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  #1  
Old 07-02-2008
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Ablative Bottom Paint Lifespan

Hello,


Our 1990 Caliber 33 was laid up for over a year for a fuel tank replacement. The boat finally went into the water Saturday.



Before we discovered the leaking tank the bottom was painted last spring with ablative paint. It was to my understanding that ablative paint has a short lifespan out of the water. Well the boat went into the water Saturday and was not painted as requested on our spring checklist. I spoke with the marina owner and his response was that it was painted last spring so it wasn't necessary to do it again since it never went in the water. Hmmm


We purchased the boat about 4 years ago. The previous owner used hard epoxy paint. We've been using ablative at the suggestion of the first boat yard we winter stored at. A section (almost the size of a football) of the hard epoxy had pealed away exposing either a barrier coat or the actual bare hull, couldn't tell, it wasn't shiney (powder blue color). There are a couple of chips that pealed away from the rudder which reveals the same powder blue surface. I wasn't concerned because it was going to get a coating of bottom paint or so I thought. I had inquired last winter about getting the bottom soda blasted to get rid of the epoxy paint and go with ablative, but that fell on deaf ears.



My concern now is if that bare patch is gelcoat will it be okay until the boat comes out of the water in September?


Needless to say I am winter storing the boat at another facility in the off season.


So far I have not had good experiences with 2 yards on Long Islands north shore.



Thanks for your reply.


John

1990 Caliber 33
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2008
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"My concern now is if that bare patch is gelcoat will it be okay until the boat comes out of the water in September?"

Shouldn't be any big deal. If you go overboard for a swim now and then bring a putty knife and a good stiff brush with you and do your best to clean the exposed area so there will be less work to do come fall. .
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Old 07-02-2008
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The marina owner is right about the ablative paint, it should be fine..most northeast boats sit six months out of the water, and the ablative paint is fine to go back in, no worse for no wear. The patch colored blue sounds like the hard bottom paint, if it were barrier coat it'd be grey or black.

If the ablative paint has stuck satisfactorily, and you don't have blisters, don't wate your money doing a bottom blast, you'll end up spending several thousand dollars and lots of work time to get back to where you arleady are. Just have the bare spots sanded well, then put a few coats of paint on those areas. You don't paint an ablative bottom unless it needs more paint due to the sloghing off in the water. Simply put a coat on every year and you are likely to end up with a thick paint layer, which will flake, and then you HAVE to blast the bottom and start over.

As to the bare spots, they will be fine other than they may grow nasty marine stuff like barnacles. If you can get a diver to scrub those areas periodically you may be able to contain nasty growth, otherwise get a good sander from Santa.
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Old 07-03-2008
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Note that there are two types of ablative paint. The copolymer type (like Micron) is multi-season. The less expensive type apparently looses effectiveness out of the water and is thus considered single season and needs a new coat every year.
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Old 07-07-2008
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I've used Micron Extra on our Pearson 26 since getting it in '03. I'm on the Potomac R. in fresh water. The first job (2 coats, 3 coats on bow & front of keel) lasted well from April 03 to August 05. It was ready for painting but did not look bad at all. We're about to haul again this month so we'll see how nearly 3 yrs. goes (couldn't get to it last yr. for various reasons, we're 27 mi. from the boat yard).

Jon
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Old 07-07-2008
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My experience is

A) gelcoat is white, not blue
B) some bare spots are no big deal, even if it's bare to the gel coat
C) brushing the gunk off your hull every couple of months with a soft bristled brush dramatically improves the working life of bottom coats, even ablative ones
D) it pays to have an extra coat of ablative thrown on while you're out of the water
E) people get freaky about their bottom jobs, but in florida where boats never come out, you can make a bottom job last two or three years if you don't mind going over with a snorkel mask and a brush while at anchor

Oh, and F) pay someone to do your hull. Don't do it yourself. I've done it, I'm glad I did it, and I sneezed gelcoat dust for two months afterwards, so I'll never do it again.
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Old 07-07-2008
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Not all gelcoat is white. You can tint it much like any other coating.

BTW, if you're sanding the boat and wore a proper respirator mask, you wouldn't be sneezing gelcoat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by beej67 View Post
My experience is

A) gelcoat is white, not blue
B) some bare spots are no big deal, even if it's bare to the gel coat
C) brushing the gunk off your hull every couple of months with a soft bristled brush dramatically improves the working life of bottom coats, even ablative ones
D) it pays to have an extra coat of ablative thrown on while you're out of the water
E) people get freaky about their bottom jobs, but in florida where boats never come out, you can make a bottom job last two or three years if you don't mind going over with a snorkel mask and a brush while at anchor

Oh, and F) pay someone to do your hull. Don't do it yourself. I've done it, I'm glad I did it, and I sneezed gelcoat dust for two months afterwards, so I'll never do it again.
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Old 07-07-2008
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What yard(s) do you not recommend

I want to make sure I am not at one of them. This is my 1st year on the North Shore hope I am not at a lemon place.

Thx
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Old 07-07-2008
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it would be much more useful if you started your own thread instead of hijacking this one. I'd also recommend that you read the post in my signature.

When you do start a new thread, please include as much information regarding your problem as you can. You say you're in the North Shore area.... North Shore of what?
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I want to make sure I am not at one of them. This is my 1st year on the North Shore hope I am not at a lemon place.

Thx
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Quote:
Not all gelcoat is white. You can tint it much like any other coating.
I didn't realize it was common practice to tint the gelcoat of a boat's hull below the waterline. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever heard of that in a sailboat. I'm certainly not an authority on boat building, though, so take my comments with a grain of salt. (or speck of gelcoat dust, as the case may be)

Quote:
BTW, if you're sanding the boat and wore a proper respirator mask, you wouldn't be sneezing gelcoat.
I wore some safety goggles and a disposable dust thingy over my nose/mouth, same as all the guys in the yard did, but nothing fancy. Don't think I would recommend doing your own bottom work even if I did it in full pressure diving gear, though. It's just not particularly fun.

Like I said, I'm glad I did it, so I know how it's done, and I bet I did a better job than many others would have done, but I'm not doing it again. That was a week I'd rather spend doing something else.
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