Wednesday, March 28


Thanks to everyone who came out for Yachtapalooza this year! We had a blast, and hope you did too.

There were lots of great seminars, rows of vendors, trucks full of food, and of course every boaters' favorite sale; our VC17 Special.

However, charity is never forgotten. The Nautical Donations flea market was bustling all day, we were visited by Jennifer from ROW 4 ROW, and we helped raise money for the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation in an unusual way. We hope you all enjoyed a chance to dunk Cary in our Henri Lloyd Drysuit. It was for a good cause, we swear!

The weather was the best we've had for this party in years. Which would have been remarkable had it not been for the two weeks of unseasonably gorgeous weather we had before...

And with such a great turn out, we had some very crowded seminars. John Stanis' annual Bleedin' Diesel, Jon Paige's Rig Tuning, Jayne Parker's Teak Maintenance, and Andrew Spaulding's Charts and Dead Reckoning were all standing room only.

We had demonstrations of how to blow up a life raft, how to put out a diesel fire, and how to choose the right fire extinguisher for your boat. And don't forget the model boat regatta. Congrats to our winners! 

A big shout out needs to go to our workers in the store. Our VC17 Sale is the biggest of the whole year. And as expected, we were very busy. But everything went well. We peddled in paint and smiles.

So if you missed out this year, you'll just have to join us next year! We look forward to seeing you there.

Product of the Month – VC-17m Extra

By Andrew Spaulding, Crowley’s Yacht Yard, Asst. Production Manger.

Last week I wrote about bottom paint application and I mentioned two of the bottom paint products that we see all the time around the yard at Crowley’s. One of them was VC-17m Extra and this week I am going to take some time to look at it more closely.

There are many types of bottom paint: modified epoxies, ablative, co-polymer, and thin film to name a few. There are multiple biocides: cuprous oxide, cuprous thiocyanate, Econea (a non-metallic organic compound developed by a pharmaceutical company) and others. Various paints have different concentrations of biocide and these days slime fighting additives are in vogue.

How is the discerning boat owner to wade through all of this and figure out what to put on his bottom? The best advice is to ask around. Different paints work better than others in particular areas. So if your dock neighbor uses “XYZ” paint and that paint’s characteristics work for you, by all means, use it. Be sure to seek out boat owners that use their boat the way you use yours. If you want to get to the fish fastest, ask the guys that get there first what they use. For racing sailboats, ask last year’s winner of the big regatta how they prep their bottom for the racing season.

Going fast in sailboats and powerboats starts with a clean, smooth, and fair bottom. This principle works for airplanes, automobiles and boats. Hard, smooth bottom paint is the best way to provide anti-fouling properties with a low-drag surface. Many of the best sailboat racers on Lake Michigan use VC-17m Extra to achieve this goal. Powerboaters don’t be afraid to take this page from the sailors…less drag means fuel savings for the same speed.

There have been several formulations of VC-17 over the years and Interlux’s current formula works great in freshwater and there is anecdotal evidence that it also works in low-growth salt water areas, so don’t worry about having VC-17 on the bottom if you have future plans to ship the boat out to the coast for an important regatta. However, if you do this be sure to have the bottom scrubbed weekly if you leave the boat unattended. Salt water hard shell organisms grow fast particularly in warm water and once their shells harden there is a lot of work to return the bottom to its pristine state.

Slime is the soft growth that occurs near the waterline. VC-17 has Biolux in it which pretty effectively controls slime. The slime along the water line is caused by different organisms than we’ve fought for years on the rest of the bottom, hence the need for new biocides. Since the demands of modern life keep us away from taking our boats out on the lake, waterline slime has become more of an issue. Biolux works ok, but don’t expect it to work wonders if you never take your boat out.

VC-17m Extra also has in it what Interlux is calling a “fluoro micro-additive”. “Fluoro” refers to the chemical prefix of a family of compounds, fluorocarbons, the most famous of which is Teflon, made by DuPont. The fluoro micro-additive works as advertised to reduce friction between the hull and the water.

