How about "If you want to properly maintain a boat you must learn something new everyday"...I think that is my version for it as it seems like I'm constantly searching for information on how to do something the right way on this boat. How to properly wire a windlass, how to install a Plexiglass port light, how to build a hardtop bimini...it is a never ending list.
The past couple days I've been researching and soliciting opinions on what I need to do in order to strip all the bottom paint off the boat and start over. The theory behind ablative or self-polishing paints is that they slowly wear off, keeping their anti-fouling properties going until the paint is gone. Of course, they don't wear evenly and you don't want to wait until all the paint is gone before applying new paint, so the result is that over the years layers build up. Eventually, or so I'm told anyway, the thickness of the layers and age of the older paints result in increasingly larger chips of paint coming off. Thus the need to remove the paint.
|What happens when bottom paint fails|
(from a previous boat we surveyed, not ours now)
Then the question is what to apply to the boat. While Leopards don't typically have much problem with blistering, application of a barrier coat seems to be the recommended way to go. A proper barrier coat seals the hull and prevents water intrusion...as long as the hull is dry (don't want to seal in water). Apparently cured barrier coats are, ironically, not the best surface to which to apply anti-fouling paint. So the first layer of anti-fouling paint needs to be applied before the barrier coat is cured. Of course, what anti-fouling paint to use is also a question. Some paints are better than others, and their effectiveness seems to vary depending on where you are. Some have suggested paints such as Jotun SeaQuantum Static that are used on commercial ships. We still haven't decided on what paint to use but hope to find a reasonable balance between cost and performance.
That is my recent education. Of course, I also need to apply something I've learned from previous experiences with boatyards. I wrote a letter to the yard where I would like to have the work done, explaining in detail what I expect in the business relationship. I explained how I expect to come up with a detailed estimate before I leave the boat in their care. I continue on to explain that I understand that unforeseen complications can arise, but I expect to be consulted if costs are going to exceed the estimate by more than a small percentage.
I hope that this is the yard's standard operating procedure, as it should be and is the standard in most industries. Unfortunately, my experience with boatyards seems to indicate that this is somewhat foreign and running up a bill of twice the estimate without any consultation seems normal. I feel bad, and even apologized several times, that I had to write out basic business expectations. If I ran a business, I'm not sure how I would feel if a customer was trying to tell me how I already know I should run my business...but again, my history in dealing with yards seems to indicate that this process is a rather foreign concept. So I felt I had to set expectations and make sure we are all on the same page.
Hopefully I've learned enough to do a good job in my choices on our anti-fouling bottom job and to ensure the boatyard we choose does a good job for me.