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Coppercoat Redux

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In the spirit of rehashing old debates (sail shopping and boat shopping), what's everyone's take on Coppercoat? I know it's been asked before (here and here, and elsewhere). Those threads are a little older and I was hoping for a more consensus take on it.

Coppercoat wasn't really on my wish list except for the fact that the yard that I'm thinking of hauling at has done lots and lots of CC bottoms (and apparently successfully). 

 

A quick DA and normal ablative is $5k. A full soda blast/barrier coat/CC/burnish is about $15k. Both of those prices include haul/block/launch/storage.

Let me start by saying that I accept that I'll have to scrub the bottom several times a year regardless of what type of paint I use. I've tried Trinidad Pro SR, Vivid, Island 44, VC, and plenty of others. Island 44 was the best but it's not legal most places (and it's not great for our dying planet). Hence, the search for the least bad bottom paint continues...

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I coppercoated my boat last spring. It’s sorta of a bitch to apply.  You have to work quickly and it doesn’t roll on very smooth. The biggest pain in the ass is the hole thing needs to be sanded with 320 after the final coat to expose the copper.  Don’t wait any longer than necessary to do this as once the epoxy cures hard it’s a hell of a lot of sanding!

My boat is in NJ this summer where there is a lot of growth.  Stuff grows on the copper coat (but it also grows on every boat in the marina). However it wipes off pretty easily with a rag.  I also dive on the bottom at least once a month to keep the growth from  building up too much.

If your someone who doesn’t mind scrubbing the bottom regularly (I actually enjoy it....weirdo) then copper coat is probably a good choice. I’d be highly surprised if it actually lasts the claimed 10 years though.

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I don't have any personal experience, but at least one YT video suggests that proper technique is the key, see: 

 

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Like some others on this forum I appreciate you rehashing these topics. Since we lag 6-12 month behind your plan, this way we can comfortably see, how the discussion turns out and and have a current reference for a "state-of-the-art" refit. Could you do another one on "toilet refit" as well?  :-) Vacuum, Composting, Electric, ... That is even more complicated than picking the right material for the sails...

To start with the usual useless non-generalizable anecdotes: I painted over the copper coat on my current _daysailing_ boat, because it didn't work in our harbour at all without constant scrubbing. :-) But I think that if you accept having to scrub the boat every now and then, there is nothing better than copper coat. That stuff is so slippery and hard, that cleaning was a very simple affair. Only doing it in the cold water in the Baltic was no fun.

I switched to one of the antifouling systems used for "the big boats": a self-polishing product from BASF called Relest Marine Ecoship. Comparable products are available from others as well. These are based on a PVC-Vinyl primer - not that I understand the details. For the mediterranean and colder seas you can realistically expect multiple years from one application ( 2 layers last 2-3 years, I think with 3 layers you could hope for 4 years). The stuff really polishes off (gets thinner) and doesn't simply "erode until the chips break off".

Is the full Coppercoat treatment for such a large boat really just 15k USD? I would have suspected that it would be much more expensive, as I read about price of 10k for much smaller monohulls. 

Paul

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Coppercoat + a bottom-cleaning robot would be a neat solution. The kind that clean pools like Roomba vacuum cleaners. Then would just need to do the hard to reach parts by hand. Not sure whether such a robot exists though.

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3 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Coppercoat + a bottom-cleaning robot would be a neat solution. The kind that clean pools like Roomba vacuum cleaners. Then would just need to do the hard to reach parts by hand. Not sure whether such a robot exists though.

Great idea -- they exist for swimming pools, though gravity helps there. 

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10 minutes ago, martin.langhoff said:

Great idea -- they exist for swimming pools, though gravity helps there. 

We experimented with those when we had a largish pool. Huge labour saving device. We used a remote control one. We usually just left it running on auto/random. They do clean the side of the pools using the water jet for pressure but not sure they would work upside down. They are pretty close to neutral buoyancy, maybe add some floats to give mild positive buoyance.

I've often thought about trying to modify one for boat bottoms. I think the fundamental problem is the pool cleaners are all about vacuuming and not really about scrubbing. I think by the time you'd got the job done well enough you would end up going back to doing it by hand and wet suit for cold water.