Of course, even with fluorocarbons on your side, the only way to a smooth, fast, low-drag bottom is preparation. Last week I wrote about masking and taping the bottom for painting (if you missed the article, you can catch up below) and while that is important prepping the surface properly is the only way to get the fastest bottom possible. In the business, we look for a “fair” bottom. By fair, I mean a “streamlined” bottom. Smooth is great but removing high and low spots to make a “fair” surface is the ultimate goal. Making a boat move as fast as possible through the water is an in-depth topic that uses hydrodynamics and is outside of the scope of this article…perhaps we will discuss this further in a future newsletter.

VC-17m Extra uses a thin film technology so when it is applied it goes on the hull of the boat very thin. The paint is self-leveling as well which makes application a little different than typical paints. The paint also dries very quickly which doesn’t help if you are not used to applying it. One of the big benefits of using VC-17m Extra is the reapplication process. As long at the boat had a good powerwash in the fall, it shouldn’t need additional cleaning, but I would give it a wipe with Interlux Special Thinner 216 to remove any dirt and dust that accumulated over the winter. During the wipe down, check the bottom for any loose or flaking paint. Remove any such paint with a scraper or 320 grit sand paper. Smooth the entire area with 320 grit and wipe down the surface with the 216. Now you are ready for paint.

The trick to applying VC-17m Extra well is to roll the paint on quickly, in long strokes from the bottom (center seam of the boat) up to the waterline. Do not roll over the recently applied paint. The solvents in the roller will dissolve the partially dried paint peeling it off the hull. Since the paint evaporates so quickly, it is important to only put a roller’s worth in the pan at a time and make sure that the cover is on the can when not in use.

A typical problem people have applying VC-17m is not applying enough. The thin film technology works so well some owners are not putting enough paint on the boat. Interlux recommends using a short nap (3/16 or 1/4 inch) solvent resistant roller. How much paint to use:  length over all times the beam times 0.85 equals a good approximation of the wetted surface area of the boat in square feet. For VC-17m, make sure that you are applying a full quart over 85 square feet of bottom (other paints have different recommended coverage). For example, a Tartan Ten has a LOA of 33’ and a beam of 9.25’, so 33’ x 9.25’ x 0.85 = 259.4625 sq ft / 85 sq ft per quart = 3.05 quarts. Remember you will need more than this because a certain amount is left on the rollers, brushes, in the paint pan and can, and there will be some left on the drop cloth. Also, the paint dries very quickly so even an experienced applicator can use more on a hot day.

If you want to switch to VC-17m Extra from another bottom paint, the old paint needs to be fully removed. The only exceptions to this case are VC-Offshore and Baltoplate. Other vinyl anti-fouling paints may be ok, I would check with Interlux (great customer service at the toll-free number and online in the forums: to make sure. The best idea if you cannot 100% identify what is on the boat, is to remove it. Trust me; this will be much easier on your psyche than dealing with the mess that will result if you apply VC-17 over an unapproved paint.

In the case that you’ve purchased a new boat and the dealer has left the application of bottom paint up to you there is a procedure to follow. The new hull must be de-waxed. Straight from the factory, there will be traces of mold release wax on the hull that needs removal prior to bottom painting. Or, if the boat was in a showroom or at a boat show the bottom may have been waxed. Either way, start with soap and water and a stiff scrub brush. After a good scrubbing and fresh water rinse, wipe the hull down with Interlux Solvent Wash 202 to remove any residual wax.

Once the hull is de-waxed you will need to sand it to give the paint something to hang onto which brings up an issue. Most boat manufacturers say that sanding the bottom will void the hull warranty. The problem is that without sanding the bottom paint won’t stick. There are primers available that allow you skip the sanding, but in my experience they don’t work that well...even experienced applicators have failures from time to time. Depending on your manufacturer’s hull warranty and your personal feelings regarding hull warranties you may elect to have your dealer apply the bottom paint. If you decide to sand, go with 180 or 220 grit. After sanding, wipe the bottom down with the Solvent Wash 202 and you are ready for paint.

My favorite (and I think best way) to apply bottom paint to a new hull is to use Interlux InterProtect 2000E as a primer coat. This process has lots of its own methodology…keep your eye out for a future newsletter that deals with 2000E or send me a note and we can go over this individually.

