For hull bottom and topside repair, we love our Porter-Cable random orbit sander and WEST System Microlight Fairing Compound.
A good DIY nonskid offers effective traction (obviously) and is easy to apply, easy to clean, durable, and gentle enough on knees and elbows that a foredeck monkey won’t leave blood stains behind. Testers focused on these criteria during bench testing, and when considering final ratings, we weighed the results according to their importance. For example, a product that had great grip but was hard to clean rated better overall than one that was easy to clean but offered no traction. This was a fairly close race, so we used a plus-minus system in the ratings (see accompanying Value Guide)—something we don’t often do—as every point mattered.
A bottom-paint job is unpleasant from start to finish, and wiping down the hull with acetone plays a role in that unpleasantness. So when a Cinnaminson, N.J., company sent us an acetone alternative called Bio-Solv, we were more than keen to test it. Bio-Solv is a non-toxic, non-flammable cleaner that works better and is safer than acetone, lacquer thinner, or Xylene, according to Anthony Severino of MAS Epoxies, which began selling Bio-Solv last year. The company buys it from a proprietary manufacturer.
Practical Sailor applied 29 topside fiberglass paints from nine manufacturers to fiberglass panels and rated them on handling, coverage, and gloss. Paints will be evaluated for long-term durability and gloss retention over time. Seven of the paints are alkyd enamels; 12 are one-part urethanes; and eight are two-part linear polyurethanes. Two paints were classified as "other." Paints tested included alkyd enamels from Kirby, Sherwin-Williams, and Pettit Z-Spar; one-part urethanes from Epifanes, Insignia, Interlux, Pettit, and West Marine; and two-part polyurethanes from Epifanes, Awlgrip, Fabula, Insignia, Interlux, and Sherwin-Williams. Two Crab Coat paints from CrystaLac also were tested. Looking for tips on painting topsides yourself? PS also takes a look at the tips, tools, and techniques of do-it-yourself topside painting.
The two-part varnish test launch is the third installment of an ongoing report on our marine exterior wood coatings test, which began with an introduction to one-part varnishes (August 2007), followed by our synthetics and wood stains review (October 2007). The two-part teak coatings being tested are the Bristol Finish Traditional Amber, Smith & Co.s Five-Year Clear, HMG Paints Acrythane XSC, Interluxs Perfection, and Bonstones Nautiking NautiThane.
One-part wonders Interlux Toplac and Epifanes Mono-Urethane give two-part brews a run for their money—a short way into a long event.
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.
20 different brands are brushed on teak panels and put out to weather in the sun, rain and snow. Here’s a 6-month report.
In this article, our semi-annual report on antifouling paints for sailboats, testers rate two sets of paint panels-one that has been in the water 26 months, and the other for 15 months. We also take a peek at our newest panel, which has been in the water for only four months. Testers found a few surprises-especially among eco-friendly bottom paints-and tapped the top antifoulings for specific needs, like the best racing paint and the best aluminum-safe paint.
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.