Gizmo 2016, Pettit Hydrocoat Eco round 2 and Gadget redo

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_cPanbo.jpg“You’re pretty late, aren’t you?” I heard that a lot recently! There are many reasons for Gizmo’s late launch last week — travel, getting old, boatyard miscommunications, etc. — but perhaps the most interesting one is what it took to properly retest Pettit Hydrocoat Eco bottom paint. Modern anti-fouling paint can be more of a technology than I realized and I’ll also have to admit to some classic boat owner denial. Plus, I’d like to show off some improvements to the good tender Gadget

HydroCoat_Eco_n_Prop_Zinc_18_months_wet_n_hauled_4.jpgYou may recall that I began the first Hydrocoat Eco test in May 2014 and I should have reported on the results when Gizmo was finally hauled again in November 2015. In retrospect, however, it was lucky that I was away during that haul and no one took pictures before the pressure wash. This post-pressure-wash photo does suggest how well the paint prevented hard fouling — except for a few barnacles on the stainless rudder, whose Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier undercoat and Hydrocoat Eco also endured thousands of miles of prop wash and more than a few soft groundings (mainly in the New Jersey ICW 😉 — but I would have complained about the soft brown slime that soon uglified Gizmo’s waterline. And then I would have had to eat those words when I learned that we had not applied the Hydrocoat Eco correctly.


While the Hydrocoat Eco data sheet (PDF here) has always been clear about how thin the coats should be — 1.4 mils dry, 4.0 wet — it’s good that Pettit has now added an attention-grabbing label to the can. Applying bottom paint this thinly is not the norm and apparently Hydrocoat Eco’s dual active biocides can get locked away if the paint cures too much from the outside in. My yard almost undoubtedly used 3/8-inch rollers to apply the paint in 2014 — heck, they had to get the suggested 3/16-inch nap rollers special this year — plus, yours truly had generously rolled extra paint onto the belly band for that first test. Thicker is better when it comes to ablative bottom paint, right? Wrong for Hydrocoat Eco!

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_bottom_prep_cPanbo.jpgIt’s almost funny how much I came to regret my old school “more is better” ways. After the Pettit home office agreed to let me try Hydrocoat Eco again — plus a further experiment described below — their New England Field Tech inspected Gizmo and pronounced her unfit for testing unless much of the old paint was removed. I was a bit chagrined until I looked again myself and realized how totally oblivious I’d been to the effect of multiple layers and a long drying period. Water-based Hydrocoat is particularly good at going over old paint because it doesn’t contain traditional solvents, but sticking to paint that’s falling off does not make for a fair test. (Incidentally, the lack of solvents can help boatyards stay under the maximum total VOC emissions being imposed in some locals.)

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_bottom_prep_DIY_cPanbo.jpgThere’s no doubt that Lyman Morse Wayfarer could have done a better job of paint removal, but they do nicely tolerate local DIY types nowadays, and it was a good excuse to equip myself with a mighty Bosch 6-inch orbital sander and a Fein auto start vac. I also chose to focus on the waterline area and thus I’m responsible if the new Hydrocoat Eco fails further down the hull because the old underlying paint lets go.

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_w_Lumishore_light_cPanbo.jpgBut Pettit’s Steve Miller was fairly pleased with the project at this point in the proceedings — I’d rolled the transom myself so I could finish installing those Lumishore SMX92 full spectrum color change LED underwater lights (with WiFi control, yeeha!) — and he also approved the thin full coat (with a second coat around the waterline after proper drying period) that the LM Wayfarer crew applied. I think it’s great that Pettit has well informed field reps like Steve who help boatyards better understand their products and deal with issues — Interlux does, too — and I was pleased to hear that copper-free paint is really catching on. The anti-hard-fouling Econea and slime-inhibiting Zinc Omadine in Hydrocoat Eco should still be handled carefully by the applicators, but they purportedly break down into biodegradable components once they’ve done their work (Pettit explanatory PDF here).