As always, let me know if I can help you enjoy your boat more!

Sunday, March 25

Launch Season is Right Around the Corner

The docks are starting to go in the water at Crowley's Yacht Yard! This time-lapse video was shot by Rigging Manager, Jon Paige, from the crane.

Wednesday, March 21

How to Bottom Paint - Tricks of the Trade

By Andrew Spaulding, Crowley’s Yacht Yard Asst. Production Manger

You might think that the differences in one bottom paint job to another wouldn’t add up to much and at one point in my life I would’ve agreed. But as it turns out there are a number of handy “tricks of the trade” that make a carefully applied bottom paint job better.

A Professionally Applied VC-17 Race Bottom
First off, taping and masking the areas where you don’t want the paint is the key to a professional looking job. It may seem like the taping and masking is a waste of time, but unless you are a professional painter (or artist) you won’t have enough control over the paint brush to keep the edge smooth and sharp. Of course, if I’m going to spend this much time discussing the need to tape, I’m going to have an opinion about which tape to use!

Just like many other tasks certain tapes are made for certain jobs. We use green tape (3M Scotch Automotive Refinish Masking Tape 233) for most taping jobs. It is conformable and hugs curves and contours pretty well. It doesn’t transfer adhesive to the hull as long as the tape is removed in a day or two. For longer term jobs (particularly outside) it is important to use weather-resistant tape. The advantage is that this type of tape won’t transfer their adhesive to the hull even if left on the boat for days in the direct sun. Regular household beige masking tape will leave adhesive residue very quickly particularly in the presence of moisture (dew) or high heat (sunlight). Our general purpose weather resistant tape is 3M Scotch-Blue Painters Tape 2090 which is commonly referred to as blue tape. According to 3M, blue tape is good for 14 days. In my experience, particularly if rain or heavy moisture is imminent, it is a best practice to remove the tape even if it has only been on for a few days. Once it gets wet, it is likely that the tape backing will separate from the adhesive upon removal leaving a sticky mess on the boat. Cleaning the adhesive off takes so long that I’ve seen many boat owners turn around and hire the boatyard to remove the adhesive in this situation. Trust me…it is less expensive to remove and re-tape the boat!

Now, we are onto the rest of the boat. Take my advice and tape or mask off everything. Unless you cut in with a paint brush for a living, this will make your life easier. Tape off anything that you don’t want to bottom paint by accident, for example, the depth sounder and the speed transducer. If you are using copper-based bottom paint, tape off any thing that isn’t made from copper. This will include sterndrives, saildrives, trim tabs, external strainers and any other external metals. The reason for this is that the copper in the bottom paint will react with the other metals if they are in contact. There are special paints made with special copper compounds or even better without copper in them at all to apply to these items.

Use an appropriate paint for painting underwater metals. Let us know if you need help finding one to use. Before painting under water metals, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for surface preparation. When painting around metal items attached to the hull, the copper-based bottom paint should be isolated from the metal. You will see this in practice around sterndrives where there is a 1” stripe of hull showing before the bottom paint starts.

Don’t be afraid to think “out of the box” when it comes to masking off areas of your boat that you don’t want to bottom paint. For example, masking off the shaft is a pain…you have the opening in the hull to deal with and the strut and prop to cover up. Stealing the aluminum foil out of the kitchen on your way to the boat yard will solve this problem…just crimp the foil around the shaft and prop! Very easy to put on and take off.

The most popular bottom paints at Crowley’s are Interlux’s VC-17m Extra and Fiberglass BottomKote NT (click for data sheet). VC-17m Extra is high performance anti-fouling paint that is very popular with racing sailboats for its low-drag properties. It is becoming more popular with powerboats as they realize that a smooth, low-drag bottom means fuel savings. Fiberglass BottomKote NT is all-purpose bottom paint does a great job in this area. Both paints are quick drying allowing same-day launch or second coat. Before changing to one of these paints (or any bottom paint change) be sure to check Interlux’s compatibility chart as they will not go over all old bottom paints without incident.

