Friday, April 4, 2014

Seahawk Antifouling Paint - A Product View

Brett and Bella Vita back in 2012 prior to our departure.

Bella Vita coming out of the water in New Zealand.
Before we left in late summer of 2012, we hauled out to renew our bottom paint.  At the time I was still working at Fisheries Supply and so had a lot of contacts in the marine industry - one of which was Tony Bulpin, West Coast representative for Seahawk paint.  I was very curious about Seahawk as I'd been watching our sales of the product go up and up - so we offered to be a "test" boat for their paint as we would be passing through a variety of waters and putting on a LOT of miles.  After talking extensively with Tony, we all decided that Seahawk Cukote, with a biocide booster additive would be just the ticket to carry us across the many miles we would travel to New Zealand.

Note the mud and growth along the
hull - not there 3 months prior...
Seahawk Cukote is a semi-ablative bottom paint loaded with cuprous oxide (aka copper) that is supposed to be a little bit harder than most ablative paints.  We applied two coats over the entire bottom with one extra coat at the waterline.  We were a little concerned that so many miles would cause an ablative paint to slough off too quickly, but Tony was convinced Seahawk Cukote would perform well. 

After 10,000 miles I'm happy to say that Tony was right!  When you are traveling as many miles as we did this last season, it's very important that the boat stays protected.  Over time the bottom would develop a thin layer of slime (completely normal with all bottom paints), but it would remove easily by simply wiping it with a cloth - considered normal maintenance for cruisers.  When we were getting ready to leave for New Zealand we did this process one last time (as NZ is pretty picky about how clean your bottom is when you arrive) and took a close look at how the paint was aging.....and it looked GREAT!  We still had plenty of coverage and almost zero growth - very pleasing results after thousands of miles!

Bella Vita post-power wash - MUCH better!!!
We arrived in New Zealand and immediately took our boat to the Town Basin Marina in Whangarei, where we left it on pile moorings for three months.  This is some of the most disgusting water we've seen in our travels - it's considered "brackish" (a combination of salt and fresh water) and is so muddy and dirty that you can only see about 3 inches deep.  On top of that, the water is VERY shallow, so you're often resting in the mud at low tide.  We were a little worried about the effect that would have on Bella Vita's bottom, especially since she hadn't sat ANYWHERE for that long since we've owned her.

Even after sanding to prep for new paint, note the
amazing amount of coverage still on the hull, which means
very little paint sloughed off over 18 months on the go.
The morning of the haulout arrived and unfortunately the bottom did have a pretty thick coating of mud and we were a little dismayed to see quite a bit of growth on the hull.  This had happened in just three short months???  But I'm relieved to report that all the new growth came right off with a power wash - so no big deal in the end.

Bottom line?  We are now firm believers in Seahawk paint and feel it's every bit as good as what is being offered by Pettit and International (Interlux).  We strongly encourage any sailors to give it a try as the price is usually competitive and even in a variety of different waters - ranging from cold (Northwest) to warm (Tonga), the paint performed equally well.  If you give it a try we think you'll be happy with the results.

Bella Vita with her new paint - Seahawk Biocop.
In fact we were so impressed that we've put it on again and will continue to see how it performs over the next two years.  We did make one small adjustment - this year we applied Biocop which from what I understand is basically the same paint as Cukote, but with the extra Bioboost already added - much easier!

We'd like to thank Seahawk Paint, and specifically Tony Bulpin and Nigel Hood (the New Zealand Seahawk representative) for educating us about Seahawk products and for letting us test your paint.  If our readers have any questions about our experience with Seahawk paints, please don't hesitate to ask in the comment section below.
Cukote’s high loading of cuprous oxide makes this formulation a top performer, even in the most severe fouling areas. As an ablative, self-polishing coating, there is no buildup of bottom paint over time. Your hull's underwater surface remains smooth and clean. Cukote copolymer can also withstand removal from water without affecting its antifouling properties. Cukote is the premium self-polishing antifouling paint that has established the standard in the industry. - See more at:

Bella Vita ready to face the ocean again.

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