Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bottom paint

The days are rapidly getting longer, the water is warming up, and boats are starting to get launched. Hopefully we'll have Canopus afloat within a week or two... but there's still so much to do, to get her ready.

The most important jobs to complete are those below the waterline. Of these, the most common is the bottom paint. This is a layer of antifouling agent that inhibits the growth of algae and slime on the bottom of boat, while she's in the water all season. That growth can significantly slow your performance in the water - so you need to prevent it.

We use VC17 on Canopus - that does a great job, and it's easy to maintain. However, it does need to be reapplied every year. There's very little prep work necessary, a pressure wash of the hull at the end of the previous season is almost enough.

The VC17 itself is actually provided as just a packet of powder (some interesting combination of copper and teflon). The paint can that it comes with contains the application agent - basically a liquid that's used to paint the hull. You mix the powder in, and then paint quickly as the liquid starts to evaporate right away. If you do it right -and work fast enough- you end up with the powder evenly distributed over the hull. Voila, a bottom coat. VC17 starts as a rich copper colour, but once in the water it turns to a dark grey.

We also like to wax the hull above the waterline, before she gets launched. This is not as much for functional reasons, it's mostly aesthetic... but good looks count for something.

There's lots else to prepare Canopus for the season, but if necessary almost everything else can be done once she's in the water. It's a nice sunny day today, so I'm going to work on some of the remaining jobs - I'll update the blog tonight with what got done.


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