When Summer Dance got beat up in a freak storm back in 2014, the damage was mainly in two areas. The worst damage was the deck rim and the rubrail, for which I described the repairs in Storm damage repairs. The collateral damage 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 of paint. In other areas, it was knocked off completely down to the fiberglass. It all needed fixed, so it was included in the insurance claim that I submitted. Our insurance company promptly paid the claim so that meant that I wouldn’t have to do all the work!
I took Summer Dance to Rod Tomsha of Custom Fiberglass, who recommended a complete refurbishing of the bottom paint. They would first remove all the old bottom paint down to the gelcoat. Then they would apply a barrier coat 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 coat 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 full days of power sanding starting with 40 grit and 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 gelcoat. These were all sanded smooth before the barrier coat was applied.
The easy part
After they had the hard work of sanding the hull 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 and requires almost no drying time between coats.
The VC 17m stays a bronze color until it has been immersed in water for several weeks and turns blue. When fresh, it looks like a new penny and coordinated well with the dark brown cove stripe and boot stripe.
However, I chose blue because I later painted the cove and boot stripes dark blue. The makeover transformed 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 in the shop. Even before the damage occurred, I foresaw needing to do this job myself over the winter together along with refinishing the keel. Thankfully, I only had to refinish the keel at my cost, which presented its own challenges.
As of the last time that I updated this article, it has been four years since the bottom paint job. The VC 17m is wearing a little thin at the edges due to me scrubbing the waterline several times per year to remove tannin stains but it’s still in good shape elsewhere and doesn’t show any signs of needing to be repainted yet. Performance-wise, I didn’t notice any increase in top speed but I did notice a difference at low speed. Summer Dance moves easier and faster in light breezes than before, which is helpful for both cruising and for racing. I’m very satisfied with the results and I’d do it again.
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