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We did it!  We painted the bottom of our Tiki 46, Peace, without expensive haul out at a marina.  We did it for free on the beach!  Here is how we did it:

We sailed to the tip of Cape Cod where there is an 11 foot tide following the full moon.  We studied the tide tables carefully and noticed that if we beached Peace one hour after high water, we could be sure of getting her off the beach with the following high tide.  So now we knew the "when" part and only needed to decide exactly 'where".  Weather made that decision so with a north wind we selected a protected shore from the mild wind and we did not mind a little rain for the scrubbing part of our work.  We saw a part of the beach the day before was free of rocks and had good sand and we lined up our visual reminders so we could see it at high water in the early hours of the morning.

Peace went on the fairly steep area at the top of the beach easily and I kept her in position using the engines so her bows were touching.  The water went down fast and the engines were off and our friend John James and I went over the bows climbing down to the beach using the bower anchor as a laddar.  Nev was still not too agile yet post knee surgeries over the past year.  We needed him on deck to hand us stuff anyway. 

John and I got wet to our waists using scrub brushes on the green and brown scum that had formed along the waterline where wavelets keep the topsides paint damp.  We decided to raise the antifoul to one inch above the chine to eliminate that cleaning chore once and for all.  So we scrubbed using BBQ pads and did not mind scratching the topsides paint a bit in the process because it would need to be sanded for antifoul to go there anyway.  We used 8 inch stainless steel sheet rock scrapers which are like huge putty knives and they really clean the hull from any growth.  A few barnacles were easily and cleanly shifted with just one sweep of the blades along with the thin layer of goo that forms on antifoul . We have painted Peace before a few times after hauling out at marinas so we removed a lot of the old black antifoul and saw mostly last time's red paint and a bit of the time before's blue paint.  In only a couple of places did we see the barrior coat of copper bot that was put on from new.  It is still in great shape.  Last thing before "quitting time" John and I dragged a big Fortress 37 anchor with all chain out the full 200 feet between the hulls and into what would soon be deep water.  This would help us keep Peace under control when we backed off the beach.  There was a side wind we worried about a little. 

To be honest, we were extremely tired after scraping the bottoms and cleaning off all the waterline scum, but the boat looked great and we got Peace off the beach easily, went to anchor, and rested all that afternoon and were grateful for the stormy weather next day so we could stay in bed and rest.

Next came painting and we selected a different beach this time because we had a wind shift.  Cape Cod is a high vacation area and the beaches are full of holiday makers from all over the country and the world so we wondered what folks would think of us doing our boat work right in the middle of their vacations...?  Well, they were amused and interested and came around with their kids and walking the dog and left their beach towels and kept us company.  One guy even took up a brush!  First we gave the boat a fresh water rinse and let her dry.  It was humid so we ended up wiping her down with an old shirt which even came clean in the wash!  John put the tape on quickly and neatly and I got out the rollers while he sanded where the waterline was being raised.  I used a dairy box as a seat while I crouched down to do the bottom and shifted the seat often as I went around the two hulls.  John used a brush along the water line but my roller did quite well there also because we used two inch tape.  We had dry paint before the water came back but we were totally exhausted by then.  We are not 26 anymore!  I am 70 and felt like 90!  But the boat looked great and that gave me a lift.

Next time Nev will have built a mini cradle shape so we can use a ten ton jack set on a ply stand on the sand and he can lift one bow and one stern and place it on blocks so we can get the very bottoms which were in the sand and could not be reached.  I think doing only one hull per day would be better at my age next time too.  And we will select less humid weather, warmer weather, and I will wear sneakers instead of clogs which allowed sand inside so I got sand burns on my feet as I worked.  Sneakers with sox will not let in much sand and will protect the feet from shells and glass on the beach which can cut and hurt a lot.

What does not hurt is the cost of doing boat work this way.  There was no marina fee.  We got our paint last year hoping to have done the work last year too, but family emergency and Nev's knee operations made that impossible.  This is less worry and I think it is easier on the boat too.  We could have used a garden sprayer for the fresh water rinse too.  We use ablative paint so we did not need to sand that.  We just use a pressure washer in the marina but the scrapers are enough for antifoul paint if you use ablative paint each time.  Not sanding meant we did not leave toxic sanding dust on the beach and did not need to use electric sanders on the wet beach either.

By the way, one coat of ablative antifoul for a Tiki 46 takes 2.5 gallons of paint.  Next time there will be no green scum to wash off so that will make the job lots easier.  Lemon juice cleans off any tannin stains from the lealves in the rivers we travel.  Rinse well after sponging on the lemon juice and bottled juice is cheap and good.  Makes good lemonade too with some sugar and lots of water. 

With any luck, we will never have another marina bill again.  We can do this yearly if we want.  Might even get two coats on  (that lasts more than 2 years) if we do one hull at a time in drying warm weather.  But one hull at a time, sneakers, and those sheetrock blades (like large butty knives) will make all the difference.  I am still strong enough for that.

Try it.  It works fine. 

Ann and Nev

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Hi Anne and Neville,

I am also a fan of beach painting although much easier on a little Tiki 21 than your boat. The fastest drying soft ablative paint that I have found is Interlux Bottomkote XXX - 2 hours touch dry and 12 hours before immersion. You can't get it in the US anymore, but can mail order from Canada. Last time I used the new US brand Interlux Bottomkote Pro - it specifies 16 hours before immersion. Mine was under water after an hour or so and it has worked just fine.


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