For the last 9 days, we have been at the boat every day. In addition to working through our regular commissioning list, we are completing a HUGE boat project - we are changing the antifouling paint on the bottom of our boat.
When we bought Wild Horses back in 2015, she came adorned with an antifouling paint (Interlux VC-17) that is commonly used on freshwater boats. It does its job and lasts really well in the fresh waters of the great lakes for the 5 months she is sailed every year. We find that we can add a new coat of VC-17 every 4-5 years with no issues. BUT, this will not be the case when we take her to the Caribbean. The salt water will wear off the VC-17 in a few months if not weeks. Yikes!
Knowing this, we decided to switch her antifouling paint to one which is rated well for saltwater (Interlux Micron CSC). This paint is long-lasting, requiring us to re-paint only every 2-3 years even though she will be in saltwater 12 months of the year.
The kicker? You can’t simply paint Micron CSC over VC-17. Ugh. This means removing every little bit of VC-17 from the hull of the boat. The double kicker? Although we have only applied VC-17 to her hull once in the 5 years we have owned Wild Horses, the two previous owners applied VC-17 every year. Wild Horses is a 2002 boat. There are many, many layers of VC-17 on her hull. Many…many…layers…
Hence, our HUGE project of removing the VC-17 was born. Plan A was to hire a sandblaster to remove the VC-17 but the cost of the service and the inflexibility of their schedule made us look to other options.
Plan B was to sand the VC-17 off ourselves. We made our first go at this last fall, after the boat was hauled out of the water for the winter. Our test sanding was not successful. Yes, the VC-17 was removed but it took 2 hours to do a 2 square foot section. This is an unimaginable pace and effort for a 47 foot boat (Wild Horses bottom is 440 square feet). Plan C? Using paint stripper to take off as many layers as possible in the fall and then finishing things off with the sander in the spring. So, after 4 weekends of applying and removing paint stripper last fall, we felt we had removed enough layers of the VC-17 to make our spring sanding job fairly easy.
Well, spring has arrived and that means sanding had to start! We didn’t waste any time – the sander was put to work on the first day we were allowed at the boat. Thankfully, we were given the gift of perfect weather over the last week so each day we sanded the boat bottom. And each day we returned home dusty, sore and bone-tired. But success! After 8 days and 22 hours of sanding, all the VC-17 has been removed. We have a perfect, beautiful canvas to apply our new saltwater-friendly antifouling paint. This is one boat project we are thrilled to have in our rear-view mirror!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.