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I can only speak from my experience cleaning Coppercoat here in the Bay Area, but I wouldn't wish that shit on an enemy. 

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Another great topic!! Applied five coats of Copper Coat to Spirit at the start of 2017 and have been very very happy with it. Application was crucial from what we’d read prior so we made sure to follow the instructions to a T. Seem most boats that have issues don’t burnish it properly after application. It’s hard to sand off the top layer of the expensive copper coat you’ve just applied and goes against everything we know about most antifouls but that’s what makes the difference  

Mainly went this route as we love to have an extremely clean and smooth bottom and in the past after the ablatives wore off we’d be scrubbing the bottom every six weeks anyway. Understandably the ablatives just didn’t hold up to our speed or cleaning and we didn’t want to have to haul every one or two years for reapplication. Not having a sail drive or any protrusions also reduces our need for haulouts. The hardness of the copper coat has given us a noticeable half a knot speed increase over the soft ablative and so far after two and a half years we’re probably giving it a light scrub with a scotch pad every eight weeks on average. 

We can give our entire mainhull and resting float a good scrub in under an hour so it’s pretty easy work. On a performance cruising boat I’d not use anything else. It’s far more environmental than most existing antifouls being water based. Amazingly the brushes wash out in water after use! And it costs less in the long run with better performance and less haulouts it’s really been a win win for us. Couldn’t be happier with it!

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3 hours ago, trispirit said:

Another great topic!! Applied five coats of Copper Coat to Spirit at the start of 2017 and have been very very happy with it. Application was crucial from what we’d read prior so we made sure to follow the instructions to a T. Seem most boats that have issues don’t burnish it properly after application. It’s hard to sand off the top layer of the expensive copper coat you’ve just applied and goes against everything we know about most antifouls but that’s what makes the difference  

Mainly went this route as we love to have an extremely clean and smooth bottom and in the past after the ablatives wore off we’d be scrubbing the bottom every six weeks anyway. Understandably the ablatives just didn’t hold up to our speed or cleaning and we didn’t want to have to haul every one or two years for reapplication. Not having a sail drive or any protrusions also reduces our need for haulouts. The hardness of the copper coat has given us a noticeable half a knot speed increase over the soft ablative and so far after two and a half years we’re probably giving it a light scrub with a scotch pad every eight weeks on average. 

We can give our entire mainhull and resting float a good scrub in under an hour so it’s pretty easy work. On a performance cruising boat I’d not use anything else. It’s far more environmental than most existing antifouls being water based. Amazingly the brushes wash out in water after use! And it costs less in the long run with better performance and less haulouts it’s really been a win win for us. Couldn’t be happier with it!

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8EF1055D-C39B-4376-9F4A-C504CE6A6451.jpeg

If it's good enough for TriSpirit it's good enough for me!

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23 hours ago, fstbttms said:

I can only speak from my experience cleaning Coppercoat here in the Bay Area, but I wouldn't wish that shit on an enemy. 

Please elaborate?

a general statement: it is well worth remembering that paints’ effectiveness vary greatly depending on locale.

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24 minutes ago, Max Rockatansky said:

Please elaborate?

a general statement: it is well worth remembering that paints’ effectiveness vary greatly depending on locale.

Yes, which is why I mentioned that I can only speak from my personal experience with it, here in the Bay Area. That said, my opinion is that Coppercoat releases so little biocide that it is poor performer in regions of moderate to high fouling. It was sort of the Flavor of the Month here when it first became available years ago but fortunately, we see very little of it anymore. I currently have only one boat that uses it (a Columbia 5.5) and it is always a bitch to clean, regardless of frequency of service.

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Thanks FB. The ‘general statement’ wasn’t aimed at you BTW

FB, so you think that CC compares poorly to Trinidad? I’ve been a fan of Trini up till this last application which is ineffective, and seems softer than previous applications. I wonder whether Pettit changed their formula. 

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I have never recommended (and would never recommend) Coppercoat to anybody. Pettit Trinidad remains one of only two paints I do recommend (the other bring Interlux Micron 66) for use here in the Bay Area. I haven’t ever had any bad experiences with Trinidad that couldn’t be attributed to application issues.

