Q & A — June 2002
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Part 2: Good bottom painting, homemade hygrometer holder
are the basics for getting a good bottom painting on a fiberglass boat?
B.H., via e-mail
Whether you're doing this yourself or hiring someone, knowing some basic tips will ensure a good job. If you're going with the same paint that was previously used, there should be no compatibility problem. However, if you've chosen to switch, you will have to apply a conversion coat first.
If the existing paint is in fairly good shape, first make sure the surface is clean and free of contaminants like loose paint and grease that will lead to adhesion failure. Start by sanding with 80-grit paper, followed by a thorough wipe-down with a solvent recommended by your paint manufacturer to remove residue. Two coats of bottom paint should suffice, but make sure the first coat is thoroughly dry before applying the second.
If your bottom paint is in poor condition and needs to be removed, once again sand with 80-grit, then clean the bottom of any residue with the recommended solvent. As fiberglass is prone to osmotic blistering, the better bottom painting systems supply a special protective coat that you should apply to bare fiberglass before the bottom paint. Of course, if you discover any blisters at or below the waterline, you must repair them before applying any paint.
Make sure to thoroughly stir any paint before applying it and throughout the job, since bottom paint contains heavy materials that easily settle. Use the paint full-strength--do not thin--and apply it with a wide brush or a solvent-resistant roller with 5⁄16- or 3⁄8-inch nap. You may want to apply an extra coat to areas such as the waterline (including the transom area), keel, leading and trailing edges, and rudders, where more wear tends to occur.
I am fairly consistent about checking the specific gravity of all my batteries. As I need my hydrometer at the ready, I would like to know if there is some sort of holder on the market that allows easy access instead of going to the tool box. A.N., via e-mail
I don't know of any holder on the market, but I made a handy tool rack out of several pieces of PVC pipe, and you could easily adapt the design to hold a hydrometer.
Make sure the tube is long enough to protect the glass and rubber tip and that the diameter allows the bulb to protrude from the top. Secure the pipe to a nearby bulkhead with either a pair of screws or strips of hook-and-loop fasteners.
Need help with a maintenance problem? Write to Maintenance Q & A, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.