DIY Bottom Job


Last Updated on August 28, 2019 by Amy

The last bottom job we had was at Nanny Cay in the BVIs in November 2015.  As that was our first bottom job, everything was just given a soft cleaning and then paint was applied over the existing stuff.  We were launched in Nanny Cay on November 27th, 2015.

When we hauled SH out at Norsand Boatyard in Whangarei on December 8th, 2016, it had been 377 days in the water.  She was looking pretty dirty in general.

Immediately after the haul out.

The lifting process included power washing.  We were surprised that upon power washing, the paint AND PRIMER on our mini keels washed off.  It was obvious that the fiberglass had not been sanded before the primer was applied.

After the power washing.

We went back and forth with FP over this for a few days.  We are outside of warranty, and FP says the primer company told them it would be fine not to sand. Basically, we’ve got conflicting information, but we do know that the primer should not have come off with a simple power washing.

Obviously, this meant more work for us, and we were going to have to work in two stages to cover the entire area below the waterline.

We paid Norsand to scrape and sand the hull of the boat and prepare for the paint application.  This was only a few hundred NZD, for a very messy job.

Post-yard work. She’s been cleaned and sanded.

Supplies Needed for DIY Bottom Job

David and I decided to save ourselves money and apply the paint ourselves.  We purchased:

We had to buy lots of supplies.  Paint brushes, rollers and frames, paint trays, and rags.  We wore disposable protective gear; full covers over our body, safety glasses, gloves, and breathing masks.

Painting the Boat

First, we painted all of the main hull areas with one coat of the Primocon and then with three coats of the International antifoul.    We decided to do the extra step of adding the Primocon as it would help “lock in” and prevent any leaching through of the old antifoul and give us a good surface to apply the Micron Extra 2.  This first step did not include any of the mini keel, sail drives, or the areas where the boat was being supported.

Primer is applied to the main hulls.

After those 4 coats were done, Norsand came in and reblocked the boat, giving us access to the entire minikeel as well as the sections of the hull that had been blocked before.

Main hulls are done, now she’s on the trailer to lift and reblock for access to the mini keels.

We applied five coats of the epoxy primer to the minikeel, and then three coats of the International antifoul.  In between coats of the epoxy primer we painted with primer and antifoul the spots that had been under the blocks.  Finally, the Vivid antifoul was used around our sail drives.

Understandably, this took us a lot of time.  We had to plan carefully around the weather, and while we did luck out with a lot of sunny days, there were a few days where we couldn’t get as many coats on as we would have liked.

Dry times were very important.  The longest dry time was a minimum of 6 hours between coats of the Vivid antifoul, while the shortest dry time ended up being one hour between the last coat of the epoxy primer and the first coat of antifoul on the minikeels.  It was that short because you’re supposed to do the thumbprint test on the primer, and when it’s still tacky but no primer sticks to your finger, you start adding the antifoul.

The quality of our work will only be determined by time. Will our work be better than a professional’s? On one hand, we are inexperienced at painting boat bottoms. On the other hand, we have a lot of motivation to get all the details and do everything perfectly correct. We would like this paint to last two years, so we will keep an eye on the wear and see if we last to early 2019!

All done and ready for launch!

Watch the Video:  Ahh…The Boat Yard Life


  1. You really put the work it to make it look beautiful. Well done. Let’s hope there are many nautical miles until the next major paint job. I take it in the end FP didn’t come good for the mini keels.

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