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What would you use on a high performance hull. My understanding that getting it smooth is basically adding speed to the knot meter. I've seen folks sand an ablative paint after it's been applied.

Difference between spray and brush.

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I used a copper/epoxy product from System Three on the proa. It was applied in the shop before the hull was turned over. It was a bear to apply but I did multiple coats and burnished it. It was not a good antifouling in that it was very hard to clean. It was a good base for bottom paint, but bottom paint is a pain too. My G-32 has a copper/epoxy coating that was applied in the mold before laminating the hulls, which seems very sensible, but it has oxidized where the sun hits it and is thin in spots. I apply Eelsnot to make it smooth and shiny and can go a few weeks in the water before tiny barnacles start to form. I very much like the idea of copper coat, but I also usually enjoy scrubbing the bottom. 

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3 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

 I also usually enjoy scrubbing the bottom. 

Much depends on water temp and visibility...………….sometimes these are great, sometimes they're not.

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13 hours ago, mpenman said:

What would you use on a high performance hull. 

Can’t believe I’m saying this but if you were my customer and I could get you to promise to have the bottom cleaned at least monthly an to repaint after about nine months- I’d say go with Interlux Baltoplate and burnish the hell out of it.

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8 hours ago, mpenman said:

Much depends on water temp and visibility...………….sometimes these are great, sometimes they're not.

The water is really cold here, but I have a drysuit which keeps me and my clothes and socks toasty and dry. 

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Russell, the G32, copper gel coat worked great for me also.  It took me a while to figure out what it was.  I really liked the verdigris patina it developed.  If I was making a molded epoxy hull I would definitely do it again.  Slick and hard without a lot of labour.

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Anyone tried coppercoat in the lower Chesapeake? The oyster strike here is atrocious, which for my day job as an oyster scientist is awesome, but for my beer/daycare money job is the pits. I dive on roughly a dozen boats monthly and recommend/use multiple coats of cheap ablative in the middle bay but only Trinidad south of Wolf Trap. I have to scrub so hard there won’t be nuthin’ left when you haul out anyhow.

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19 minutes ago, Geese said:

 I dive on roughly a dozen boats monthly...

Are you a member of the hull divers Facebook group?

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 9:23 AM, fstbttms said:

Can’t believe I’m saying this but if you were my customer and I could get you to promise to have the bottom cleaned at least monthly an to repaint after about nine months- I’d say go with Interlux Baltoplate and burnish the hell out of it.

Roger, I currently have Sea Hawk Biocop Tin Free. It's been pretty decent, although I would have liked a smoother hull finish. 

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 10:12 AM, Russell Brown said:

The water is really cold here, but I have a drysuit which keeps me and my clothes and socks toasty and dry. 

Yup, next investment. I want one with a hood too.

I'm a bit of dope for not having one.

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I have VC Offshore on Skateaway and my St Francis 44. Both boats have four coats, sanded to knock off the roller pimples prior to launch.

Been using VC on Skateaway for over 20 years (with the exception of a very expensive and unsuccessful two year episode with a silicone rubber coating - what a bitch to remove!) and I get four years each application with scrubbing frequency depending upon  seasonal temperature and location. With a big, smooth 3M sanding block the finish gets better and the coating gets thinner and reactivated with every scrub, after four seasons it's almost gone and easy to prep for the re-coat, the boat is constantly afloat for those four seasons. If you want to go fast the bottom HAS to be slick, burnished VC Offshore is very slick.

Summer Magic, my St Francis 44 had a poor condition Coppercoat bottom finish when I bought her. After two seasons with a high copper content, hard finish (West Marine) product over it I ground it and the underlying gel coat off, repaired a shit load of osmosis and dry layup damage, applied way more than recommended InterProtect then the four coats of VC Offshore, it's working great six years later, two years into the re-coat and is part of the reason we can embarrass Gunboats among others.

I just hope they don't stop making it- I keep a bunch for future needs.

The requirements are pretty simple - smooth to reduce growth footholds and toxic to dissuade even more, in this case a hard coat with Teflon and copper, goosed up when it oxidizes.

It's working for me so long as I can keep scrubbing - way better than the gym!

I hope the Coppercoat works for mrybas - he would have applied it right, he does things right.

