Ask Sail: What Paint Comes After VC 17?

I recently bought a used Ranger 26, and as far as I know the bottom was painted with Interlux VC 17. The previous owner raced the boat, but I don’t plan to
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Mike Bonny, Columbus, Ohio

Q: I recently bought a used Ranger 26, and as far as I know the bottom was painted with Interlux VC 17. The previous owner raced the boat, but I don’t plan to. During the sailing season (May through October), it is docked in Sandusky on the south shore of Lake Erie, where it sits idle for extended periods. It spends the winter months (November through April) on the hard in its cradle outside after a power wash at haul-out. Can I use a copolymer ablative paint, such as Micron CSC or Micron Extra, over the existing VC 17 paint? I’m hoping this would better protect against marine growth and last more than three or four years. I used Micron CSC on the previous boat I owned (a Santana 21) with very good results under the same conditions.

Don Casey Replies

A: You cannot put any paint over VC 17 except more VC 17. Fortunately, it is a fairly easy paint to remove. What remains after a vigorous power wash can usually be removed with acetone, xylene or even denatured alcohol and a bag of rags. (You will need both skin and lung protection if you use these solvents.) It can also be sanded off, typically quite easily. Some yards won’t guarantee such work, because of the possibility of residual Teflon from the VC 17. However, in my experience, if you wipe with a solvent, sand and then wipe with solvent again, you are unlikely to have adherence problems. As for your paint choice, if you were happy with your experience with Micron CSC, that is as good a recommendation as you can get. Given the same conditions, there’s no reason it should not perform equally well on your new boat.

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Photo by Peter Neilsen

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