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Replacing antifouling with elbow grease

ImageDiscuss boat maintenance and repair issues here.

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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:58 pm
Your Vessel Info: 1974 42' traditional junk-rigged scow. Built by a local shipwright to be his home. He lived aboard for 30 years. Now I am restoring the boat while living aboard with my spouse and dog.

Replacing antifouling with elbow grease

Postby StrangeJunk » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:48 pm

Hi all, this is my first post, aside from the introduction. I did a search and came up empty so I thought I'd put my question to a panel of liveaboard experts.

Can I skip renewing my antifoul bottom paint if I dive down and scrape the bottom regularly?

The details: Hull Material: fiberglass wrapped wooden flat-bottomed hull (plywood bottom, pine planked sides)
Use: salt-water liveaboard at mooring, dockside during Cape Cod winter. Occasional daysails or overnights in summer. Never over 5kts.
Condition: The current bottom paint is 3 years old, totally exhausted, yet I've had little trouble scraping the hull clean often enough to prevent much growth. Or at least as much as is acceptable for my use of the boat. There is hard bottom paint beneath the antifoul. So what am I missing? Will Teredo worms eat through the fiberglass into the wood if I dont keep up the antifoul? I am totally fine with having to dive on my hull everytime I want to take the boat out.


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Re: Replacing antifouling with elbow grease

Postby tex » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:32 pm

Sorry if you don't see a bombardment of of opinions here, but I think most of us are preoccupied with the approach of Irma. Yours is a rather unique situation both with materials and application. It seems to me that if you can manage to keep the area clean without scraping off valuable layers of glass, you could probably do this for a while. Eventually the glass will lose its smooth surface and marine growth will find more to grab on to. I don't know anyone else keeping their bottom clean this way, but if you do decide to continue with this process, your results would be of interest to many of us.
Fixing, spending, and occasional cruising in FL
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Re: Replacing antifouling with elbow grease

Postby scallywag » Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:24 pm

My bottom paint has been on for years. I do have growth around the water line and the propeller. I row around the waterline and scrape with an edger. I beach the stern to scrape the propeller. I have to scrape the prop more than the water line. I had a diver clean the bottom for about a year. All is well. I do not remember what bottom paint they applied at the yard about 6 years ago.
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Re: Replacing antifouling with elbow grease

Postby Jaxfishgyd » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:14 pm

Bottom paint also helps prevents blisters from forming ..... Here in N.Fla we need divers to clean the hull on a monthly basis..... NO WAY am I jumping into this murky water!!
Capt Charlie Freeman
43' Hatteras CPMY
M/V "No Dial Tone"
Fernandina Beach, Fl
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Re: Replacing antifouling with elbow grease

Postby CaptForce » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:19 am

It seems as though the former owner did well for thirty years aboard. Do you know his schedule of bottom maintenance? It could be a good choice to follow the practice that has served the vessel well in the past. I extended the life of my bottom paint for up to four years by cleaning regularly, but I never scoured the bare fiberglass or even took the surface down to the exposed barrier coat. Working beyond the surface of the paint can result in absorption of water into the polymer layers of the fiberglass and encourage rot in your encapsulated wood.
.....'but then the choice all depends upon whether your boat is a "consumable" that may not be expected to last another thirty years.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew

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