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joseph53p 02-26-2002 03:44 AM

racing bottom
I am interested in putting a decent racing bottom on my 37 foot boat, now painted with Micron CSC ablative, which works fine for preventing growth where I sail (lower Chesapeake). What steps should I take re: bottom preparation this spring, and what paint change (if any) should I consider? My racing will be semi-serious, but not to the point of wet-sanding, etc. prior to races.

Thanks for any tips.

hamiam 02-26-2002 08:08 AM

racing bottom
Check out / You will need to completely remove the CSC and paint the bottom with either a hard bottom paint or something like VC.

joseph53p 02-26-2002 09:01 AM

racing bottom
Thanks for your reply. Are the hard paints like VC that much faster than ablatives?


Jeff_H 02-26-2002 09:58 AM

racing bottom
There are various levels of work involved in having a ''racing bottom''. I generally fari the bottom on my boats if they haven''t been faired before I bought the boat. Fairing involves taking small waves out of the hull by filling and long boarding the bottom. The applying a barrier coat over the faired bottom. The keel and rudder are also carefully faired.

When I was racing my boat regularly I typically used Baltiplate (although VC seems to have picked up more of the market lately). Baltiplate is good for two years but needs to be cleaned by a diver everyother week in the worst of the summer and before any race. VC has even less antifouling.

A fair and smooth bottom makes a big difference in light air when any reduction in friction is significant and in really heavy air where less friction means less heeling and more surfing.


bporter 02-26-2002 10:49 AM

racing bottom
Another differnce is that Baltoplate pretty much comes on one color. I happened to like that burnished gunmetal look once it get''s wet sanded, but not everyone wants it.

So if you need a blue or red bottom, VC Offshore is where to go.

bporter 02-26-2002 11:03 AM

racing bottom
I went through this EXACT process with my C&C 37 last season.

With 20/20 hindsight, had I known I''d be selling the boat within a couple of years I would have held off and sanded with what I had. For me, a cruising boat that I raced with would sell more easily with a more normal bottom (as opposed to a racing boat that I would cruise with). I also experienced...complications...which I have detailed in other posts.

It''s all a matter of how serious you want to get with the boat prep. It makes a big difference, but unless you''re dead set on winning all the time where you race you can still have a good time with a smooth, softer bottom.

You have to get every scrap of the soft paint off; in my case we had 17 years worth to get rid of, came off like tar.

Surface prep once the paint is stripped is important too. If you spend the time to fill in the scratches, knicks and dings then the overall results will be better. The new paint will cover SOME imperfections, but it''s a much thinner layer than the ablatives so there is more show through of imperfections. Even scratches from 80 grit paper on a random orbital sander show through three coats, although they can be sanded out.

As mentioned in other posts, VC Offshore & Baltoplate are the most common choices.

I gather these can be rolled on yourself, if you are careful. I had the yard spray it on. There is less sanding involved with spraying, as the initial finish you are working with is smoother and there is less paint.

As far as sanding goes, you will want to do a little, even if you don''t go too far with it. The difference in feel between just-sprayed Baltoplate and BP wet-sanded just once is huge. Basically you work your way up in grits to finer and finer. Do it once at the start of the season. You will want a diver to come periodically; around here they get about $1 per foot.

If you are having it sprayed and are using VC, you may want the first coat in a different color. This way you get a "tell" to see when you''ve sanded through your top coats.

Jeff_H 02-26-2002 02:21 PM

racing bottom
Two minor points, Baltiplate now comes in multiple colors, Blue and Red I think.

As to selling a boat, it is far easier to sell a boat that potentially might do some racing if it has a racing finish than to sell the same boat with a ''cruising finish''.

As I look at it, it is cheaper to repaint a boat that has a racing finish once the boat has one. Prep is far less expensive. So much so that you can often get a cheaper price (including the wet and dry sanding follow up) to paint a bottom in racing shape than to throw a couple coats on a rougher bottom.

To me if I see a boat with a racing finish, it means that is extremely easy to tell if it has a blister problem but a boat with a ''cruising finish'' could be hiding anything.

If I see a boat with a racing bottom I asume that the owner cares about a boat enough to keep the bottom fair and inshape. When I see a ''cruising bottom'' I assume that perhaps other aspects of the boat have been short changed as well.

Lastly, if I wanted better anti-fouling properties than a racing finish I can always have a softer paint sprayed over the harder finish, but if I want to return the boat to a racing bottom, I can expect to spend a small fortune getting rid of the old bottom paint inorder to apply the racing finish.

At least that''s how I see it.


BenDaniels 03-01-2002 07:37 AM

racing bottom
According to my latest catalogs, Baltoplate is still available only in gray. On my boat, it appears that the builder first applied Baltoplate, then covered it with a soft paint to go to the broker a few years later. What a mess, the suspected modified epoxy has come where flow characteristics are great and is thick where flow is less. Not hard to remove but what mess and SLOW. The Interlux site still shows Baltoplate formulated with molybdenum (as a slicking agent for burnishing) versus Teflon in VC Offshore. I think VC Offshore was formulated as an alternative to Baltoplate, which I have heard is banned for sale in California. Maybee someone can verify this.

paulk 03-01-2002 01:18 PM

racing bottom
Interested to see that no one has responded to the question as to whether Baltoplate is actually faster than Micron CSC. Since one would want to "wipe down" both before any important race, would the difference be essentially the bottom prep and its smoothness, not the paint''s?

bporter 03-03-2002 04:14 AM

racing bottom
Jeff is definitely right about the cost of repainting soft over hard. It''s my understanding that you can put Micron CSC over almost any coating in good shape. VC and Baltoplate want everything else stripped off first.

It is my understanding that the harder paints can be sanded to a smoother, glossier, and hopefully faster finish. Also that finish will stay longer, as the paint is not dissolving away on you in random bits.

I think my plan for this year is to sand out the CSC on myu new boat as smoothly as I can, hire a diver for the summer, and they completely strip in the fall and apply BP.

I did a little poking aournd in catalogs too. Baltoplate used to come in a yellow can, and I believe was not an Intgerlux product. Now Interlux lists "Baltoplate Gray" as one of it''s VC offshore colors.

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