As always, if you think about the cleanup process before the job starts you can put a little effort in early that will save tons of time at the end of the job. Be sure to cover the ground with a drop cloth to minimize the bottom paint’s impact on the environment. This step is critical if you are going to scrape or sand the bottom. We strongly recommend the use of vacuum sanders. Also, be sure to wear breathing, eye and skin protection while bottom painting…remember the stuff works because it is poisonous. Put two latex gloves on each hand, that way when you need a clean hand, peel off the outer glove and your hand is clean but still protected. Putting two gloves on will also offer protection should the outer glove get a hole in it. I am a particularly messy painter, so I actually put 4 gloves on my right hand so I can peel to clean several times during a job! By the way, this trick is also great to use when doing anything with 3M 5200.

The only surface preparation required for VC-17m Extra when it is applied over old VC-17m is that the surface must be clean and dry. Sand loose or flaking areas with 320 grit sand paper. Where needed (and after any sanding), clean the surface with Interlux Special Thinner 216. If Fiberglass BottomKote NT is your choice of paint, sand the entire surface with 80 grit sandpaper and wipe the surface clean with Special Thinner 216.

Choosing the correct applicator is very important when it becomes time to actually apply bottom paint. For VC-17m Extra Interlux recommends a solvent resistant roller cover with a short nap. In the Crowley’s Store we sell a red mohair roller cover that fits the bill nicely. It is important to remember to use a solvent-resistant roller cover because the solvents used in VC-17m Extra will quickly destroy a regular roller cover. Look for a phenolic or phenolic-coated roller for this purpose. When it comes to all-purpose bottom paint such as the Fiberglass BottomKote NT a standard 3/8” nap polyester roller will work fine. For brush work inside of thru-hulls and around fittings and other hard to reach places use any brush that fits the job. However, realize that the less expensive the brush, the more likely it is to leave bristles behind in the bottom paint. For the fussy bottom painter a higher quality brush is worth the money in less frustration.

VC-17m Extra dries very quickly. So much so, that it took a recent formula change to make it applicable with a roller. The practical issue that this causes is one where the paint will evaporate from the open can and paint tray very quickly leaving the tray and roller dry. So, be sure to only put a small amount of paint in the paint tray at a time and place the lid back on the can. If you still find the paint drying to quickly, thin the paint to slow the drying time with Interlux V172 thinner. It is important to use the correct thinner for particular bottom paint because different bottom paints use different solvents hence the need for different thinners. For example, Fiberglass BottomKote NT uses Interlux Special 216 or Brush-Ease 433 as a thinner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to using thinners with bottom paint.

When it comes to painting thru-hulls, make sure the seacocks are open if you are going to try to paint up inside them. If the seacock (ball or tapered-cone valve) is closed, the layer of dried paint may prevent the valve from opening when you need it.
If you are going to paint on multiple days, the use of a paint tray liner will save your paint tray for another day without a ton of cleanup. At the end of the day, please do not dispose of liquid paint or solvents in the dumpsters or garbage cans due to fire and environmental hazards. Leave a project to do on the boat after the bottom paint is done, and before you know if the paint and solvents will be dry.

It takes time for the bottom paint to fully harden and it is prior to this that you want to pull the tape off. As soon as the last coat is tacky, pull the tape off carefully. It is possible that pulling the tape off will pull off some of the bottom paint if you allow the paint to harden. If this starts to happen, cut the paint along the tape edge very carefully with a razor blade. Continue to pull the tape carefully and cut the paint as you go to prevent the tape from pulling off the dried bottom paint.

So, that is it for now…you are ready to tackle the time-honored spring chore of bottom paint. If VC-17m Extra is your choice, this Saturday, March 24, 2012 at Crowley’s Yachtapalooza it will be on sale at a price so low we wince every time a quart is sold. Remember a great bottom paint job (like so many things) is possible only after great preparation work. As always, contact us with any questions. Feel free to reach me directly at

Thursday, March 15

Crowley's Drysuit Video Contest Entries!

Ranging from nearly professional video edits to an off-the-cuff, sideways cell phone improv in the office, here are our entries for our 2012 Drysuit Video Competition.

Thanks to all who entered. We'll be announcing the winner at Yachtapalooza and on the Sailing Anarchy front page.

