Sunny, very little wind. It finally was a good chance to paint with epoxi the hull and paint with antifouling.
Here the steps:
Build a shield against dust, direct sun and insects
Paint 4 layers epoxy International VC Tar
Insertion of rudder axle
Application of anti-fouling International VC17m
Re-positioning the boat
Sanding, epoxi and paint where the boat was leaning and under the keel
Final layer of anti-fouling VC17m
Protecting the hull from debris has been critical as the epoxy becomes very soon sticky and any dust coming from other boat owner sanding their boats or insects due to the spring warmth remains attached and embedded in the plastic. On the other hand it is critical that either the structure supporting the tarpaulins is stable or the day is without wind in order to avoid the tarpaulin itself getting attached to the hull (which of course happened).
The first layer of anti-fouling paint was applied after 5 hours, with a hard foundation, but not yet as slippery as glass!
The day after completing the second layer I have order the a repositioning of the boat 15cm ahead and with a different leaning point for the keel. At this point in just 2 days I managed to scrape off the old paint from where the hull was initially leaning, sand it, 4 layers epoxy as well as 2 layers vc17m.
Unfortunately some of the epoxy has crept under the masking tape and cannot be removed without scratching the hull, therefore I am now scratching my head about how to solve the problem.
Finally spring is in the air. The temperature swings between 6 and 9 degrees Celsius.
The keel has been sanded with sand paper grit 80. Rust spots have been sanded away to bare metal and painted with two component epoxy primer International VC TAR2.
Next step is to putty where rust has been sanded as well as firing the keel. In order to bring up the temperature I have hanged a plastic tarpaulin around the keel and held it down with some wooden boards. This reduces chilling effect of the wind, dispersion of heat inside the space as well as greenhouse effect since the sun is still relatively low and light goes through the plastic.
A air heater has ben placed inside the space to reduce humidity and increase air temperature whilst an infrared heater set to warm up the huge iron keel. The effect of this last step is crucial as it increases induced warmth on the surface where the putty will be laid as well as making the keel work as a radiator and holding warmth up over night.
I have used West System putty with fast hardener that works down to 5 degrees Celsius. I found it very easy to apply with a small putty spade and a large one for fairing. The dough must be thick enough to to stay where it is spread. The putty was workable for about 20 minutes before going to gel phase and no longer applicable. To facilitate sanding afterwards and increase consistency I used microballoons mixed with the putty. It required quite a lot of it to provide the right thickness. West System sells separately pumps to provide the correct amount of base and hardener. Works wonderfully!
During last autumn I have set out with a ”small” project, or at least that is what I thought then, to give a refresh to Veloce’s bottom. As I had notice that the paint coming off in some areas close to waterline and on the keel, I decided to remove the old one and start afresh.
What I will do
removal of self-polishing anti-fouling Hempel Mille
fairing the hull, keel and rudder
redefining keel and rudder trailing edges
painting with International VC TAR – 5 layers with alternating colors
painting with International VC 17 grey
Here’s how I went about the first step and part of the second:
After countless trials and change of tools I finally found the right equipment, or what worked best for me anyway.
I scraped off the entire bottom paint with a Bahco paint scraper, with 3 blades: flat wide, triangular and pear shaped. Quite pricey, but worth every cent. You probably need to give a try to a cheap one for understanding what I am talking about.
I then sanded everything with an oscillating sander from Bosh and grit 120/180. I tried not to go through the existing epoxy layers, however I found that in spite of the nice smoothness, I was not satisfied with the surface fairness and since I already employed some 150h work, it was worth doing a really good job. I used a hand sander with a long base (70cm) to resand the entire bottom (except keel) with grit 180/240. This gave a very good surface.
I then resanded everything with the oscillating sander grit 420/600.
In spite of the painstakingly slow and painful work I found that countless hours staring at a grey mass is very much comparable to meditating or performing yoga. Thankfully audiobooks exist nowadays.
The keel has some rust stains and the metal has a very unfair surface and very thick trailing edge. I then decided to sort that out to get my mind at peace. Because of the epoxy application temperature, I am waiting a few more weeks for the job and the description of the process. I suppose that when I will be to it, I will refresh the rudder trailing edge as well.