The importance of a good antifouling job

Here at PBS we oversee the survey of dozens of yachts and power boats every year and we are constantly disappointed by the poor antifouling jobs that are being done. In many cases at a significant cost to the owner at the point of sale.

There are a number of factors involved, firstly the timing of antifouling, the preparation prior to antifouling, the application and finally the type of antifoul used. We don’t proclaim to be experts, but from what we see we can certainly offer some observations.

The timing of antifouling will have a significant influence on its performance since during the months of warmer water the rate of growth is considerably higher. In an ideal World you would antifoul in early spring so that your antifouling is at its best during the time of highest growth, but that isn’t always practical, but be aware if for instance you antifoul in late summer then it will almost certainly be necessary to have the bottom of your boat dived in the final few months, otherwise your boat will perform significantly worse than it should. Ask any racing yacht owner and they will tell you that even a slight scum has a dramatic impact on sailing speed!

The preparation is the critical element in antifouling for a number of reasons. Primarily if the old coat isn’t well rubbed back, particularly above the waterline where it tends to flake, then subsequent coats will become more and more uneven. We’ve seen yachts antifouled at many reputable boat yards where repeated antifouling’s have been done, and at the point of sale & survey the surveyor has insisted that all of the antifouling be stripped back and the yacht hull be re-primed with epoxy because the condition of the bottom of the boat is so poor that layers are coming off in handfuls. This cost is borne by the vendor and at a typical cost of $8,000 for a 40 footer, so this has a significant impact on the nett sale of a boat!

Antifouling paint brands will have different recommended instructions for application, depending on whether antifouling is being applied by brush, roller or spray, but they all stipulate good preparation and that the bottom of the boat be thoroughly dry before application.

Finally, ask around your waterways for recommendations on the brand and type that is most effective in your area, as some antifouling’s work better depending on how much water flow, fresh water run-off etc.

If you don’t have the time to oversee the antifouling of your yacht and you are based on Sydney harbour, or Pittwater then we can offer a service to do so and manage the polishing, detailing and other work like engine service, leg service, rig checks etc. that require annual service. Competitive rates guaranteed and we can arrange pick up and return to make the whole process simple and completely hassle free. Contact Damien on (02)9979 9755 or email service@performanceboating.com.au