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Old 04-25-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 51

Confession: it's been five years since I hauled out and applied Micron 66 to my bottom! Not proud of this negligence, but situation being as it is, almost all capitol intensive maintenance has been put on hold as I try to deal with being broke and in debt and attempting to work my way out of this.

So, on to the subject of keeping the bottom clean. When I have an aging application of antifouling paint beginning to allow growth I try to delay scraping as it inevitably removes some paint with the growth promoting more growth - a downward spiral. If I am sailing, I want a clean bottom to get good performance. So after about two years with an application of antifouling, I will scrape about once a month. If I am sitting in one spot trying to earn $ for a new bottom job, among other things, I scrape less often but keep the prop, shaft and rudder reasonably clean so I can move if need be.

About a month ago, I scraped about half the hull and removed about a two inch thick growth of mossy grass with a bit of sponge (?) attached by little calcified wormy traces, but very few barnacles. I have been meaning to get around to the other half but as summer approaches, I know that the barnacles will grow profusely and If there is already this "meadow" on the hull, I think that the barnacles may not easily attach. Once the barnacles grow, they are very difficult to remove and leave little circles of cement in thier places, whereas the grass is much easier to remove.

I am tempted to leave things alone and not trim the beard. I am anchored off the Intracoastal in South Florida. Any thoughts?

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Old 04-26-2009, 01:43 AM   #2
redbopeep's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

Sorry to hear about your being broke and in debt. Hopefully that will improve. Living on a boat is seldom as cheap as living in an apartment--even when living in a free anchorage--simply because the overall maintenance expenses aren't small on a boat. If it is your home, haul it out and deal with the bottom paint and check your thru-hulls while you're at it. If you're anchored in Florida, living aboard, surely you can pull together the money (that you'd otherwise be spending on renting an apartment) to deal with this important maintenance. Hauling out and doing the bottom paint are actually on the cheap side and non-time consuming part of all the maintenance you'll be doing to properly maintain your boat.

If you're not living aboard and just can't get the money together and this is a GRP hull, then...scrape it, yes!

Get it clean as you can. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Be gentle but get all that stuff off there! Then get in the water as often as needed to wipe ALL of the hull down with carpet (or a mild scotchbrite) to keep things off of it. If you're in a dirty water environment with lots of growth, that will very likely be every 10 days for the entire hull but may be more frequently like every 5 days to a week for the waterline alone and it may take you an hour or two each time you clean the entire hull if you do a good job; just remember that if you don't have the money to do your bottom paint, this is a valid way to keep your boat usable and free of growth until you get the money together. Comfort yourself with the fact that even though they do have the money, there are racers who don't use bottom paint and instead clean the bottom every week with carpet. Albeit, they have pretty slick bottom paint which you don't have right now.

When we had someone else cleaning the bottom of our 30' fiberglass boat (it had bottom paint), they would wipe it clean 2x/month in the summer/warm season and 1x/month in the winter/cold water season here in San Diego. The water is cold here but many little creatures happily grow quite quickly on your boat if you don't keep it clean. When we moved the boat to a mooring, we did the cleaning ourselves on the same schedule as the hired diver. We owned it for two years and we were cleaning the bottom ourselves for 1-1/2 of those years. We now have a 54' boat with non-ablative bottom paint (just relaunched two weeks ago) and expect to keep the bottom of it clean on a similar schedule of cleaning. It is a time consuming thing if you want it to stay clean.

Good luck on getting the bottom of your boat clean and keeping it that way
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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