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Old 31 March 2016, 15:54   #1
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Coppercoat application to a RIB - a report

I made a decision last season to antifoul my RIB. She lives on a mooring for 5-6 months in the summer and washing her hull regularly wasn't practical any more (our slipway is now used by a regular car ferry). After much reading and discussion with owners who had taken the leap previously I opted to Coppercoat her. My decision was based almost entirely on my lack of enthusiasm for cleaning and painting her every season - if my health and luck holds, the remainder of my ownership should be painting free!

It was clear from the Coppercoat website that good preparation and perfect working conditions were essential if the application was to be a success so I laid my plans carefully.

This is my story
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Old 31 March 2016, 16:11   #2
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Coppercoat is a two part waterbased epoxy affair into which copper dust is added before application. Good hull preparation, dry conditions, reasonable warmth and time to harden before contact are all important. The RIB is 10m so it was a challenge find the right place. Well, I knew where the right place was - but would they let/help me paint the old skow in the middle of their DreamWorks during a mad busy December? It was always worth a call....

....and perhaps it was 'cos it was the week before Christmas, but whatever the reason I got a green light from Redbay Boats - the fitout hall was at my disposal. I said goodbye to Missus willk, pressganged one of my Flying Test Monkeys and headed East - in the back of the pickup was a pile of painting gear and 800 worth of Coppercoat in a VERY small box!

I arrived to find the willkcraft suspended in midair by a pair of McLaughlin Skyhooks - the entire hull free to paint. Score! A team of lads had replaced the keelguard for me and laser levelled the waterline for masking. Thanks guys!

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Old 31 March 2016, 16:14   #3
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Coppercoat Ltd.

Coppercoat the company were very good to work with. They have a video that explains the process and will talk directly to the client about what to do and watch out for. I found it to be good advice and I can't fault them. They supplied the rollers and stirrers too - I couldn't think of a reason to look for alternatives here in Ireland.

However, for the RIB painter - things are not entirely by the book so I am going to share my experiences here - perhaps they will assist those who follow.
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Old 31 March 2016, 16:27   #4
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Hull form

Coppercoat show you a video of a nice big smooth yacht getting painted. If there was one time in my life I was going to be sorry about not owning a yacht - this was it!

The Coppercoat kit included an agreed number of big and small rollers. Turns out that big rollers are very poor at dealing with the many chines and spray rails on a RIB! It was necessary to use the small roller on the bumps and rapidly follow with a big roller for the larger flat surfaces. So - buy lots of small rollers - more than they recommend! Also - use a short handled roller - the long ones are a PITA! Coppercoat tell you not to use a brush - I didn't.
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Old 31 March 2016, 16:33   #5
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Mixing/Curing

The product mixes as per the blurb - no issues but it takes a little bit of time. The copper immediately begins to settle out of suspension so you need to follow the instructions to avoid this. Curing is quick. We were working at 16.5C with humidity below 50% (Thank you Redbay) so it was quite fast - maybe an hour at most. As it goes off, it thickens in the pot and tacks up on the hull. It rolls on easily and doesn't tend to drip. Thin fast coats is the way to go.

Once applied to a section of hull - DO NOT paint over again until it has tacked off - you'll lift epoxy - keep going and give a thicker coat on the next pass.

It's worth mentioning that the successive coats must applied to a tacky layer - not in any way wet or it will lift, but not hardened either, or it will not bond properly.
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Old 31 March 2016, 17:34   #6
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Time

So you mix the first pot and begin. The first coat will look thin and very poor. Do not re-cover but continue painting. Depending on how long the complete hull takes you may have to wait for the tack to form, or you may have to keep painting in case it actually hardens! I was the later case. A small, simple hull would warrant a wait but it will depend on how long you take to get around. Too much product mixed and you will lose it in the pot as it goes off - not a risk for us but a small boat could do with half mixes.

The second coat will look better but patchy. The third looks good. The job needs 5 or 6 coats to work. As the coats go on, each layer is thicker as the tacky surface grabs the paint. So you will use more for the second and third coats - but much the same for the remainder. As the epoxy tacks it changes from a pinkish tone to a beautiful copper so you can see where you've been. That said, we were working in a well lit workshop but I found portable floodlight a huge help as the product is dark and the contrast can be poor.
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Old 31 March 2016, 17:43   #7
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All hands

Time is the killer on this job. I can't emphasise enough that it will be trickier than you expect. You will need more help than you think! A spare worker would have really helped us - even just to spell a man to take a break. I wasn't able to lift my arm to wave goodbye at the end of it.

The mixing and stirring is bigged up by Coppercoat as the timewaster - but we found it OK. What snookered us was working the chines and planes together with two rollers (small and big) - it was just tricky and slow at times, but we stuck at it. Remember you have to get the product on the hull in a continuous rolling process - so the two painters have to work very closely together - no running ahead for the wee roller guy!

I'd recommend setting up a page of notes too - times and coats sort of stuff. You'll soon lose track otherwise.
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Old 31 March 2016, 17:47   #8
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We were SO LUCKY that Redbay agreed to host our work. Without the boat lifted I can't see how traditional sectional painting would work. I've antifouled on a roller trailer previously and it would have been impossible. You simply couldn't have physically moved fast enough underneath and then the patches would have to be done - a fkkn nightmare!

