Antifoul to take the trailer-sailer knocks
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