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  #1  
Old 12-04-2006
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What is the deal...

What is the deal with bottom paint? All of them can't be the best, all at the same time, in every sort of water, on every type of boat. Or can they?

I've just bought a fiberglass Catalina 22 which has spent it's life in fresh water. According to the previous owner, the last time the bottom was painted is unknown, therefore, it's time to paint the bottom. Which type, what sort, what kind of bottom paint should I be looking at? I'm a bit overwhelmed with all that's available out there, but I don't really know which ones I should consider and which ones are not suitable.

Also, does it have to be sprayed on or can it be brushed/rolled on?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm new to this and I want to learn as much as I can.

Canoeman256
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Old 12-04-2006
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There are many choices, depending upon your particular situation. I would recommend that you start by doing some research into the different bottom paint manufacturer's websites and then streamline your specific questions here. With the past four boats, my preferences and favorable experiences were with Interlux.

http://www.yachtpaint.com/usa/

Welcome to the world of boat courtship and best wishes for a long and successful romance.
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Old 12-04-2006
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With bottom paints nowadays, it is possible to get a very smooth bottom by simply rolling. We use VC-17. (Freshwater/Great Lakes Region)
Very easy to use and reapply.
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Old 12-04-2006
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I agree. VC-17 is the easiest to apply and maintain of the paints I've used. In lake Mich. I get two years out of a coat. Its wise to apply a bearier coat before painting.
Capt. Stu C-30
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Old 12-04-2006
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canoeman,
You mentioned the boat was only used in fresh water by the previous owner(s), but did not specify where you will keep her. If sailed in a high fouling salt water environment, I recommend an ablative . . . avoiding the grueling, annual paint removal ritual.

I've had great results from Interlux Micron Extra with Biolux. As with all bottom paints, the performance success can only be as good as the level of preparation exercised, so follow product recommendations very carefully.
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Old 12-04-2006
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Thanks for the info

I appreciate the input. I forgot to mention that I'll be freshwater sailing as well. The previous owner had the boat for 3 years and didn't bottom coat it and didn't know when it had been done prior to that.

I like the idea of rolling on the paint, but I'll have to do some more studying. I didn't think about any coating under the bottom paint. I guess that before I start sanding i'd better do some more reading, huh?
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Old 12-04-2006
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A previous post mentions www.yachtpaint.com that has a boat painting guide you can down load. Much of the information is about their line of paints, but I think it is a good place to start reading. I have also seen hardcopy at WestMarine.

BTW, our boat is in freshwater, and we also use VC-17.
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Old 12-04-2006
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I've always sailed fresh water lakes and have been very pleased with VC17. I've sanded the boats down to bare gel and applied VC Tar as a barrier coat and then applied the VC 17. I've sprayed and rolled it on. Both applications look great and have very little algea/scum after a summer in the water. What is on it, comes off with a pressure washer in very little time. If needed in the spring, scuff the bottom with a scotch-brite pad and roll another coat on. Quick, easy and pricey.
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Old 12-04-2006
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Canoeman, I wish you had asked a SIMPLE and NON-CONTROVERSIAL question like "Which is the real god?"

Everything else aside, the question of which bottom paint is best is going to depend on:
-What grows in your local water
-What the chemistry of your local water is
(Salty? Acidic? Basic? Lots of runoff?)
-How you use your boat (out often? Slowly? At speed?)
-How fast, or is there, local current or tidal action?

And if you get a chance to play with those variables in a lab, I'm sure you could determine "the best" single paint for any one set of conditions. The problem is, the real world tends to differ from the lab. The best advice that I can think of, is to start by finding local sailors, who are in your waters, who have spent years trying different bottom paints in them. Start with what they've found works, then experiment once you have a baseline to compare with--if it isn't working well enough for you.
Spraying or rolling and tipping will give you a faster smoother bottom if you are racing. But, if you just want to sail, you can roll most of it on and that will work well enough. Anything else means twice the labor (or hands) plus some learning curve. By all means, try for the smoother bottom IF you don't mind investing that time.
If you don't know what the old bottom paint is, there are limits on what "might" stick on top of it. You may prefer to strip all the old paint off first, so you're starting with a "known good" clean start, and many years less paint to drag around. New boat, new start on the bottom paint. Why not.
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Old 12-04-2006
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Do you intend to trailer the boat or keep it in a slip? If trailering each time you use it, then you're essentially dry-sailing the boat and would not need to paint the bottom at all, regardless of what type of water. That's what the J racers do here in Annapolis.
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