While the summer is here, I really wanted to investigate putting new bottom paint on the boat. I did a bit of research and it looks like our bottom has some life in it - maybe rest of this season. It is a 'cruising bottom' - rolled-on stuff and a bit rough to the touch. It is in fair shape though - only the fine angle hair growing on it, which I have cleaned twice already this season, but it comes back quickly which I am being told is a sing that it could use some attention.
I spoke with a reputable local shop - the guys there were really nice and took time to educate me. But the bid made me just about fall off my chair. A 'cursing' roll-on bottom similar to what I have now will cost $2k, but to get a 'race bottom' which is baby-butt smooth is about $7k!!! The major difference from what I understood is sanding time - they take it down to 600-grit. The thing is, there is not that much sanding there the price jump is because they are charging $90/h for a guy with a sander!! I realize that they need to pay for the yard, insurance and some consumables, but many contract Medical Doctors (who have a 12-year education track) sometimes don't get $90/h! It seems excessive!
I am handy (with a welder and otherwise) and am thinking about hiring some manpower and doing this myself. I could use a bit of advice...
1. The paint I have now - I need to sand that off, but how far down do I go? Until I see the white of the gelcoat, or just get it smooth? Does every bit of it need to be off, or about 90%?
2. After I sand the old stuff down, what should be done to prepare the surface?
3. What paint should I use? I'd like to do roll-on if possible and stay away from spray. What are my options?
A. How much in gallons/liters will I need?
B. How many coats?
C. Apply thin? How long between coats?
4. Sanding to 600 - should I start with something rougher first?
5. Should I quick-sand between coats?