Centerboard, Construction, Part 9: Bottom Paint

Receiving the Bottom Paint
In this, the ninth part of a nine-part article on how I constructed a new centerboard for my Ericson 25, I describe the easiest of all the tasks I undertook on this project - the bottom painting of the board. Bottom paint, loaded as it is with copper, of course protects the bottom of the boat and thus the board from marine growth.

Having scuffed up the entire surface of the centerboard with 40-grit paper on a random orbital sander, it was time to clean up the board in preparation for the application of the bottom paint.
I wiped down the board with mineral spirits, as per the instructions on the label of the Pettit bottom paint I had purchased. Let me back up just a bit. The label actually instructed me to use Pettit's proprietary 120 Brushing Thinner. Suspicious, I went to the local West Marine to check out the data on this thinner. Turned out, of course, that it was almost 100% mineral spirits. West Marine wanted about sixty-seven bucks for a gallon of this stuff. The local hardware store down the street had gallon-sized containers of mineral spirits for about fifteen bucks. The choice was clear.
Sometime before I had started this centerboard project I had purchased Pettit Ultima SR40 paint knowing that I would need to paint both the bottom of the boat and the centerboard that I would soon build. The number 40 in the product name refers to the percentage of copper within the paint. The word Ultima in the name indicates that this is a member of Pettit's line of ablative paints. Regardless of the manufacturer, ablative paints are those that gradually shed their layers to prevent the build-up of successive layers of paint over time. I selected ablative paint, because it is the type that is recommended for those who remove their boats from the water on a regular basis. Given that the Ericson 25 is a trailerable boat, ablative paint made the most sense.

When I had gotten the board well prepped and I had all the painting materials laid out and ready to go, I grabbed the can of Pettit and I drove down the street to a local paint store to ask the fellows there for a favor. I had bought plenty of paint from them while renovating my house. I asked them if they would put this can of paint in their mechanical shaker. They obliged. Back at home, I popped the lid off the can to reveal the deep red color within. Even though it had received a good shaking at the paint store, it still needed some work with the wooden stirrer.
Starting at the head of the board, I applied the bottom paint with uniform, unidirectional, left-to right strokes. I considered using a roller for this, but since it was a small area and I wasn't overly concerned with the appearance of the paint job, I used a simple, 79 cent chip brush. 

The first coat went on pretty well, and I was pleased with how things were going.
After I had allowed for at least six hours of drying time, I returned to the board near the end of the day and applied the second coat of paint, as per the manufacturers recommendations.
 The next weekend I turned the board over and prepped the other side for painting.

 Again, I wiped it down with mineral spirits to remove any unwanted residue from the surface.
 On went the first coat.

 Towards the end of the day I returned for the second coat of paint.
At last I could declare that this lengthy project had come to an end. The new centerboard looked fantastic, and given the steps I had taken to ensure that it would be protected from water-intrusion, it was my hope that this board would provide loyal service to my Ericson 25, Oystercatcher, for a long time to come.

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