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_Zinc_Omadine_test_cPanbo.jpgBut is the 4.8% Zinc Omadine in Hydrocoat Eco (and several other Pettit formulations) good enough for surprisingly slimy Camden Harbor? I’m confident that the paint is applied properly this time, but half of it also contains a booster that Pettit is experimenting with for extra difficult locales.

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_booster_test_cPanbo.jpgSo Gizmo’s port forward and starboard aft bottom quarters are painted with boosted Hydrocoat Eco and the other two quarters with regular formulation. That way the two types will get equal exposure to sun and the fresh water runoff that may be part of this harbor’s issue. Plus, any difference between the boosted and regular paint performance during the (possibly very long) season ahead should be visible on either side of the boat.

Gadget redo

Fatty_Knees_9_Gadget_redo_2016_aft_hatch_cutting_cPanbo.jpgYes, I cut large holes into the beautifully-built Fatty Knees 9 tender dubbed Gadget and permanently removed perfectly dry flotation, but please don’t call me nuts until you understand the whole scheme. The formerly waterproof aft and forward seats now contain a total of five PFDs with room for small gear plus an almost completely invisible but powerful bilge pump system.

Whale_Subersub_Smart_1212_micro_bilge_pump.jpgWhereas the Fatty Knees has an unusually full and deep keel, I was able to cut another hole low in the aft seat face such that the svelte Whale Supersub 1100 pump illustrated above fits inside the seat with its 2.4-inch wide strainer facing forward at nearly the lowest possible point. In hose testing the pump with its solid-state high bilge sensor drains the boat quickly and nearly completely, and I know that I’ll be able to get even closer to dry perfection by lifting the tender’s bow either from the dock or Gizmo’s swim platform.

Fatty_Knees_9_Gadget_redo_2016_aft_hatch_cPanbo.jpgYou can’t even see the pump strainer under the tender’s floor boards but the oars are hiding another hole where the solar panel output wire leads into the seat and then to the small battery box. I did refrain from permanently mounting the Vexilar T-Box WiFi fishfinder transducer that I’ve already used in Gadget to collect Navionics SonarChart data, because another hole in the transom seemed like one too many, but the Vexilar power cable is already wired to the battery and a temporary T-Box install will be easy.

The similarly solar-powered EasyBailer I’ve used in several tenders is still alive but it’s really nice not to have it cluttering Gadget along with the PFDs and other gear I can now stow under the Bomar hatches. This tender doesn’t have quite the flotation it was built with, but I’m pretty sure the 750 gph Supersub will take care of at least a partial swamping pretty well, though I’m not sure how far I’ll go to test the theory.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

21 Responses

  1. Jeffrey Sandor says:

    One of my major beefs with boat yards is that they will never honor my request to be present when the boat is hauled so I can inspect the performance of the bottom paint. Clearly there are issues of timing and scheduling… but in 32 years I can count on one hand I was present when the boat came out of the water. One time when I wasn’t they ignored my drawing for sling placement and broke an irreplaceable thru hull for the B&G speedo.
    Even in this age of smart phone hi res camera… they can’t seem to bother to take some photos… to show to the owner.
    I find this very very annoying despite my polite pleadings to be present and why I want to be present.
    Boat yards couldn’t care less about these things… it’s all $$$ to them.

  2. Richard C says:

    In 20 years of boat ownership I think I got lucky three or four times and happened to show up as the boat was hauled. The yard refused to give me even a ball park idea when they had me on the haul out schedule – only told me the week of…. In one case I wanted to video tape the condition of the bottom as it came out of the water. Well, that pissed them off big time. After being repeatedly challenged about the video camera I told them I was recording in case they dropped the boat. That ended the conversation. The yard manager just didn’t have a sense of humor.

