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  #1  
Old 03-01-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

I am going to purchase a 26'' boat that has ablaitive on the bottom. I plan to both race and daysail the boat. Since the boat already has ablaitive, and I don''t have the time or money this spring to strip and repaint with a hard paint, can I sand the ablaitive or is it too soft? I was going to not worry about it this year, and in the fall start preping the bottom for next year, but a racer in my club said that would be a mistake. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 03-01-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

You don''t say why your racing friend recommended against it. I can only tell you my experience. When ablatives first became popular and I didn''t have time to race-prep my boat properly one spring, I lightly sanded the ablative paint, just enough to get rid of any remaining dirt and algae. As long as I regularly wiped it clean each week, it was fast enough to be reasonably competitive. (Keep in mind, however, that I have never allowed my bottom paint to peel badly. Even when the paint has gotten thin, it was still smooth.) Obviously, I couldn''t usually beat the fastest boats that were properly prepped, but my boat was competitive enough to mix it up with them and to have fun. If you sand it lightly and also put a single coat of fresh paint on it before you launch, that one coat will be enough to last until the fall, when you plan to do a better job of it. It will be a lot faster with a good racing paint.
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Old 03-01-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

We race with an ablative bottom & simply wipe it clean beforehand on our J/36 For an example of results, we raced against a Tripp 41 with a hard bottom (VC17?) in an overnight race of about 120 miles and corrected out about two minutes behind them. Maybe it was the paint, but I think we lost by the two minutes because we had a jib change at about 0230 that took eight minutes instead of two. A smoother bottom might be faster, but by how much? It would cost a lot more in time & prep and still need wiping before each race. Crew work will have a much bigger effect on results. Lots of guys want to know they''re right (me too!!) loudly proclaiming their "way" is the best, and psyching out their competition by having pieces of 1000 grit sandpaper littered around their boat. If I''d spent 40 boat units (or whatever) on a bottom paint job, I''d certainly want to think it was the right thing to do and try to convince others to think likewise. But what if a new suit of sails would do more good? We''ve kept our ablative bottom, and don''t sand it, either.
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Old 03-01-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

If you''re "new" to this 26'' boat, I''d spend the first season on team building skills, instead of worring about bottom paint. You may need a new racing main or head sail, updated rigging & equipment, etc. When you get the boat & crew dialed in, you can invest in new bottom paint.
In my experience, races are won by the crew, not the boat.
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Old 03-04-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

Everyone has an opinion about what it takes to win races. Some people say it isnít the boat that wins races, itís the crew. Others say bottom paint isnít important. Others say sails arenít all that important. The truth is that racing is a composite of all those factors, and more, and if you want to do your best, you have to do all those things well.

North U. describes a racing pyramid, in which Boat Preparation is the foundation of the pyramid, and the first step in racing success. The boat should be properly equipped with good sails and hardware, and with control lines rigged and located so that the sails can be raised, lowered and trimmed quickly and easily. The underwater surfaces should be clean, fair, and covered with a good racing paint. The next level of the pyramid is Boat Handling. You can''t win races if you can''t tack and jibe the boat smoothly, round marks efficiently and raise and lower your sails and keep them drawing. The third level is Boat Speed. Good boat speed is the result of a properly prepared boat, good sail trim, and good helmsmanship, among other things. You canít win consistently with a slow boat. The top level is Tactics, which can help you edge out your closest competitors. The cerebral aspect of racing is most evident in your tactical decisions. This is where you decide how to start the race, which side of the course is favored, how to find the best winds, when to tack, how to handle close cross-tacks and mark roundings, etc.

If you want to improve your racing results, you should analyze your performance in these areas, and determine where you can improve. Crew work, bottom paint and good sails are all important aspects of the Racing Pyramid. However, most club racers donít do all these things perfectly, and consequently, you donít have to be perfect in order to beat them. Iíve used soft finish, general purpose bottom paints, and hard finish racing paints, and the latter are unquestionably faster, although you can win without racing paint.. Iíve raced with old and new sails, as well as cheap and high quality sails. New and high quality definitely trump old and cheap, but you can win races with old and cheap sails. Personally, if forced to make a choice between new sails and a smooth, clean racing paint, Iíll take the bottom paint, unless the sails are pretty horrendous. Old sails will hurt you the most on the beat to windward. They will still drive the boat fairly well on reaches and runs. But a foul bottom hurts you all the way around the course. If you are handicapped by having old sails or soft finish paint, it will slow your progress around the race course, but you can still win if you can make up for that lost time with better boat handling, boat speed and tactics.

I agree with e-27 sailor. Spend this season building crew skill, improving the functionality of hardware, and learning how the boat likes to be sailed. Then refinish the bottom in the Fall, and make a serious effort the next season with a thoroughly prepped boat and crew.
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Old 03-04-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

I use an ablative (KL990) over an old hard finish (VC17 I think). The ablative basically comes off with scrubbing and a hose each spring (pressure washer helps). I remove most of the old ablative so there is no build up and try each year to get rid of some more of the old hard paint.

The old paint is what peels and flakes so that is what gets sanded each spring. Since using the ablative I have had no buildup of bottom paint and since the others at my club use the same paint it does not affect the standings in our club races.

Mike
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Old 03-04-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

You''re right about KL990, Mike. I used it 20+ years ago, and had forgotten about it. It was the only ablative that I knew of that was very fast. At that time, it was graphite-based, and it had a surface that was almost silky. It was so soft that you certainly couldn''t sand it very much.
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Old 03-16-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

Sailormon,

KL990 Komposite has sadly been discontinued by Interlux. Any ideas what is similar in its ease of use, effectiveness as AF and still not overly slow?

Mike
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Old 03-16-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

Last year I completely stripped my bottom paint and used Tri Lux 33 with Biolux. It''s fast and the Biolux does the best job of resisting algae of anything I''ve ever used. If I didn''t wipe the bottom down before a race, it was still very competitive. It''s a little expensive (but what bottom paint isn''t?). Because last year was the first time I used it, I can''t say for sure whether it is as fast as VC17, but it''s very fast. I don''t know of any current bottom paint that is any faster than VC17, and I''m told it also has Biolux or some similar biocide in it, if algae is a particular problem in your area.
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Old 08-14-2004
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Can you sand ablaitive for racing

keep the existing paint, rub the belly before every race(scotch pad preferably) then when a slow season arrives, haul it, sand it (lightly) apply fresh coat of micron then resume racing. Some serious racers have their paint shot on the belly (sprayed) others roll it then wet sand for smoother finish. Stay away from hard paint if u move your boat often!
David
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