We got the whole thing nailed in one go - magic, thanks to Tom & Gary

To cap it, they left her in the warm dry fitout hall for nearly four days, so she got time to harden and cure. You're not supposed to trailer for 72 hours so we were good there.
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Old 31 March 2016, 17:55   #9
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The result

After the masks were removed, the final result was good. You'd know it had been rollered on, but the finish was similar to conventional antifoul. I would prefer to have had it sprayed on, but no-one in Ireland would take it on - whatever. It looks OK, if you like dark coppery brown. We'll see what colour it goes in the water. Other coppercoated local boats have stayed quite olively brown and not gone the blue-green colour seen elsewhere. I'll need to burnish it with wet & dry before launch to expose the copper powder. Also the drive leg and a few hull fittings will need a coat of conventional antifoul. Manufacturers are still lairy of contact between coppercoat and their metals - although Coppercoat say it is safe as the copper is non-conductive within the epoxy base.
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Old 31 March 2016, 18:03   #10
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Tips

  • Get lots of small rollers
  • Use short handled rollers
  • Get a decent place to work
  • Get the air conditions right - warm and dry
  • Get the boat lifted with good access below it
  • Have lot of light
  • Get more help
  • Have food and drinks on site - you may not be leaving for a while!
  • Plan the painting process carefully - have everything you need handy
  • Prep properly - it's meant to be a lifetime job, so do it as well as you can - key that hull like a Boss and clean it well too.
  • Bring some small mixing pots - in case you have to divide batches
  • If you can - have it sprayed by pros.
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Old 31 March 2016, 18:20   #11
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I'll report back over the season. I expect to loose a little top end speed, but that's swings and roundabouts for me as a few weeks of weed and "Barney McCools" will slow her anyway. I was seeing major loss of performance after 20-23 days last season. How the antifoul properties hold up is obviously critical. I've made my bed and I'll have to lie in it - we'll see how she looks after a month in the salt!
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Old 01 April 2016, 01:43   #12
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No Pictures ?
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Old 01 April 2016, 02:39   #13
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Did you not hear the man he was too busy rolling

TSM
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Old 01 April 2016, 03:19   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two stroke mick View Post
Chris

Did you not hear the man he was too busy rolling

TSM
Or Typing!?
Good advice though
...specially the bit about getting it sprayed by Pros!
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Old 01 April 2016, 04:43   #15
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Perhaps a comprehensive set of before and after pictures might be a good thing ! When we bought the Ribcraft it was already antifouled because it was moored in a river . A number of folk suggested to us that antifouling might be used to hide minor problems on the hull . Now I don't give this theory much creedence at all myself because I can't really believe it would either work or be the right thing to do . Clearly though a number people might suspect it ? A good set of photos might just help when the time comes to sell her on ?
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Old 01 April 2016, 07:12   #16
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Quote:
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No Pictures ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by two stroke mick View Post
Chris

Did you not hear the man he was too busy rolling
Yup! Flat out against the clock and covered in pink epoxy (my barber was quite distressed afterwards) - camera stayed in the bag!
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Perhaps a comprehensive set of before and after pictures might be a good thing ! ....A number of folk suggested to us that antifouling might be used to hide minor problems on the hull . Now I don't give this theory much creedence at all ....A good set of photos might just help when the time comes to sell her on ?
Such photos are in my possession. But they don't actually prove anything do they? You'd need a video of a pristine hull being painted and it could STILL get damaged afterwards and repainted.

In any case, I suspect that the majority of RIBs of this size are kept afloat so antifoul is fairly much par for the course. I allowed that if someone was bright enough to be concerned about hull damage then they would be bright enough to appreciate that a 80 bucket of Cruiser Uno would hide as much naughtiness as 800 of Coppercoat. Again, if the coppercoat is still working when/if* I sell it then some may see it as an advantage?


*Missus willk has been informed that if I pop my clogs any time soon then I want a Viking Funeral - strap me to the helm, point me West and light the tar barrel...

She replied "Why wait?"
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Old 01 April 2016, 07:21   #17
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So when do we actually get to see a picture of your pride and joy. I don't think I ever have...
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Old 01 April 2016, 09:22   #18
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Quote:
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I'll report back over the season. I expect to loose a little top end speed, but that's swings and roundabouts for me as a few weeks of weed and "Barney McCools" will slow her anyway. I was seeing major loss of performance after 20-23 days last season. How the antifoul properties hold up is obviously critical. I've made my bed and I'll have to lie in it - we'll see how she looks after a month in the salt!
Nice job Willk.
I found the coppercoating reduced top speed by 3 knots.
You were lucky with the hoist, i had to rock the boat on the trailer from one side to the other, and then jack up the ends.
Hard work especially single handed.
But very pleased with the results the last few years.
A light power wash after a year on water to remove a very light covering of scum - no Barneys at all.
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Old 01 April 2016, 09:30   #19
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i had to rock the boat on the trailer from one side to the other, and then jack up the ends.
Hard work especially single handed.
I heard - and I felt your pain! Hopefully the Barney McCools in the Swilly will be as unhappy as those in the Irish Sea were...
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Old 02 April 2016, 03:17   #20
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Good post wilk.

So did you gain or loose any top speed?
How smooth is the finish?
I presume it was a virgin hull?

One of my key priorities is smoothness, and top speed. I have the product, almost all ready to go, I paid a lot less for it though. 6 kits enough for a 8.1m?
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