To haul or not to haul, that is the question.
Today’s quandary: do we haul ZTC to repaint the bottom, or not?
Here are some truths.
- Boats are made to move.
- When they don’t move, living organisms like to take up residence on their hulls.
- Cruising is more about stopping in cool places (not moving) than it is continually running from one location to another.
Therein lies the dilemma.
What can be done to evict these underwater stowaways, or prevent them from grabbing on to us in the first place, when we do stop in cool places? As I understand it, we basically have two options:
- Haul the boat every year or two and apply antifouling paint to the areas of the boat which sit below the water.
- Routinely dive on the boat to scrub the bottom free of growth.
The last time our boat was painted was just before we purchased her in June 2009. At that time she was painted with Micron CSC, a paint which I understand is easy to come by in North America. I have also heard that it is not particularly effective in the warm and fertile Caribbean waters. Although they are not available in Canada or the US, there are apparently paints which can be purchased down here that are more effective, and by that I mean they are more toxic (which is why you can’t use them in NA). The problem is though, even with paint like that, boats still develop growth and need to be scrubbed!
While I was away in Trinidad, Rebecca took it upon herself to research our haul-out options. Here in the Grenada area we have three choices:
The latter two told Rebecca that unfortunately they could not get us in until December, which is longer than we planned to stay in Grenada. Spice Island is a good option and we have heard good things about their service. They quoted us between 800.00 and 1000.00, plus materials (comparable to the other yards). The cost of the paint is about $325.00 US per gallon and I think we would need two gallons to do the job. We can save a few hundred dollars if we paint the boat ourselves instead of having their staff do the job.
An additional variable is that IF we were to haul the boat, I think we would go ahead and raise the water line a bit (quite common for cruising boats because the additional loads that they typically carry causes them to sit a bit lower in the water). The marina quoted us $81.00 per hour to do that. What is involved? I have heard two things. One source told us that we need to apply a barrier coat underneath the new area to be painted. Another source, who told me that he owned a boat yard and was responsible for painting the bottom of hundreds of boats per year, said that the barrier coat was not necessary for that and to simply scuff up the area to be painted and then apply the antifoul directly on that.
Since the time that Rebecca and I purchased ZTC, we have been regularly diving on the boat and cleaning the bottom ourselves. It’s really not that big of a deal for us, unless we happen to be in nasty water (ex. Luperon, DR, or in a marina). So, do we haul and paint, knowing that we’ll likely have to scrub anyway or hold onto our money? That is the big question. If the paint is only to prevent growth, I say we keep scrubbing. If it does more than that, I would like to know.
Decisions, decisions. No doubt some readers here will have some opinions on the subject. If so, post away. I’d love to hear them.
ZTC, at the time named Katana, in a travel lift similar to the one used at Spice Island Marine. Although we hauled her one other time back in Canada, she has not been in a travel lift since that day.