Ablative bottom paint to VC-17 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-25-2011
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Ablative bottom paint to VC-17

We had no intention of racing when we launched the boat this past spring, so we took a putty knife to any of the loose bottom paint, feathered it out, and applied two coats of a single season ablative.

We enjoyed racing enough that we plan to do it again next year. In an effort to get the bottom cleaned up and slick again, the whole crew has volunteered to help remove all of the ablative paint, smooth out, and prep the bottom for VC-17.

Despite my warnings of the huge undertaking, that this isnít going to be a weekend project, itís going to take several weekendsÖin the cold of winterÖto get it done, they all seem more than enthusiastic (Ďtil the weather hits, methinks).

Reality dictates that Iíll have these knuckleheads actually helping for two weekends, three at best, between the boat coming out of the water and the snow hitting. In that time, Iíd like to at least get the old bottom paint off. The rest can wait until spring.

We didnít find any blisters last year, we didnít run aground or bash into anything, and we made sure we had good prep work and paint before launching in the spring, so hopefully we wonít find anything wrong when she comes out this year.

I donít want to damage anything under there, but at the same time I calculate that Iíve got about 6 working days and 6 people to get the bottom paint removed from a 40 footer.

Iím taking any and all suggestions.
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Old 09-25-2011
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Ablative paint is nasty foul stuff - get white suits and tape cuffs, legs, and collars shut. Dust masks and goggles. wear shoes you can toss.

Don't know about a 40ftr, but removing 2 coats of ablative paint from a J/24 took 5 people busting their backs for 2 days for 6 straight hours - and all we did was smooth the ablative paint down, we didn't remove it entirely. Removing 100% might have taken another 2 days.

All done using hand sanding - no power tools.

Your 40 ftr might have 4 times the surface area of a J/24.
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Old 09-25-2011
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Have a pro soda blast (or shells or whatever media is preferrred locally) the bottom and then use your staff to fair the underbody and shape the foils. With that many people and time, you should be able to get the job done. As with most big jobs, the prep work is 90% of the work.


Attempting to do this job by hand may well cost you your crew, unles they are all teenagers who dont know better...
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Old 09-26-2011
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My nav, tactician, and I are all over 50, we know better.

The rest of the crew are between 30 and 40, so old enough to know better, but still young enough to do it.

We ranÖahemÖafoul of that nasty bottom paint last year with the prep work. It took 4 of us a solid 12 hours just to prep. We scraped and feathered the loose spots and sanded the entire bottom just to smooth it out and make sure we had a good surface for the new paint. We had 2 variable speed random orbital sanders going at it, the other two hand sanded. That had to be the most miserable 12 hours Iíve ever spent doing anything.



Hadnít thought of having someone blast it. Iíve got a couple of contacts there in the marina, Iíll see if one of them can hook me up with a pro.


I gave brief thought to using a stripper, but figured sheíd complain too much.

Gave just a little more thought to using a paint stripper, donít know how that would react with the gel coat though, Iím sure the marina wouldnít look favorably on it either.
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Old 09-26-2011
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I have used paint stripper to strip 2 boats, and it works, but it won't work in cold weather, and, although it's faster than sanding, if you know how to do it, but it's still slow and tedious. Also, you can't use the stripper available at your hardware store, even if it has a picture of a boat on the label. It's too aggressive and will dissolve gel coat. There are paint strippers that are formulated specifically for fiberglass. I have usually had to special order them. Occasionally you can find them locally in a paint store that specializes in automobile paints and auto body supplies. For a 40' boat, I would recommend that you bite the bullet and have it stripped by a pro. Any way that you DIY, it will be an awful job.
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Old 09-28-2011
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Strip the bottom at first opportunity after haulout this Fall - perhaps even haul a bit early. You will still have a few nice days to get it done. If you can afford to have it soda blasted or dry ice blasted and you can find someone to do it then go that route. Save the manual labour for the barrier coat and new paint application etc...

I stripped the bottom of a 26 foot boat one Fall in four very long days with no help. Used a paint scraper as described - the sanding is just not practical and a lot slower. Then in the Spring do the rebuild of your barrier coat any fairing and painting. VC 17 is supposed to be launched within 30 days of application so will set your schedule. If salt water consider VC Offshore. However remember that both of these bottom paints require frequent scrubbing - if not planning to do that stick with an ablative - perhaps Micron CSC or something similar.

My best advice is to do the strip first before you tackle your other winterizing projects inside and on deck. The stripping takes the most work and is what you want to do while nice weather and crew is available. Do the interior and other work later when you are solo ...

BTW - also stripped our current 27 foot boat - also with scrapers - it is not at all fun .... process can be viewed at Complete Bottom Job The boat had Micron CSC ablative paint over a barrier coat when we bought it and now has VC Offshore over Interprotect 2000 barrier coat

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Old 09-28-2011
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I have a Hunter 306. I hired out to have my bottom ground down to the gelcoat, apply 3 coats of barrier paint and two coats of ablative. Total was around $2k. Totally worth having it done professionally in my mind.
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Old 09-28-2011
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I would have it blasted. Think of the nightmare if you make the effort and still need to go there. What a waste. If the remaining ablative paint were very thin, I would suggest grinding it off, but doubt that well kept ablative is thin enough. Grinding almost assures some hull damage and requires just that many more barrier coats. You want a nice clean hull to apply a barrier and then the VC17, especially since VC17 doesn't like to stick. Great fast freshwater paint though, if done well.
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Make sure to seal up everything

Just a note here on soda blasting the bottom... After having had that done last spring I can tell you to be absolutely certain that every hatch and port is thoughly sealed off. Overseal with plastic and tape if you can. Even plug the through hulls from the outside. Check that the contractor does this properly before they start blasting if you're not doing the job yourself. The fine particulate will find its way inside the boat and make a real mess if you're not meticulous about this, and the subsequent cleanup will be hellacious. (Don't ask me how I know.) Good luck - the results are a thing of beauty.
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Old 09-28-2011
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+1 on the soda blasting. We had our 30' blasted last fall, best $1,000 I ever spent. Not having tired ourselves out with grunt work, we had plenty of time to do some very nice finishing work.
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