CYC Sailing on Sundays from Shortcake Photography on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 14

Profile of the Month - Boat Hanger

Ed. Note: The rest of the month we are going to concentrate on bottom painting...since it is that time of year again. This week our profile article is about our new "boat hanger". Our How to... newsletter is going to include some tricks of the trade and some best practices for bottom paint application. Our Product of the Month is going to be VC-17 so don't miss that issue. April is going to be rigging month, so send in your "Ask an Expert" questions, click here. Don't worry power-boaters, May is reserved for you. 

Our Yard Manager, Jeff Strunka, realized the need for an additional piece of equipment... something that could hold a boat for a day or two to help finish a bottom job. Previously, the boat would have hung in the Travelift overnight leaving the owner with a very short time window to complete the project. Bad weather or a material shortage could wreck the hang time project meaning a boat either had to launch unprepared for the season or it was going back on the cradle.

Of course, the boat hanger will also be great for our own use to finish bottom jobs. Our fiberglass shop is already planning on using it as a convienent tool to help finish some bottom jobs.

We designed and built the boat hanger to available for an owner to rent for a day or two (or longer) and not have the pressure of meeting the Travelift schedule. It is designed to hold up to 15,000 pounds with a maximum beam of 13.5 feet.

We had a structural engineer make sure that the boat hanger  will hold up under repeated use for many years. It was built on-site by our certified welder, Brian. We are hoping owners will use it to complete their bottom jobs better than ever before.

Renting the boat hanger will cost $200 for the first day and $100 for each additional day. 5 days (one work week) is $500. If you are thinking longer term project, let us customize a price package for you.

We realize that referring to it as the "boat hanger" is cumbersome. So we are having a boat hanger naming contest, where the winner will be able to schedule one day in the hanger for no charge! Limit one entry per boat; send entries to with the name of the boat, your contact information, and your entry!

Thursday, March 8

First Launch of Spring 2012

The season is upon us, beginning with the launch of a 45' USCG Response Boat - Medium from Station Calumet Harbor.

Have you thanked a Coastie today?

Wednesday, March 7

Marine Insurance Q&A

Ask an Expert...Marine Insurance Q&A
by Deane Tank of Tank/Matsock Insurance & Financial Services,

Make sure you are covered for this situation!
For more information please check Deane’s website at For more than 30 years the Tank/Matsock agency has served the insurance and investment needs of its many customers nationwide. The Tank/Matsock agency is an independent insurance agency which offers a carefully selected group of financially sound, reputable insurance companies from which to choose.

1) Why does the cost of insurance go up as the boat ages?
The marine insurance industry claim activity clearly tracks a positive correlation between a boat’s age and its claim activity. So, as a boat ages its claim activity goes up. There are actually several reasons for this correlation. Generally, the increase comes from machinery claims and submersion claims. Both types of claim increases are likely due to the parts of vessels aging such as thru hull fittings, hose clamps, standing rigging and running rigging fittings, and a host of other machinery related parts that fail as a result of age.

The second reason older boats cost more to insure is that there also is a negative correlation between a boat’s age and its market value.  This becomes a problem when a loss results because it costs the same or more to repair the part (or hull) on an old boat as it does on a new vessel. As an example, an older boat may have a style of cleat or toerail that is no longer available, so both sides would need to be replaced to make the boat match port to starboard. In addition, sometimes older boats have a system that is no longer made. For example, older rigging tang styles (attachment points for shrouds) are no longer manufactured, so both sides of the rigging would need to be replaced were one damaged.

Thirdly, since the value of the boat is decreasing as it ages and it costs the same or higher to repair, the insurance company must now charge a higher rate (per $100 of insured value) for older boats than for new boats to compensate for the same partial loss claim costs.

Lastly, also note that in the cases where the deductible is a percentage of hull value that the deductible on a new boat is going to be higher and the deductible on an aging boat will be shrinking as the value declines. This situation also adds to the rising claim costs on older boats.

2) Do you have to disclose live aboard status, if applicable?

General answer is that most boat/yacht insurance applications do ask the question. They do so because  the insurance companies are concerned with the increased opportunity for claim activity due to the exposure of increased or constant use by the live aboard’s activities such as cooking, increased electrical usage, space heaters, electronics use, etc.