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On 9/16/2019 at 7:55 PM, mpenman said:

Yup, next investment. I want one with a hood too.

I'm a bit of dope for not having one.

Summer water temperature in the upper 80's and winter in the lower 40's (with ice on top!) at our dock.

Need and have that hood on a 4 mm suit for the Spring scrubbing but its a quick (relative term on a 44' cat) job and don't get barnacles.

Any theories on static attraction of a muddy/slimy coating?  No shore cables and batteries isolated from the (saildrive) engines, very minimal electrolysis. Sole electrical input from solar.

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On 9/12/2019 at 11:27 PM, soma said:

If it's good enough for TriSpirit it's good enough for me!

Did you get it done? What was the cost in Cape Canaveral? 
 

Thinking of doing it in Ft Lauderdale, but everything seems to cost a lot more here...

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39 minutes ago, EarthBM said:

Did you get it done? What was the cost in Cape Canaveral? 
 

Thinking of doing it in Ft Lauderdale, but everything seems to cost a lot more here...

Did you get a boat?!?

$15k, included haul, launch, storage, pressure wash, strip, barrier coat, fair, spray 4-5 coats of CC, then sand and burnish. Laydays are about $40/day but no laydays (so far). I’ve got great things to say about that yard (so far). Plus, being next to SpaceX is pretty cool. Lots of launches coming up. 

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2 hours ago, soma said:

Did you get a boat?!?

$15k, included haul, launch, storage, pressure wash, strip, barrier coat, fair, spray 4-5 coats of CC, then sand and burnish. Laydays are about $40/day but no laydays (so far). I’ve got great things to say about that yard (so far). Plus, being next to SpaceX is pretty cool. Lots of launches coming up. 

Port Canaveral... the old Scorpion Marine site?

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2 hours ago, soma said:

Did you get a boat?!?

$15k, included haul, launch, storage, pressure wash, strip, barrier coat, fair, spray 4-5 coats of CC, then sand and burnish. Laydays are about $40/day but no laydays (so far). I’ve got great things to say about that yard (so far). Plus, being next to SpaceX is pretty cool. Lots of launches coming up. 

I’d rather not say more about the boat now, other than I’m considering how to structure the sea trial before the survey haulout so that there would be certainty at the point when the boat is on the dry and I can do the coppercoat there and then. There is still a lot daylight between the seller and me, but I am pretty certain it won’t sell higher than my offer, so it’s the question of the seller coming to terms with the price or not.

I hear you on SpaceX! There’s been a lull in launches. The next one was supposed to be two weeks ago with 60 Starlink satellites, now in November. Good bye Iridium!

By the way your PM inbox is full here. I sent a msg to your email (from my sv.lykke address) about Lord Dickie a few weeks ago but it’s probably in the spam folder too. I also heard a funny story yesterday about Bossa Nova hull being full of water a few years back.

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On 11/5/2019 at 12:31 AM, soma said:

$15k, included haul, launch, storage, pressure wash, strip, barrier coat, fair, spray 4-5 coats of CC, then sand and burnish. Laydays are about $40/day but no laydays (so far). I’ve got great things to say about that yard (so far). Plus, being next to SpaceX is pretty cool. Lots of launches coming up. 

That seems very reasonable for that amount of work.  Were you toiling also, or sitting under a tree drinking beer while the yardies did it?

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I’ve done too many bottoms to ever do a bottom again. I definitely stayed busy, just not on the bottom. 

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On 9/16/2019 at 7:54 PM, mpenman said:

Roger, I currently have Sea Hawk Biocop Tin Free. It's been pretty decent, although I would have liked a smoother hull finish. 

Hi,

The folks at Sea Hawk say that Biocop TF can be wet sanded smooth. Did you do that? Capable of a racing bottom?

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Can anyone report results in Southern California with Coppercoat?  I've been using Interlux Ultra, and it seems to do the job ok.

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43 minutes ago, Max Rockatansky said:

Paging @fstbttms

Hahaha! Can’t give a personal anecdote about Coppercoat in SoCal, but it seems to be making some kind of mini-comeback here in the Bay Area and I can tell you from personal experience that it sucks every bit as much now as it ever did.

