Smooth Sailing Antifouling
vs VC 17m
A report from Captain Harvey
Chichester, on his previous experience comparing Smooth Sailing Antifouling
and Interlux VC 17m
During the 2007 boating
season on the St. Croix river (forming the border between Minneasota and
Wisconsin), I raced my Ranger 23 Tall Rig only to find out that I could
not break 3.5 knots. I posted a complaint on the MSN Ranger 23 Group
website asking why I was losing races due to this lack of speed.
I had lots of tips about sails and the like but a few Ranger 23 members
asked if my hull was clean. Even though I had scrubbed the boat hull with
a long handled brush during the season, when I took the boat out at the
end of the season, I found that the shady bottom of the boat was covered
with hard-to-remove fibrous growths. The growths had formed a thin mat
over much of the bottom of the hull.
In the spring of 2008, I sanded my boat bottom, keel, and rudder and
applied VC 17m to the port sides and Smooth Sailing Antifouling to
the starboard sides of the boat bottom, keel, and rudder.
During 2008, I was delighted at the increase in velocity, achieving speeds
up to 7.1 knots and taking a second place in the Hudson to Prescott to
Hudson race, even beating several J 80s.
I intentionally did not wash the boat bottom all season (7 months).
When I took the boat out at the end of the 2008 season this is what I
Both sides of the boat bottom, keel, and rudder had a thin layer of dead
slime about 1/32 of an inch thick, except along the bottom six inches of
the keel which had been scrubbed by bottom silt and sand when I had run
aground a few times during the season.
The Port side (VC 17m) had a lot of blue (my original bottom paint)
showing through and was virtually gone on the rudder. The starboard side
of the boat with the Smooth Sailing Antifouling was still copper
colored over about 90% of the surfaces.
Both sides had some areas that had never been coated where the trailer
cradle wheels were and also a few long lines along the bottom that had
ropes holding the boat to the trailer that I was afraid to remove so had
coated around. Those areas remained fiber free.
I had left a two foot long bare area on the bottom of the port side where
I had a strip of Smooth Sailing, a gap with the old blue bottom paint
never coated, and a small area of a Urethane Teflon coating in white. In
this area, the Smooth Sailing Antifouling was still strong and
untouched. There were fibers growing on the old blue bottom paint, and the
Urethane Teflon coating had no fibers but did not rinse off fast like the
copper bottom VC 17m or the Smooth Sailing Antifouling. The slime
covering the Urethane Teflon did come off when I wiped it with a finger.
For the 2009 racing season, I will definitely be putting two coats of
Smooth Sailing Antifouling copper on my Ranger bottom, keel, and
rudder. Along with washing the boat bottom every two months, I expect these improvements
to produce a number of first place finishes.