When Summer Dance got beat up in a freak storm this summer, the damage was mainly in two areas. The first area was the deck rim and the rubrail, for which I described the repairs in Storm damage repairs. The second area was the bottom paint, which also got hammered as you can see in the following picture. In some areas, the top layer of paint was knocked off and exposed an underlying layer. In other areas, it was knocked off completely down to the fiberglass. Whether it was knocked off directly by the impact of the waves or because of the hull flexing and vibrating from getting repeatedly hit broadside by waves and slammed against the dock, I don’t know. It needed fixed all the same, so it was included in the insurance claim.
The Band-Aid solution would have been to scrape off any remaining loose paint, sand the affected areas smooth, and then recover them with the same kind of high-build, anti-fouling paint. That would probably amount to 25% to 50% of the hull and create a patchwork, uneven, and suspicious coating.
The better solution that Rod Tomsha of Custom Fiberglass recommended and the one that I opted for, was a complete refurbishing. He recommended that they first remove all the old bottom paint down to the gelcoat. They would then apply a barrier layer of Interlux Interprotect 2000E two-part epoxy primer to seal the hull below the waterline from absorbing moisture and blistering. They would top that off with a new coating of Interlux VC 17m Extra with Biolux, a thin, smooth, hard film, anti-fouling paint.
The hard part
Getting the layers of old bottom paint off wasn’t easy. It took two men two days of power sanding starting with 40 grit working up to 320 grit as recommended by Interlux. The paint came off in a fine powder, so full coveralls, eye protection, a respirator, and good ventilation were a must.
Along the way, they discovered places where blistering had begun in the old bottom paint. These were all sanded smooth before the barrier coat was applied.
The easy part
After they had the hard work of sanding the hull clean done, applying the new bottom coatings was relatively easy. First on was four coats of gray Interlux Interprotect 2000e epoxy primer. After mixing the catalyst into the paint, they rolled it on with a short knap roller after waiting for the previous coat to dry.
About an hour after the last coat of primer, they started applying the blue Interlux VC 17m Extra with Biolux. After mixing in the powdered copper that comes with each can, it turns a bronze color.
They rolled on two coats of VC 17m, the recommended starting layer for fresh water, which dries very quickly, requiring almost no drying time between coats.
The VC 17m will stay the bronze color for several weeks of immersion in water before it turns blue, apparently after some of the copper has washed off. We’ll see. I’ll post a picture here after it happens. For now it looks like a new penny, which coordinates well with the dark brown cove stripe and boot stripe.
However, I’m going to paint the stripes dark blue, partly because the new gelcoat over the fiberglass repair covered some of the cove stripe but mostly because I want to transform Summer Dance from 80’s brown to classic blue. I had already replaced the brown, tan, and gold cushion covers with blue Sunbrella and made a matching mainsail cover, foredeck bag, engine cover, and bimini.
This bottom paint job was the silver lining in the storm clouds that landed Summer Dance on the hard. Even before the damage occurred, I foresaw needing to do this job myself over this winter together with refinishing the keel. Now I only have to refinish the keel at my cost, which will present its own challenges, I’m sure. For now, it looks pretty pathetic next to the shiny new bottom. Stay tuned!
The Bottom Line
Suggested price: $2283.51
$tingy Sailor cost: $0
What’s been your experience with VC 17m?