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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm a western Lake Erie sailer about to begin my second season with my "new" boat, a 2000 Beneteau 361. I've never applied bottom paint myself on any of my other boats (much smaller boats), and I'd like to get some paint on the bottom of my Beneteau before the boat goes into the water. The previous owner put VC17 on the boat, which is fine with me, that's what I had put on my Catalina 25's bottom.

I did a Sailnet/Google search on how exactly to apply VC17 but couldn't find anything. I've been told it's super easy, that you have to be careful with it because it evaporates crazy fast, but other than that I don't have any good information to go on. Usually Youtube is pretty good for tutorials, but I didn't find much there either.

So can anyone give me step-by-step instructions on what to do, any paint-saving tips, any lessons learned, etc... for this noob? I'd rather not pay the yard, they want $432 in labor to apply one coat (and I think I need 2 coats), which seems a bit expensive when you factor in the additional cost of the paint.

At the end of last season the bottom didn't look too bad, just a bit of slime.

Thanks so much for any help. :)
 

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I don't pretend to be an expert by any means, but I have used it 6 or 7 times.
Make sure the bottom is clean and dry, a green scrubber works well. A calm day is better than a windy day for evaporation. Use the foam roller you can get at any marine store. Mix the paint well and pour small amounts into the tray at a time to save on evaporation, keep the can covered. I have read where people have actually put paint into a ketchup/mustard squeeze bottle and squirted it onto the roller to paint. It goes on easy, use enough to coat well without running. I would think 3 cans maybe 4 for your boat. A disposable painters suit with rubber gloves are good, once it is on it is very hard to get off clothing etc. Make sure you don't paint over the depth transducer.
 

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VC17 isn't hard to work with. It's very thin but goes on smoothly. I bought a little foam roller that came with a small paint tray. I kept a little in the paint tray and rested the lid on the can to stop it from evaporating.
Rubber gloves are a good idea.
Try to do it before it gets buggy or you'll end up with flies stuck in the paint.
Clean the bottom first but don't bother sanding. I could still see the swirls from a very light sanding after 2 coats. Oops.
 

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We used 3 cans to put 2 coats on a '71 C&C35.
Being Canadian, we used a maple syrup bottle to dispense small amounts of paint onto the roller...not ketchup....LOL.

OK - so, step by step.
Prep the bottom. make sure it' very clean, and as smooth as you want the final coat to be. VC17 will cover NOTHING.

Find a VERY sheltered area. remove the lid from the VC17. put on latex gloves and goggles. open the little packet of copper dust. (ABSOLUTELY NO WIND AT THIS STEP!!)

Add copper powder to liquid. put lid back on can, and shake like hell for 3-4 minutes.

Put small funnel in mouth of syrup bottle. empty can of paint into the syrup bottle, scraping any copper goop in as well.

tape your waterline. shake paint and have the admiral start dispensing small amounts onto roller while you clamber around under the boat...
If you are a SERIOUS racer, roll the paint on horizontally to eliminate the tiny lines you get when you put it on vertically.

roll the paint on quickly, and keep moving. Do NOT try and go back to 'touch up' paint that doesn't look right...you'll make it worse. you can go back after it is fully dry...no worries.

Go 2x around the boat. touch up any areas that don't look thick enough.

remove tape right away. (use the best tape you can buy, BTW...this paint is super thin, and will wick up under normal tapes...)

1 great tip I got is to use a different color on the first coat on the boat. (ie - first coat blue, all subsequent coats red) This way, you don't ever have to guess whether or not to paint in the spring. if you can see blue, you need to add a coat. If you can't see blue, no needo!

Good luck, and don't worry about it. VC17 is about the easiest paint to work with. you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much, guys. Aelkin, excellent right up and great tips. I really appreciate it.
 

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I have been putting VC 17 on for the last 25 years. I also keep my boat on Western Lake Erie. I have brushed it, rolled it and had it professionally sprayed. Here is the routine that works well-

1. Wash existing VC-17 or barrier coated bottom with soap and water, rinse. Don't put over old soft bottom paint it likely would not be compatible.

2. Buy a West Sstems 7" epoxy foam roller (#802). This roller holds up to the solvents, not many others I have tried do.

3. Mask off hull. Pro tip- use 3M Super 33+ electrical tape to mask off area where bottom paint meets the gelcoat. It doesn't bleed through and it stretches easily to conform to the curve of the hull. Use 1" Blue masking tape to extend masked area.

4. Use 90% isopropyl alcohol as a solvent. You can cut VC-17 about 10 %. Also solvent re vitalized some of the dry VC-17 in the roller pan.

5. Make sure you only put small amounts in the the roller pan. This stuff dries really quick. The squirt bottle should make it easier.

6. A 36 footer should take 3-4 cans. I use 2 cans on my 29 footer and have enough left over to do the pad area when launched.

Pro tips- Paint within a week of launch date. You can paint within a 1/2 hour of launch, no problem. 1 coat works well. I also roll on a second coat in the waterline area and the rudder. If you are a fanatic racer you can hand rub the surface with old newspapers or a burlap bag. A week after it is in the water I don't think you can tell the difference.

Bottom line is that it easy to do. Only mess is when you open the bag of powdered copper. Any mistakes are easily cleaned off quickly with the solvent. The longest part of the job is the masking. I generally can do the whole job by myself in less than 2 hours start to finish. Another option is Petit SR-21 which is chemically the same as VC-17 and is compatible. I prefer SR-21 because it has a little better anti-slime additive package. Some West Marine Stores carry the SR-21 at a lower cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Sandusky Sailor, excellent write-up. Where do you keep your boat? I'm at Sandusky Harbor Marine.
 
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