Sunday, September 11, 2016

On the Hard Again (Part I)

Its been two and a half years since the last haul out and hull paint. So we find ourselves again on the hard at the Berkerley Marine Center for some long overdue maintenance. The bottom paint has completely given up the ghost (see below) and I have had persistant problems with the Brightside paint chipping off the topsides that I am going to fix once and for all!

Interlux NT after 2.5 years.

First the bottom paint. The current worn-out paint is Interlux Bottomkote NT. This is good stuff - the three coats that I put on lasted 2 years without hard growth! It is also one of the cheapest bottom paints. If you like soft antifouling paint, this paint works.

But - even though it works for stopping fouling, I am done with soft paints! It gets on everything - front net, hull, decks all covered with streaks of blue from contacting the soft paint via the anchor rode. Notice how in the picture above, the paint is completely gone on the waterline, but is still thick below it. This is because I have had to clean the waterline more often and have wiped the paint off faster - clouds of blue antifouling in the water and all over me. For a Wharram, which requires constant cleaning to maintain sailing performance, this is the opposite of what we need. So, IMHO Wharrams may be better off with hard bottom paint and I'm going to try Bottomkote Aqua this time around - it is a mid-priced high-copper hard paint and washes up in water.

Scrape, sand, sand, sand
I had to use a scraper to remove all of the barnacles. Here in Berkerley, the environmental requirements are very strict, so had to catch everything in a tarp and then vacuum the ground after work every day. Also, no running water can be used which makes clean up extra hard work.

OK, onto the topsides. You can see flaking of the Interlux Brightside topcoat where I am sanding it (above). Last time, I prepped the surface and painted straight over the epoxy with Brightside topcoat as recommended in the Gougeon Bible. It has flaked in exactly the same place as it did under the previous topcoat - my theory is that the Original Builder was in a hurry (completely understandable) and did not do a great job of washing down the epoxy prior to the first top coat. This would have left wax blush under the paint, causing it to slowly fail - and it is still there. Last time I may have just sanded it further into the epoxy.

Progress. First coat of primer

So this time I am doing it by the (Interlux) book - wash first, sand smooth, first coat of Interlux Pre-Koat primer, sand, second coat of primer, sand, then first coat of Brightside topcoat, sand, second coat of Brightside top coat. Lots of work, but I'll be done with paint flakes, for good.

Sanding the SS fittings

Another issue has been rust streaks from the stainless hardware on the lashing pads, and from the rudder hinges. I am using West Gflex to fix this - the instructions are to take the fittings down to bright metal, and then scour the epoxy in using a wire brush.

Once the epoxy has cured, it is also over-coated with two coats of primer before the top coats. Fittings under the waterline (bottom rudder hinges) instead get two coats of epoxy and then the antifouling.

The hulls are in amazing condition given that they have been in the water for more than 5 years and sit on the mud between every tide. I found a couple of minor dings above the waterline that I repaired with epoxy filler, and a small crack along the web of the center floor section that was fixed with fiberglass tape. More in the next episode....

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