When I bought Jade she an epoxy based copper antifoul on her hulls. It was supposed to have been a selling point, though from reading a few threads online regarding ‘Copper Coat’ then perhaps not. In any case it turned out not to be Copper Coat but a similar (read cheaper) product by a British firm called Reactive Resins. Never heard of them? No either had I, and nor will anyone else in the future. They went bust in 2017. Can’t say I’m surprised.
I took possession of Jade in Cartagena in 2017. The marina is know to be poor in terms of fouling. Jade had seemingly sat there for sometime whilst waiting to be sold as the hulls were covered 5mm thick growth.
As the antifoul was a super had epoxy it could happily be pressure washed or scraped. Since I wasn’t planning a lift out anytime soon, I hired a couple of divers to sort her out. These were professional, yet it took them two hours to clean the hulls. And when they were finished, she was clean, but definitely not pretty.
Perhaps the application was bad, or perhaps the product was poor (after-all the company did go bust), either way, I knew after the season was over I’d need to either re-do the antifoul. The now clean hull, was attracting new growth pretty quickly.
When I eventually hauled out a year later this is what it looked like:
I contacted Copper Coat, to ask for their advice.
As long as the previous epoxy/copper system from Reactive Resins is still sound, firm and well-adhered, you would be able to paint directly over it – without the hassle of having to remove it. You would only need to remove it if it is at all loose, flaking or soft. Put simply, Coppercoat merely requires being applied to a sound and permanent substrate.
This sounded promising, and I possibly would have gone for it, save for the fact that their only distributor in Lefkas, where I’d planed to spend the winter, was Les Wood (who has a very good reputation by the way). I needed 10 litres to do the job properly, and unfortunately I found Les’ price per litre to be €125, versus around £85 in the UK.
And so that was that. Any type of copper antifoul system was dead to me. I now had to make the decision so go with either a hard antifoul or a soft ablative antifoul.
Seajet Shogun 033
I remember seeing Sapphire leave the marina in Cartagena and head out for a day sail. her hull was thick with growth, but as she cruised by at a steady speed, the growth fell away. That’s how ablative antifoul should work, and it was remembering that moment which led me to choose a soft antifoul for Jade.
I never did find out what brand/product Sapphire was using, but in Greece Seajet seemed a popular choice. A buddy of mine had just bought some for his Oceanis (though he bought the one for aluminium hulls by mistake), and it had recently been deemed the a best buy (second only to International Micron) in a leading British magazine.
With that my mind was made up, and I chose Seajet Shogun 033 for Jade’s hulls. Unfortunately when it comes to antifouling the colours tend to be limited. I wanted Grey/Silver, but it wasn’t available at the time. Instead I opted for a light blue.
Before I could apply the Seajet, I first had to give the hulls a good keying, then apply a couple of coats of primer. The keying was the difficult bit. The epoxy was hard. 80 grit discs did nothing. 60 grit discs barely made a mark. I was down to 40 and 36 grit. A solid week of sanding, and 4 sanding pads later, and she was ready to be primed.
The primer (also by Seajet) when on like a dream. Coverage was 10m2 per litre, and the hulls looked cool in a shiny metallic silver. Of course this was short-lived as hulls were then coated with 033.
When ordering, it’s difficult to know exactly how much antifouling is needed. Every product has a different coverage, and on top of that different manufacturers recommend a different number of coats. Sure some manufacturers have paint calculators, they are never going to be accurate, and only cater towards monohulls.
I guessed on 7.5l which at the time turned out to be too much. Seajet recommend two coats per season, and at the time stated that three coats would last two seasons in the med. My 7.5l did three coats comfortably, with a fourth coat on leading edges and around the waterline. I must have still had a litre left in the end, but couldn’t fathom how I could possibly get more paint on, so I gave it to the yard.
This is what it looked like after 13 months in the Med sailing from Greece to Spain, with a winter in Cartagena. We’d actually given the hull a very good clean whilst in Formentera, so most of this fouling is from the marina.
International Micron EU
Despite the poor condition of the Seajet, I was considering giving it another try. After all I was happy up until Cartagena. The problem was that in Almerimar there is only one stockist (Almerimar Marine), and not all volumes and colours were available.
I decided to look for something new, and instead found something old. For some time International Micron Extra was considered the the creme-de-la-creme of soft consumer grade antifoul. Typically though they’d stopped making it. EU regulations and all that. It was replaced with Micron 350 and 30% price rise. A bit of searching around and I found a 5l tin for well below the asking price of the new Micron 350, that was with delivery from Italy included.
At first I was concerned by the age of the paint. International stopped making Micron Extra just over a year ago and whilst I had a batch number, there were no manufacture dates on the tin. It has a shelf life of two years according to the data sheet, but I was later told by a former Akzonobel rep that in reality it could happily last five years if stored correctly. No worries then.
The Micron Extra was super easy to apply with a roller. The paint itself is thinner than the Seajet, but I actually think it took me longer to apply. The boat has only recently been splashed, so it’s too early to tell yet how well it perform, but she does look good in black.
I knew that five litres of Micron wasn’t going to be quite enough for the whole boat, but it was all I could get my hands on. Added to that, I wanted a bit of contrast in certain areas. With that in mind I painted the inside of the skeg in Jotun Nostrum. The inside of the skeg is never really seen once the rudders are on, but is a high fouling area. I also went ahead and added some Nostrum to the bottom of the keels, and the nacelle. I figure that if the boat is ever inverted, the contrast will make it easier to spot from the air.
Hempel Mille NCT
I had taken the rudders off the boat to have new brackets on. Since they were attached to the hull they missed out on the Micron Extra treatment. Instead I was bought a small amount of Hempel Mille NCT to finish them off.
The guy in the yard proclaimed that it is better stuff than the Nostum and the Micron. I’ll reserve judgement on that. It is certainly a different consistency and finish though. Where as the Micron was thin and produced a soft matte finish, the Mille NCT was thick and glossy. I didn’t much care for the finish but once in the water is wasn’t visible anyway.
Here is the finished boat ready to go back into the water. I will update this from time to time to describe how the antifoul is performing.
Do you have any update since?
Regarding your initial experience with (sea jet) soft antifoul. I am afraid you made a mistake by cleaning the hull. Soft antifoul should never be cleaned.
i.e. this is probaly the reason for poor performance:
“We’d actually given the hull a very good clean whilst in Formentera”
At the moment I am trying to decide between seajet 033 and Micron 350, so interested to hear the update 😉
I both agree and disagree. Soft self polishing antifoul is can and is often cleaned very lightly with cloth soft. Remember with the seajet works at up to 40knts so doesn’t slough off well like the Micron does at sailing speeds.
I liked the Micron version I used but it super super soft. The Seajet platinum I last put on in Curaçao.