Friday, May 16, 2014

Hydrocoat Reevaluation and Bottom Paint Renewal

I am convinced that sailors are curious.  The most curious make investigations and share the results with the rest of us.   Rick over on s/v Cay of Sea is one such - he is trying the newly offered water-based bottom paint Hydrocoat.  Here's his report of the current status...
I’m back.  It’s been a long, cold winter here in the moderate climate mid-Atlantic region, and the weather has not been cooperative except for one or two isolated days.  We finally got a break today, so I took advantage of the clear skies and moderate temps.

Back in December I reported glowingly about Hydrocoat.  I am still impressed with it, but have moderated my praise slightly.  I prepped the boat for paint today and got to take a good look at existing paint.  It was in good shape, for the most part.  There were a few chips here and there where my preparation must have been less than good, but it was mostly intact.  However, the power-washer guy had originally told me there were two barnacles when he washed it.  He was obviously exaggerating, as there were certainly more than two.  But there weren’t many.  Small clusters port and starboard at the bow, and on the leading edge of the rudder.  While the barnacles were long gone from power washing, you could see where they had adhered.  So the paint’s pretty good – two years of service with little hard growth.

I decided to repaint the hull and not try for three seasons, as I didn’t want to chance having the paint completely fail mid-season and leave me having to scrape the hull often to finish out the year.

Port side bow.  See where the barnacles were clustered?
Port side bow. See where the barnacles were clustered?

I gave the hull a quick sanding, and I’m glad I did.  This really smoothed the hull again, and I discovered that the existing paint coating isn’t very thick.  It was fairly easy to sand right through to the old epoxy paint, which looks to be one of the original layers of paint laid down those many years ago.  Thin coating is good, as this is an ablative paint, and I don’t want it to build up like it had before I stripped it all off three years ago.

Sanding  done.
Sanding done.

The sanding took about an hour.  I was able to remove all of the water marking at the water line, all the collected dried scum where the travel lift straps were, smooth out all the paint and start with a fresh slate.  I used my 5 inch random orbital sander connected to the shop vac, wore my respirator. Wish I had a photo of the funny lines on my face from the respirator.

Then I wiped down the hull with water and a sponge, taped the water line, and started to paint. Painting took longer than I expected for some reason.  Amazingly, I used less than a gallon of paint.  I guess the paint goes quite a bit farther with a smooth hull.  There was about a pint of paint left for painting the keel bottom and under the jack stand pads.

Cleaned up the prop, and repainted.  Hydrocoat seems to work well here.
Cleaned up the prop, and repainted. Hydrocoat seems to work well here.

Sanded and ready for fresh paint.
Sanded and ready for fresh paint.

Fresh coat.  Another two years worth.
Fresh coat. Another two years worth.

Stern view - prop recoated.
Stern view – prop recoated.

Another nice thing about Hydrocoat:  When you get home, it washed right off with soap and water. Got it in your hair? Two good shampooings and it’s gone. Try that with solvent-based paint!

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