Looking for the best marine antifoulant to keep your hull clean? Check out Practical Sailors semi-annual bottom paint test report, which offers performance ratings on nearly 80 marine antifouling paints. Multiple sets of submerged fiberglass test panels-two in the Florida Keys and two in Long Island Sound-were pulled and examined for their resistance to hard growth and soft growth. Detailed charts show the results of the one-year and two-year tests for ablative paints, hard paints, and specialty paints (white paints, eco-friendly paints, bright paints, water-based paints, and racing boat paints). After the ratings were logged, testers retired the two-year panels to make room for the 2008 bottom paints. This lineup-72 paints in all-includes several low-copper paints and no-copper paints, which are becoming increasingly popular as sailors look for viable alternatives to metal-based paints. Paint manufacturers and distributors participating in the test include Blue Water Marine Paint; Donovan Marine; Epaint Co.; Flexdel Aquagard; Interlux Yacht Finishes; Kop-Coat; Pettit; New Nautical Coatings; Seahawk Paints; West Marine; and Boaters World (Seabowld). Among the top-rated paints are Interlux Micron 66, Interlux Super Ablative, Pettit Ultima SR, Pettit Trinidad SR, Pettit Unepoxy Plus, Pettit Vivid, and Sea Hawk Biocop TF.
In late 2011, Practical Sailor launched a test that focused exclusively on new antifouling paints that had been introduced in the previous year or that we had never tested before. Along with regular test participants Blue Water, Epaint, Flexdel, Pettit, and Sea Hawk, several newcomers signed on, including Specialty Marine Solutions, a Massachusetts company that has developed paints using Sea-Nine 211, a marine antifouling agent from Dow Chemical; Boero, an Italian company with a long history in Europe; and Luritek, a company based in West Chester, Penn.
David Boye, the Arizona knifemaker whose unique folding boat knife of cast dendritic cobalt won our June 2000 sailors knives bench test and was a reference standard for our March 2004 revisit, recently introduced a new model Basic 3 Cobalt knife. These knives doggedly retain a cutting edge when going through tough, blade-resistant materials like rope, cardboard, or even old rugs. Others give up long before the job is done. In our experience, Boyes cobalt knives last much longer-and when they finally do slow down, they can be resharpened with just a few strokes on a medium stone. The difference, we reason, is in the metallurgy. Boyes cobalt blades are "cast to shape and retain the pristine crystal network of highly dendritic (branching) bonded carbide throughout the blade, which aids in cutting and maintaining the structure of the cutting edge," according to the maker. Most knives are from steel that originally contained a similar crystal microstructure, but then underwent rolling, stamping, or forging to shape. This process breaks down the original carbide microstructure of the metal. The carbides at the edge are then no longer rooted into the overall microstructure. Complex heat treatment is then applied to develop properties such as hardness and toughness.
Not every sailor has a selection of local sailmakers to choose from. He or she must instead rely on Internet research and phone conversations to find the best sail for the best price. As most of the world’s sail production takes place in a handful of high-volume production lofts abroad (China, Sri Lanka, and Africa), U.S. sailmakers have taken on the role of sail designers—rather than sailmakers.
The article Dissecting the Art of Staying Upright (see PS June 2015 online) was very timely for me, but I am struggling with how to apply it to real life and specific boats. How do I find information on the angle of vanishing stability for specific boats? Can you point me to other articles like yours where I can learn more?
So, a couple of years back, you acquired a good old boat at a pretty good price-thanks to the market-but now youre wondering how many coats of bottom paint it has. And what kind? Youve put on a few coats of ablative antifouling since youve owned the boat. It has adhered well and has done its job. But each year, the bottom looks rougher and rougher-with big recesses where paint has flaked off. You sweated out some extra prep-work this season, and thought you had a nice, durable subsurface for painting, but each pass of the roller pulls up more paint. Whats going on here?