Join Date: Jul 2002
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Bill, here is the logic train I would suggest you use in answering your question:
Ablative or Mod Epoxy? In the clear/warm waters of the Caribbean, you won''t be hauling just to haul or because of the calendar, as bottom maintenance can actually be fun and certainly not too tough. For this reason, I think the answer would be Modified Epoxy. Ablatives like CSC will wear at a predictable rate, based on use and time, and will expire no matter whether you''d like to avoid a haul and maintain your hull or not. You can not ''clean'' ablatives without removing the paint; very expensive. (Boats in seasonal climates, where annual hauling is more the normal course of events, benefit from the main advantage of ablative paints - no build-up - and wouldn''t gain from the multi-year benefit of a quality Mod Epoxy.)
Chemical or Copper? There''s been a major schism in paint manufacturing since the two main customers - Europe and North America - have taken essentially opposing regulatory views on what should be embraced vs. banned. Europe has traditionally banned copper in favor of proprietary chemicals (weed killers), and so you can not find a true Mod Epoxy paint anywhere in Europe. This is because the reason it exists - to hold large amounts of copper in suspension - is absent. Meanwhile, over here we have thought copper to be king and many are unimpressed with some mfgrs. trying to add weed killers to their copper in order to improve performance while keeping cost down.
You will find that boat yards, hull cleaning services, and boat owners who are down in the ''Florida and South'' region view Petit''s Trinidad products as the best value available. I have had over 3 years service with Trinidad in St. Pete (very warm water, minimal tidal flow, no grass, no barnacles, but regular maintenance) and we now have over 3 years on Trinidad while actively cruising in Europe (with very little maintenance - it''s too cold! - so its clearly due for recovering).
Discussing bottom paint is like discussing religion, and there are certainly many reasonable choices. My hunch is that, presuming you make the run south and then stay in the Caribbean several seasons, you would find Trinidad a ''good value'' choice *after* several years of cruising, not just for a portion of that time.
Good luck on the prep. I''m sure you''ll have a ball!