  3. Jeffrey, you obviously aren’t in the right boatyard. I asked the boatyard on the Chesapeake where I wintered my boat to let me know both the haul out and re-launch dates and times which they did. They also were very close on the times as my wait wasn’t too long.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I have a lot of empathy for boatyards; the work can get wickedly complicated and/or unpredictable, and lot of us are pretty demanding customers, though in as different ways as our boats are different.
    That said I do have a relevant “tell me when you haul/launch” story with a possible solution. Gizmo was supposed to launch “first thing” last Thursday and I was there before 7am. But then I left around 9 (to finish up Gadget), emailing the yard manager to please let me know when they were ready to launch.
    About 10:30 Boat Command sent me an anchor drag alert on my cell — I’ve been thru this before 😉 — and I got there as they transferred the boat from the hydraulic trailer to the travel lift. At about 11:30 I got a call from a yard secretary telling me that Gizmo was about to launch and I explained to her that I was already driving the boat around the harbor. We laughed.

  5. ValkyrieYachts says:

    You need a better yard!
    The yards in our area ask the owner/captain to have the boat at the haul out crane at a preset time. Unless there is some back-up, they are usually pretty punctual. Valkyrie was hauled out a few weeks ago for painting. Bellport Shipyard is 65 miles away. I called them when I reached the harbor entrance. When I arrived the sling was already in the water ready to haul!
    Got some great shots! This was especially important to me as I have been using a copperless paint from EPaint and we are close to 4 years. The haulout showed that the paint was still in great condition and probably could have done well throughout the Summer too! However, I was hauling out to do some other work too so the timing was good.

  6. Sheldon Haynie says:

    Ah, haul/launch schedules: I’ve had them vary from circling the anchorage to meet a 5 minute window at Rye Harbor with Independent Boat Haulers of Eliot, ME to this year a >7 week delay tied up at Svendsens in Alameda, that culminated in an unattended haul and then a “we’re launching your boat in 2 hrs, and need you here to take it away” phone call.
    Different levels of focus, then again IBH was using 2 hydraulic trailers, and hauling/launching a boat every 20-30 minutes per trailer, with sequence based on depth/tide across a 4 hour span. Having a just launched boat come steaming back in with a significant leak played havoc with their schedule.
    IBH is a great service, and annually brought Lioness 40 miles from the launch site, to my house in the wilds of NH up an unimproved dirt road and set her up on jackstands next to my garage.
    Svendsens is having a tough year for staffing, and could not give a believable answer on much of anything.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Valkyrie. EPaint looks interesting…
    …but I see that while it prevents slime, grass etc. with 4.8% Zinc Omadine — same as regular Hydrocoat Eco — the hard fouling protection seems to be done with “patented photoactive technology.” What’s that about?

  8. cristina sison (tadhana) says:

    hi ben, have you ever heard of prop glop?
    a diver in FL recommended it. looked it up and it had some pretty good reviews plus a youtube video as well.

  9. Jeffrey Sandor says:

    Frankly I don’t see how difficult it would be to notify an owner when a boat is to be hauled. I think it’s likely that the yard crew does not know of the request made to the manager… The crew gets a list of boasts to haul and likely are trying to get them done as fast as possible… so even taking pics would be a distraction.
    However, I think the request is reasonable and can and should be accommodated. Many don’t care… I do. When I motored the boat to a yard for a short haul etc… I do get to see haul and launch. Live aboards always see this…
    I note as well that yards don’t like to do work when owners are there either…
    I did a video or my mast being stepped… it took less than 25 minutes.

  10. ValkyrieYachts says:

    Hi Ben
    I am not a sales person for the company, just a happy customer, so cannot give you the technical answer, but if I remember the info correctly, the chemical when exposed to sunlight releases hydrogen peroxide which creates a chemical barrier.

  11. ePaint says:

    Hi Ben:
    Hydrogen peroxide, a naturally occurring chemical derived from water and oxygen, is generated in the presence of sunlight by photoactive pigments in the paint. Hydrogen peroxide deters fouling organisms from settling on the hull.

  12. Sheldon Haynie says:

    So is this paint compatible for CA use and/or depth/speed Transducers?
    I have a severe fouling problem on my scanning sonar and would also like to use it on my paddlewheels if compatible.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sheldon, I’m pretty sure that the Valkyrie Yachts guy who had such good ePaint performance is in southern CA:
    My question for ePaint is how well that photoactive process works in the cold dark waters of northern New England?
    I’m also curious about the active ingredients in Prop Glop, which don’t seem to be listed anywhere. It’s meant primarily to be applied underwater and according to an Amazon user it burns if you get it on your skin.

