Dear Islander Freeport 41 Group:
A while back we asked for advice on redoing the blistered bottom Family Ties', our IF41 (hull no 41). We had put a new bottom on her 6 years back but the blisters returned within a year. The boat is in MI (at Gregory Boat Basin on the Detroit River, in Detroit) where she's only in the water 8 months of the year. We purchased her in San Diego in 1999. Former name, COOL CHANGE. The first time we redid the bottom (about 2005) we peeled her once, let her dry a month or two, and then used West System materials and took our own advice. Here's what we did this time using the advice of Dan Gregory, Service and Yard manager at Gregory. Only time will tell how well she holds up:
Early June, 2012 - Peeled the bottom TWICE, to remove most of the blister rot.
We noticed that a great deal of the hull's fiberglass was not fully wetted with resin. The guy that did the peeling thought it was due to "bleaching" the resin out as the boat aged.
Air dried out the hull (13 months).
Ground out much of the dry fiberglass on the bow (it had been rebuilt from an accident before we owned her) and an area beneath the prop opening, There were perhaps 100 areas that I further ground or sanded down to get to wetted out fiberglass and remove evidence of blistering.
Hired Gagon Marine (Jim Gagon, Troy, MI) to hot vac the bottom, in an effort to post-cure the uncured resin from the original lay-up of the hull. That took about 3 weeks, 12 hours per application at 95 degrees C and nearly full vacuum.
Sealed the hull with two coats of Sea Hawk's Tuff Stuff epoxy barrier paint (grey).
Filled gouges, pot holes, and unevenness with Interlux Interfill 833 (A+B), sanded (several applications for the deeper areas), then covered with Tuff Stuff, and repeated with 833 as needed to get a smooth, even hull surface. This took about two weeks.
Covered the hull with two more coats of Tuff Stuff grey, occasionally refilling a missed indentation with 833.
Covered the hull with two coats of Tuff Stuff white. (There are six coats of Tuff Stuff on the hull overall, and in some areas 8 or 9 coats depending on the depth of filling and painting to get the hull smooth.)
Applied two coats of Sea Hawk's CuKote (dark blue) bottom antifouling paint.
The great advantage of using Tuff Stuff was the 6 DAY window allowed to apply another Tuff Stuff coat without sanding. The stuff is unique in that after mixing the A&B (1:1) you have to want 20 minutes for the mixture to kick-off before applying. After mixing the pot is useable for 5-6 hours. The Tuff Stuff dried within 90 minutes enough to put on a second coat, and on at least one day we applied 3 coats in one day, and two the other days. (Important: We used 3/16" rollers. The 3/8" was too thick. Apply with two over-lapping strokes and at the most three. As soon as the air hits the coating it begins to harden and re-rolling only makes the paint stick up on the hull and it will need to be sanded down. This happened the first coat to us, and we went back to the 3/16. Sea Hawk recommended 3/8, the yard recommended 3/6. The yard was right.
The CuKote can be applied to the last Tuff Stuff coat within 24 hours without having to sand for adhesion.
Now throughout the whole process we had six jack stands obstructing parts of the hull and five places on the bottom of the keel where blocks held the boat off the concrete of the yard. So after a few days to let the bottom cure, we moved the stands, and the blocks, using plastic next to the hull (shrink wrap), then a layer of cardboard (from the Tuff Stuff boxes cut up), and then the wood of the jackstands or blocks. It took me another 3 days to fill the 11 patches with filler and the 8 coats of paint. On these days I mixed at once enough tuff stuff for all 3 to 4 coats.
We then repainted the boot stripe.
Launched September 12, 2013. From peeling to launch was 15 months, 13 of those months was air dry time.
Because of the shortened season for us this year (Family Ties comes out Nov 1 or there abouts) we considered not dressing her sails. But we put them on yesterday -- a three hour project that will be worth it for the next few weeks before winter.
God Speed on your journeys.
Stan & Pam Williams
FAMILY TIES Hull #41
Detroit River, Detroit, MI