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Im blown away by how well it’s working so far. Smooth, clean. I DO have one issue, lots of small blisters. Hopefully, presumably, the installer will honor their work and fix it though. The blisters are tiny, about the size of a poppy seed, and appear to be between the barrier coat and the Coppercoat. 

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1 minute ago, soma said:

Im blown away by how well it’s working so far. Smooth, clean. 

Where does your boat live?

 

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I should’ve included my location. NOT SoCal. I’m in the Caribbean. 
 

I scrubbed it for the first time in 2.5 months last week. Just a very light slime that came right off with a wipe, no scrubbing. Still early days, but thumbs up so far (other than the blisters). 

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46 minutes ago, teamvmg said:

What about the saildrive leg? Do you copper coat that?

Only, and this is a big if, you are very, very meticulous about coating the saildrive with a good quality barrier coat, first. 
 

me, I wouldn’t; I don’t want to very expensively find out that I wasn’t thorough with my barrier installation.

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Applied coppercoat to my FP Mahe 36 3 years ago and have been full time cruising since, English East coast to currently Turkey and have been very happy with it.

Would add that it probably is not as good as a quality traditional anti fouling when they are first applied but coppercoat just lasts and lasts! As we are in the Med it is easy to swim around and clean of the slime that does grow and needs to be done Monthly. Very little hard growth and any easily removed.

Applied by local boat yard for £3k including removal of old anti foul

 

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Does anyone have a price ?  Sydney quoted me $2500/litre for hempel silicone. Seems excessive to me. whatsout there in silicone? Bottman

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Per LITRE??!???  That's nuts.  The application is a huge headache with the Interspeed stuff but even taking that into account I'm amazed at that sort of pricing. That's like $10K for a 30' or so.

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Hempel SilicOne is 41USD/0,75l + tax in the store in Sweden.

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Karel I agree. Why is it so expensive here. Bottman

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I don't see much difference in concept between Coppercoat and Trinidad. They're both hard coatings with copper dust mixed in. They both need scrubbing to expose fresh copper, and a full sanding (ugh) if left out of the water too long. 

I'd hate to spend so much time/effort/money on a Coppercoat bottom, expecting 10 years, then have it fail in under two; when I could have just slapped on some familiar, reliable Trinidad, three times in that 10 years.

Or Micron 66 every two years, as we did in the PNW. It worked.

The silicone stuff may be the future, but for most it's still experimental ($$$).

 

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14 minutes ago, blurocketsmate said:

I don't see much difference in concept between Coppercoat and Trinidad. They're both hard coatings with copper dust mixed in.

 

They're apples and oranges. Coppercoat isn't even a paint. It's a water-soluble epoxy with added copper powder. Not to mention Trinidad is orders of magnitude more effective at retarding fouling growth than Coppercoat is. 

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17 hours ago, fstbttms said:

They're apples and oranges. Coppercoat isn't even a paint. It's a water-soluble epoxy with added copper powder. Not to mention Trinidad is orders of magnitude more effective at retarding fouling growth than Coppercoat is. 

Out of interest how would you define "paint"...

What is it about coppercoat that makes it not a paint?

 

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1 hour ago, KC375 said:

 

What is it about coppercoat that makes it not a paint?

 

It’s a copper-loaded epoxy and epoxy is not paint.

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15 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

It’s a copper-loaded epoxy and epoxy is not paint.

several reputable dictionaries have the following or similar definition of paint:

"liquid that is put on a surface to protect or decorate it"....I have a hard time seeing how coppecoat is not covered by that definition.

I am interested in why or how you view coppercoat as not being a paint. I expect given your professional experience your views are informed. Simply stating epoxy is not paint doesn't really share your wisdom but I understand you have other things to do than educate the uninformed.

 

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People put many liquids on surfaces to protect or decorate them. Do you also consider varnish to be “paint”? Hell, even Coppercoat doesn’t describe their product as paint. Why? Because it isn’t paint. 

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Thank you for your thoughtful elucidation.

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 I use Trini and have applied CC on another’s boat. Trinidad is not all that much harder than a soft ablative. Think of CC as more like barrier coat; also CC has, as I recall, far more Cu than Trini

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On 3/20/2020 at 7:00 AM, fstbttms said:

It’s a copper-loaded epoxy and epoxy is not paint.