  14. Sheldon Haynie says:

    That’s possible, but its also possible that it’s not shippable to Sunny CA, it turns out the water based transducer paint that West carries is not…
    And as regards Photoactive, I can see so many questions on that efficacy for boats stored under shed roofs, with tall neighbors to the South and that are at higher latitudes moored East/West.

  15. ValkyrieYachts says:

    Hi Ben
    Sorry I could not respond yesterday I was on the water all day.
    You are close – Valkyrie Yacht Sales is a sister company that is a Boat and yacht Brokerage. Valkyrie Yachts ( is a charter, training and delivery service. We are based in Southern CA. While we are affiliated with Valkyrie Yacht Sales, I leave the selling to the experts there and I tell people that I just drive boats! 🙂
    I just returned from Newport (CA) where we had Valkyrie bottom painted again with the EPaint. What attracted us to EPaint was that the Coast Guard fast boats use the same paint. Valkyrie runs frequently at 25-30kts and the need for a smooth clean bottom but still excellent antifouling is critical.

  16. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks for the updates, ValkyrieYachts!
    Sheldon, the completely non-metallic water-based Hydrocoat Eco paint I’m using goes over transducers no problem, and here’s a West Marine video showing it going on a boat in Alameda, CA:
    (Note that West also failed to use a 3/16-inch nap roller instead of the 3/8 that comes in their paint kits, so I’m not the only one to publicly screw up the application 😉
    I’d guess that non-metallic water-based EPaints can also go over transducers safely.

  17. Hi Ben,
    Interesting mod to your Fatty Knees – I really like the idea of using those larger hatches for access – the round access plate we have now up forward is hard to use (we keep an anchor & rode under there). The little ditty bag is useful for a strobe lite, spare plug and the (laminated) registration, tho.
    Do you think the hatches are strong enough (and watertight enough) to stay intact in a rollover swamping event?

  18. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Hartley,
    The Bomar 901348 and 901349 inspection hatches I used…
    …seem pretty well made. While I’d trust them more to be waterproof when fully submerged if they had two latches instead of one, I’m not too worried about that.
    I gave up on a water tight rear seat when I cut holes for the pump strainer and solar panel cable (and said to heck with it on the forward seat too, with a low limber hole for drainage). I think that the five adult PFDs in those lockers will provide a fair bit of flotation if it ever came to that, and the pump is working splendidly.
    The pump has not only taken recent thunderstorm deluges down below the floorboards but when I step in and aft, it completes the job in seconds. It’s a special thrill when dinghy owners all around are bent over hand pumps, and then I zip away Torqeedo style with dry feet 😉

  19. Sounds good enuff to me.. 🙂 We will be holding position this fall for a bit (bottom paint, etc.) and I’ll work on it then. I think I’ll skip the pump installation, though – our Fatty Knees 9 spends most of it’s life upside-down on the foredeck, so it only gathers rain occasionally. I will probably install some cleats or hold-downs up forward to keep the anchor & rode from rattling around when we flip her. I may epoxy in a waterproof box for the docs and small parts that currently live in the ditty bag (and that ditty bag is NOT waterproof!).
    If I do the aft seat, it will be to stuff in as many PFDs as I can. 🙂
    We have never swamped ours – even under sail with a big dog aboard – but it never hurts to be prepared. I may even put in a flare kit+ if I can protect it well enuff (sorta like the bag of safety stuff we carry on our kayaks when out & about).

  20. By the way – fair warning – we are on the right coast now instead of the left – currently in the Southern Chesapeake, but headed Northward. We should be up North of Cape Cod at the end of July sometime. We are going to stop & visit my Dad in Portsmouth, but we’ll be up your way sometime in August, so look out for a big sailboat scouting you out 🙂

  21. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    That’s great, Hartley. Let me know when you’re around and try to get into Camden Inner Harbor if you can. The outer mooring field and anchorage are beautiful too, but sometimes rolly.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.