If the applicant states they do not live aboard the vessel when in fact they do live aboard. This would be grounds for misrepresentation and could result in the declination of coverage or claim.

3)        What are the minimum insurance requirements for most marinas?

Generally speaking on a case by case basis it would be $500,000 dollars. Some might be as high as $1,000,000. It is also safe to say that most marinas would also be looking to be named as an additional insured as well.

Ed. Note: For winter storage Crowley’s required $1,000,000 liability and named as additional insured.

4)         How does salvage coverage work? Is it part of my regular policy?

Ed. Note: We asked Deane to answer this question after we had a few customers left having to cover salvage costs out of their hull policies. For your protection, please make sure you have the proper coverage for this type of loss.

Most yacht policies have a section identified as “Protection and Recovery Expense / Salvage Coverage”.

According to Maritime “salvage” law the award for a successful maritime salvage can be up to the full value of the vessel and its contents. Disregard contents for our application as salvage law was originally designed to provide financial incentive to salvors to (go out and risk their own life and limb and vessel) to rescue a vessel and her cargo and her passengers that were in imminent danger. (These laws are hundreds of years old)

Writers of this law figured if it had it not been for the successful efforts of the salvor the vessel and her contents would be lost…… so the value of the successfully salvaged vessel should be up to the (full value) of the rescued vessel and contents. And this kind of makes sense. That fact that the salvage may have also included the saving of human life just seemed to be a perk to those whose lives would be saved. How about that!

Fast forward to 2012 and the same salvage laws apply. Most “quality” yacht policies provide salvage coverage up to the full value of the insured hull and this coverage is in addition to the Hull coverage.

For example; you could have a vessel that collides with a submerged object and rips out the struts and shafts. Let us say, for example, she is taking on water and she satisfies one of the triggers for valid salvage claim; that being the vessel is now in imminent danger. (And if she is not rescued she will be lost).

Now for purposes of this example SeaTow speeds out to the foundering vessel and places big high volume water pumps on the sinking vessel…they stick an air bag in the boat and they employ a diver to make a patch repair over the whole bottom area where the strut and shaft were torn out and left a gapping hole.. Sea Tow then tows the now stabilized vessel back to shore where vessel is hauled out of water for permanent repairs.

For this example let us say the boat was a 30 foot cruiser insured with a $200,000 hull value. The cost to repair the damage to the vessel as a result of the collision with the submerged object is $150,000. We note the boat is not a total loss. We note Sea Tow submits a salvage claim for $75,000 for their Salvage efforts.

Under the hull coverage section the yacht insurance carrier would respond to the $150,000 in repairs to the vessel from the collision.

Under the yacht policy Hull coverage section/ Protection and Recovery Expense/Salvage coverage subsection/ the insurance carrier would respond to the valid salvage claim for the $75,000 expense to Sea Tow. (Technically the policy could have paid up to the full insured value of the hull in addition to cost of repairing the hull) That is the way this coverage works.

In summary the insurance company pays out $150,000 plus the $75,000 salvage claim on a vessel insured for $200,000. Sounds like it would have cost the insurance company less to just let the boat sink and pay out $200,000 (not $225,000) but that’s the way it works.

I should also note that “Wreck Removal Coverage” in an amount up to the full limit of liability coverage on the policy ….is also provided for in most quality Yacht Policies. (This is completely separate from Salvage coverage…and responds to the cost of raising a boat off the bottom when you are required to do so by Federal authorities). This is found in the Protection and Indemnity section of the yacht Policy. (This is a pretty critical coverage when your 110 foot houseboat burns and sinks at the dock)

It is important to review your yacht insurance policy for Salvage coverage as there could be significant differences in what different yacht insurance carriers offer in their policies. To review your policy or for any further inquires please contact me at

Friday, March 2

2012 Crowley's Spring Launch Form

It is time to think about your boat and schedule your spring commissioning and launch date. Click above to schedule your launch and spring service as soon as possible to ensure your choice. Please schedule at least 2 weeks before your requested launch date. For more spring launch details click here for the full guide.
If you need assistance, please contact Customer Service at 773-221-9990 ext. 2