Is it the lack of pigment that makes it not a paint? One could argue that the copper itself is pigment.

If epoxy is not a paint, then neither is two-part polyurethane.

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On 3/22/2020 at 8:47 AM, Max Rockatansky said:

 ...CC has, as I recall, far more Cu than Trini

Perhaps. But the problem with Coppercoat is that the copper leaches out so slowly (you know, being encapsulated in an epoxy instead of a paint matrix) that the coating’s anti fouling properties are very poor. But this very slow leach rate is how they claim a 10-year lifespan.

 

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Our CopperCoat (self-applied) just turned 8 years old.  Our race results from the last 2 years would suggest it is not slowing us down and we frequently go 4+ months without a wipe down during the non-race season.

Below is a picture of the bottom from February, right after hauling, and prior to pressure wash.  This was a little over 4 months since the previous cleaning.  We did touch up the waterline last year.2082868425_IMG_24742.thumb.jpg.2929e107abbba7c8a9ef31e13c54157c.jpg

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32 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

Perhaps. But the problem with Coppercoat is that the copper leaches out so slowly (you know, being encapsulated in an epoxy instead of a paint matrix) that the coating’s anti fouling properties are very poor. But this very slow leach rate is how they claim a 10-year lifespan.

 

The directions suggest you have to expose the Cu by sanding at 320 before putting the boat in the water... and it does still need regular cleaning. I never got the impression that it was ‘set and forget’

regardless, the statement that anti fouling efficacy is very dependent on location cannot be overstated. My present Trini paint was flawless in the Bahamas, I thought it quit working when in the Keys, and now in the north GOM it’s doing well again. 

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Just now, Max Rockatansky said:

The directions suggest you have to expose the Cu by sanding at 320 before putting the boat in the water... and it does still need regular cleaning. I never got the impression that it was ‘set and forget’

Nor did I infer that. In fact, a dirty little secret about Coppercoat is that it needs periodic sanding to help expose fresh copper. And I will not speak for it in other places, but I can tell you from first hand, real world experience that here in the Bay Area, even with regular service, this product does not clean up like traditional anti fouling paints do. I know I've said it before, but when you hear or read positive reviews about this stuff (as above), they invariable come from places where fouling is not the issue it is in California.

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1 minute ago, fstbttms said:

Nor did I infer that. In fact, a dirty little secret about Coppercoat is that it needs periodic sanding to help expose fresh copper. And I will not speak for it in other places, but I can tell you from first hand, real world experience that here in the Bay Area, even with regular service, this product does not clean up like traditional anti fouling paints do. I know I've said it before, but when you hear or read positive reviews about this stuff (as above), they invariable come from places where fouling is not the issue it is in California.

I edited my above comment, see re: location dependency and antifoul 

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1 hour ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I edited my above comment, see re: location dependency and antifoul 

We have resanded twice in the past 8 years, so about every 4 years.  I did it myself 4 years ago.  Took me 2-3 hours for a 40' hull.  

Below isn't the best picture, but you might be able to zoom in and get a view of the bottom.  This was taken 15 months after applying CopperCoat.  The hull had not be wiped down or pressure washed at all during that time.  In fact, the boat basically sat in a marine for 9 months during that period, then sailed a few hundred miles before this hauling.  When the boat went back in the water, we wiped off the slime with a snorkel and mask.    

shearwater.jpg

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1 minute ago, Max Rockatansky said:

@Roleur I don’t recall, where are you?

Looks like the San Juan Islands.

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23 minutes ago, Max Rockatansky said:

@Roleur I don’t recall, where are you?

Boat has been in Annapolis, Porto, Portugal, Gibraltar, Galveston Bay, SF Bay, Hawaii, and PNW since CopperCoat was applied.  Last 5.5 years have been in the PNW.  Most of the time was Porto, Galveston Bay, and PNW.

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I'm sure it's like most antifouling - very temperature + feeding environment dependent for the creatures that live on the bottom.

The PNW is not a high fouling area. I suspect SF probably has a ton of agricultural runoff (fertilizer) that helps feed the marine growth.

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