Polyester sailcloth is amazingly strong and durable stuff, often completing trips around the world or decades of weekend sailing. Its Achilles heel is the sun. After just 2-3 years in the sun, depending on the latitude, it becomes so rotted by UV that its little stronger than a cotton bed sheet. Mainsails are safely bundled under a Sunbrella cover. Nylon Spinnakers are bagged and stored below. Genoas, on the other hand, remain furled on the headstay, often year round, with the last 12 inches of the leach and foot continuously exposed.
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?