An­tifoul to take the trailer-sailer knocks

Practical Boat Owner - - Blank Ask The Experts -

Q i’ve re­cently in­her­ited an edel 4. she is a 7m (23ft) trailer-sailer with a stub keel and cen­tre­plate. i have searched the in­ter­net far and wide for in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing an­tifoul­ing, but have found lit­tle if any re­gard­ing what i should do for a trailer-sailer.

if you could ad­vise me on what an­tifoul­ing i should use for the hull and cen­tre­plate, i’d be very grate­ful. the cen­tre­plate will only be treated once in a blue moon and is un­likely to be reg­u­larly rinsed with fresh wa­ter due to be­ing en­closed when out of the wa­ter.

this year i’ll be aim­ing to stick to the cheap­est op­tion as our bud­get has been de­pleted by hav­ing a trailer man­u­fac­tured for the boat – but when funds next al­low, i’ll do a bet­ter job. Jake Holden Ed­in­burgh

COLIN HAINES REPLIES:

If your boat is go­ing to spend most of its time liv­ing on a trailer, you might ques­tion whether it’s worth ap­ply­ing any an­tifoul­ing paint to the hull. There are sev­eral rea­sons why you might, of course, the most ob­vi­ous be­ing that you don’t want any foul­ing to grow on the hull while you are us­ing the boat.

There are two types of foul­ing to worry about, the first be­ing weed. Weed only grows slowly in wa­ters within a day’s trail­ing of Ed­in­burgh, and if you have a two-week cruise, that which does grow on a poorly an­tifouled hull can still be washed off fairly eas­ily when you get home.

If you tow your boat to some­where like La Rochelle, where the sea wa­ter is around 20°C in Au­gust, a cou­ple of inches of weed can grow on un­pro­tected sur­faces in eight days, and re­quire a lot of el­bow grease to get rid of (a painful les­son I learned on a warm sum­mer’s af­ter­noon, spend­ing ages kneel­ing on a French pon­toon while try­ing to scrub the rud­der clean).

The other type of foul­ing is bar­na­cles that’ll grow rapidly into an­noy­ing pim­ples which are dif­fi­cult to re­move. The good news is that the bar­na­cle ‘spat’ sea­son is short, and if the boat is on the trailer dur­ing the spat sea­son it won’t get af­fected at any other time of the year.

The more you pay for an­tifoul­ing the bet­ter it is meant to be, but in your case the best will be a waste of money, and a pol­icy of ‘any an­tifoul­ing paint is bet­ter than no paint’ seems to be more suit­able.

As you prob­a­bly won’t get to know when bar­na­cle spats are float­ing around, us­ing an erodi­ble paint will fa­cil­i­tate their re­moval if the paint is not overly ef­fec­tive at keep­ing them off in the first place.

I was in a chan­dler’s some years ago where there were some cans of a well-known brand of qual­ity erod­ing an­tifoul­ing for sale at a huge dis­count. The shop was a mi­nor branch whose stocks had been ig­nored by the staff in the larger branch when re­turn­ing a faulty batch of paint – and all this was care­fully ex­plained to me be­fore I bought a can for my 22ft trail-sail boat at about a quar­ter of the nor­mal price.

The smart grey fin­ish lasted for sev­eral years, and in the end it wasn’t weed or ero­sion that prompted a re­paint – it was gen­eral grub­bi­ness from be­ing towed thou­sands of miles over dirty roads.

A bud­get erod­ing an­tifoul­ing will be plenty good enough for a trailer-sailer

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