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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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You can remove old bottom paint, but I am not sure that I would ever classify it as easy. Depending on the type of bottom paint you have two choices. If the bottom paint is of teh "soft" type or is a harder bottom paint like ''Vinylast''that has some age on it, then the fastest way to remove it is with a hook scraper. I have removed all of the bottom paint on a 22 footer in a little over a day.
The key here is to get a hook scraper with a good handle and a smooth edge (rather than serated) and keep the blade sharp (carry a metal file in your back pocket and stop and sharpen when ever you feel like you are working too hard). Wear eye protection, a good quality repirator (face mask with filters not the surgical masks that are out there)and a tyvek suit.

I would do a test area first to see if the scraper will work. Hold the blade flat against the hull and be careful not to scrape into the gelcoat. I would then sand the bottom starting with a 220 grit to get off any residue. From there I would go with progressively finer wet and dry sandpapers until the hull is clean enough to use rubbing compound and wax. Do not use a silicone wax as they make repainting next to imposible. If you do nick the gelcoat deeply, then you are stuck sanding the bottom with a coarser paper and applying an epoxy or vinylester barrier coat.

Plan ''B'' consists of using a chemical stripper. There are specially made chemical strippers that have a special paper that traps the chemical and holds it against the hull. While these are more expensove, smellier and less palatable to use, they are more environmentally friendly and do a very good job. You need to follow the directions explicitly and then use wet and dry sandpapers and compound like above.

Good luck
Jeff
 

· Super Moderator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Used perperly with the blade perpendicular to the hull the scraper should not damage the gelcoat which is mmuch harder than the bottom paint that you are removing. That said the chemical stripper while a lttle more difficult still works quite well.

Without seeing the boat it is hard to answer the question about the gelcoat condition. There are a number of ways that bottom paint can be applied. Traditionally,the bottom is preped by being washed with a solvent to remove any wax reside and then sanded with a moderately fine paper (180 or so). There are also "liquid sandpapers" which are a brush on surface prep. (Not my idea of a first class job) In that case the gelcoat might not have been sanded. Either way, adding new gelcoat is not a job for an amatuer. There are barrier coats that are made for coating bottoms and protecting them from blisters and the like but these are not visually attractive.

I sort of like the idea of stripping the existing bottom paint and applying a hard bottom paint designed for in and out use. You should be able to get attractive colors and a slick enough finish to not hurt performance too badly. That way if you leave the boat in the water for a little while you won''y have fouling problems as well.

Good luck
Jeff
 

· Super Moderator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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In as much as bottom paint is quite toxic, you would probably be better off doing it outside. Also it is not a good idea to let the residue soak into the ground. I would use a drop cloth to catch and contain the droppings. If you choose to grind or scrape it off where a high quality repirator. If you use chemical removers make sure to protect your skin. No matter which method you use, with all due respect to Mike, the job will take a lot longer than two hours. Then again the hardest part might be emptying your garage.

Good luck
Jeff
 
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