The Ins and Outs of Choosing a Bottom 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.

Tefcite Coating Fails Static Panel Test at 1 Year

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.

Favorite Bottom Paints by Region

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.

For Big Repairs, Try Bellwether Boatyards

A few years back, we profiled a number of excellent local boatyards (PS, June 2009) that help do-it-yourselfers thrive. Here, we profile yards at the opposite side of the spectrum-facilities that specialize in keel-to-masthead care for their customers.

Do-It-Yourself Nonskid Test Update

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 didn't expect to see much change in the test panels, but there were a few surprises.

Get Longer Life Out of Your Nonskid

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.

Which Bottom Paints Last the Longest?

Over the past five years, in our search for the best bottom paints, weve reported on three sets of bottom paint test panels that have been in salt water for two years or more. Most panel sets contained the same roster of 60 to 70 antifouling paints from Blue Water Paints, Epaint, Interlux, Pettit, Sea Hawk, and other makers. In the end, only seven antifouling paints proved capable of combatting barnacles after 24 months. We consider these to be the most reliable bottom paints available for the cruising sailor.

3M Masking Tape Matchup

Most sailors have discovered that when it comes to applying marine coatings, the type of masking tape used is as important as the type of paintbrush if you want clean edges. But what is the best tape to use for boat varnish projects, or bottom paint application? Testers compared eight of industry leader 3Ms general masking and specialty tapes to find out.

Rope vs. Wire Lifelines

Three years ago, I bought a 1968 Hinterhoeller HR28 from a local junkyard that had paid $250 for it with plans to salvage the lead keel and Sawzall the rest. Ive spent almost three years on an amateurs refit. Now, I need new lifelines. I know that plastic-coated wire is out-of-favor and that race-sanctioning bodies now approve of high-tech (and high-priced) ropes. What risks am I taking if I just use a cheaper and thicker rope-something like Samson LS 3/8-inch with a tensile strength of 3,700 pounds? Stainless-steel 3/16 lifeline wire is rated at 3,700-pounds breaking strength. Are tensile and breaking strength the same?

Anti-Mildew Weapons

I was wondering whether you might have any comments on using bottom paint on the boats interior to help fight mold and mildew. Many bottom paints are ineffective out of the water, but I was wondering whether some of the new eco-friendly paints might prove to be a new weapon in the fight to work less and play more.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Stainless Steel

When applying a paste cleaner, a toothbrush is useful for buffing tight spots and working into the pores of welds; follow by buffing with a cotton cloth. A green 3M scrubby pad helps for removing more aggressive stains. Continued rusting in welded areas might indicate a developing failure, requiring replacement. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and mild soap when done buffing.