully investigated the ramifications of this news for boat owners, it seems likely that the supply of paints containing this pesticide will be exhausted sometime this year.
Regarding your blog post on restoring gelcoat (posted online March 18, 2014): Ive seen many similar articles over the years directed toward refinishing topsides. However, Ive seen no discussion about restoring decks. I have an 18-year-old boat, and Im beginning to see pinholes in the deck gelcoat, particularly on edges and curves where I suspect the gelcoat is thinner. Im curious what the experts would recommend.
Bottom paint? Again? Frankly, sometimes we feel that way, too. According to company lore, more than a few former Practical Sailor editors ran screaming for the exits after phrases like ablative copolymer and Irgarol began creeping into their dreams. As much as some like to poke fun at our bottom paint obsession, antifouling is a topic that deserves attention. Choosing the wrong paint can set a boat owner back $1,000 or more, but more importantly, antifouling is a fast-moving topic; paints available last spring are suddenly gone, renamed, or reformulated. This is particularly true for the newer eco-friendly paints.
Weve experimented with several different prop paints with varying degrees of success, although none of the results so far have been dazzling. Some of our testers have had better success with dedicated slick prop paints such as PropSpeed. In our testing, however, mostly in Chesapeake Bay, no prop paint had lived up to our increasingly faint hope that the paint repel growth as effectively as our hull paint.
When choosing a bottom paint, make sure it is compatible with your existing paint, or be prepared for whatever extra prep work might be required. Usually, all that is required is some light sanding and possibly, a primer coat, although in some cases, more aggressive sanding and surface prep is required.
Our quest for new antifouling paints recently took us into the world of long-life spray-on coatings promoted in the commercial-shipping industry. While the spray-on, thermoplastic composite powder Tefcite may work well on a ship thats moving at 13 knots for most of its working life, it failed surprisingly fast in our static panel tests.
Lately, readers have been asking us about which antifouling paints serve well for specific bodies of water (or type of water). So, in this article-our annual spring bottom paint report-we will try to answer these questions with some recent reader survey data and sales reports from the two biggest brands in the U.S. (Pettit Paints and Interlux Yacht Finishes). But before we get into the regional breakdowns, a quick recap on choosing bottom paint and our paint testing program is in order. If youre a longtime subscriber, feel free to skip down to the Current Testing section.
Its been 12 months since testers mounted the 12 nonskid test panels on the roof, subjecting them to south Floridas semi-tropical weather around the clock, without any cleaning. The test field included the big names in marine maintenance products-AkzoNobel (Interlux and Awlgrip), Pettit, West Marine, and Epifanes-as well as companies specializing in nonskid paint, Pachena (KiwiGrip) and Durabak, and three that make nonskid mats, SeaDek, Tiflex, and Soft Deck. With the service life of nonskid paints and mats ranging from three years to a decade or more, we didnt expect to see much change in the test panels, but there were a few surprises.
Revamping a nonskid deck is not a project most boat owners look forward to doing. Here are a few tips to help you get more mileage out of those arduous nonskid restorations.