|We had known for some time that
we needed to get our bottom sandblasted and re-epoxied. Layer upon
layer of old hard type antifouling had built up to such a thickness that
it would occasionally develop small cracks. This would let seawater
through to the galvanised coating on the hull, which would then be quickly
destroyed by galvanic action leaving a pock mark of rust about an inch
across. Each time we antifouled we ended up dealing with a couple
of dozen of these. The real answer was to blast the old paint off
and start again.
We had also been interested for a while in some of the
copper epoxy products on the market. It's fair to say that there had
been mixed reviews, but our feeling was, that since copper cladding had
been the traditional way of keeping hulls clean of fouling for
hundreds of years, then it ought to work. What brought the whole
thing together for us was when we discovered that our neighbours in the
marina, Richard & Heidrun on Maid of Wyvern, were applying copper plus to the hull
of their yacht. We decided to follow their lead and we would paint
Samarang with an epoxy ceramic primer followed by epoxy copper.
Armourguard and Copperplus both from Permanent Coatings in Cornwall.
The next question was where to get the work done.
First choice would have been Sopromar at Lagos. We'd seen them do
similar work on a friends boat and knew that they did really good
work. Unfortunately, they didn't respond to e-mails and Lagos
was a little out of our way to go on speck. We also checked out
Malta, again not really on our planned itinerary, they could only do the
work in August and were quite expensive.
|| Then Roberto the local chandler/rigger with whom we'd
become quite friendly introduced us to his mate who had a boat yard in
Porto Torres, sandblasting kit, etc. He seemed to know his stuff, the
price was OK, Porto Torres is a bit industrial, but what the hell, we
agreed to go there in the spring. Then just a couple of weeks before
we were due to leave, Roberto came and told us that he was in the process
of purchasing the controlling stake in a local boat yard and could do all
the work for the same price as his mate, but in Fertilia, (just up the
road, tranquil, on the river) not in grotty old Porto Torres. We
|Well, there's a proverb I think about changing horses in mid-stream.
The real problem was that the sandblaster that Roberto had contracted
thought he was only coming to remove old antifouling, not antifouling,
epoxy, chlorinated rubber, etc. He wanted more money (sort of
understandably - 3 days rather than 1 days work) and ultimately ran out of
sand before the job was quite finished (none left in Sardinia -
allegedly). The final bits were taken off by disc, which cost only time.
Incidentally, nothing was tented during the sandblasting operation, in
spite of promises to the contrary. There was sand and paint and old
antifouling, etc everywhere. We were slightly prepared and this actually turned out to be a much bigger problem for the other
boats in the yard than for us, particularly Brian parked next door!
The final problem was that really the ceramic epoxy needed airless
spray equipment. The manufacturer had said that it could be applied by
conventional spray, but that turned out to be not really true. The
painters had a pretty powerful compressor and really tried hard, but in
the end we didn't get the finish we were looking for and when we came to
the copper epoxy, we admitted defeat and let them roller it on. They'd
wanted to do the same with the ceramic after they'd tried the first coat
even though it would take them twice as long and they were being paid for
the job not for time. So anyway it's all on the boat though not quite as
smooth as we'd wanted. I've already discovered how hard the ceramic is as
it had been sprayed up the through hulls for the log and depth gauge and
it took me 3 hours with a hammer & chisel and a file to remove
a coating of about half a millimetre! And so far no sign of green slime,
but early days. The Copperplus is very brown though.
One highlight, (or at least light) of the time in the yard was the
owner Cesare, who I don't think has any real intention of selling to
Roberto, the yard is his life. He has another in Brazil, where by the way
he owns an island close to Rio. He's an ex-power boat champion and at
least half mad. One moment your best mate, the next throwing lumps of
railway sleeper at the boat. He has a gammy ankle and so is constantly whizzing
about the yard on a little scooter, whistling and shouting at
people. He collects cranes, earth scrapers, boats, anything really.
Oh, his particular passion is fork lift trucks, which he can be found
driving around on whenever he's not on his scooter.
He built, welded and bolted together, (like a giant Meccano set) the most
amazing frame out of girders, to hold Samarang so that there was nothing
touching the hull below the waterline. Only, once focused on a project like
this he really hasn't got time for anything else - like talking to mere
customers, so we were awakened first thing in the morning by Cesare
driving his fork lift truck into a girder under the boat - so as to drive it
through the frame that was holding us - as phase one of his grand design for
the suspending of vessels.
Oh, and he broke his biggest fork lift moving the boat. Oh and
then Samarang sank! Into the ground that is, which is not something
we expected on board a boat, but there'd been a lot of rain, and Lindy had
done 4 loads of washing!
And he had a beat up old Merc that anyone in the yard or marina could
use to go shopping, which for scummy boat people is a major plus. It did
need towing to bump start it and had to be stalled to stop it, but nothing
is absolutely perfect.
We were finally craned back in (yes that's craned - no namby pamby travel
lifts here) and set off for good old Porto Conte, our first port
of call when we arrived in Sardinia, to get our breath back, before
starting off on our travels again.