Pettit Hydrocoat Review – One Season’s Wear

Cay of Sea was hauled out for the winter yesterday.  The boat yard manager knew I was keen to see how the bottom paint held up this season after I extensively sanded and painted the bottom last winter/spring.  He called me while the boat was hanging in the slings, so I dashed over there in my car (it’s only a mile from where I live) to see it before the pressure washing was done.  I used Pettit Hydrocoat – a water-based bottom paint – for the first time.  My initial assessment of the product can be seen here.

So here is the first photo, and you can see for yourself:

I had to adjust the photo's contrast a good bit to get enough definition for seeing the bottom.

I had to adjust the photo’s contrast a good bit to get enough definition for seeing the bottom.

notwithstanding the photo editing for enhanced viewing, you can see that the bottom paint is intact, well-adhered, with just a bit of staining at the water line.  Although I didn’t have the presence of mind to grab my camera while she hung in the slings, I can tell you there were about 3 barnacles on the entire hull.  That’s it.  The scum was not completely repelled, but it wasn’t bad at all.  I had brushed it once in late summer from my dinghy and managed to get everything down to the keel, and even 6 inches or so of the keel.  But that was August.  I felt no barnacles then either.

The paint is smooth.  There are a few chips in a couple of random places – very small chips.  I guess I didn’t get those spots clean enough, or roughed-up enough for the paint to adhere.


A tiny chip at the bow.

A tiny chip at the bow.

Right at the waterline.  This was a difficult are to sand and clean.  The texture of the old paint was very rough here.

Right at the waterline. This was a difficult area to sand and clean. The texture of the old paint was very rough here. You can see a bit of blue where the support pad was. The yard painted these patches just before launch, so they got one coat that didn’t stick very well.

Last chip photo.  This one is on the rudder.

Last chip photo. This one is on the rudder.

And that’s it.  Three little chips – probably due to indifferent preparation.  First season, so far so good. I’m pretty impressed.  The real test will be next year, and hopefully the year after that.

  1. Jan Sopoci said:

    Wow!!! VERY impressive! Hopefully, the paint will be durable, as well.

    • I hope so too, Jan. The reviews I read before applying indicated that it was pretty good in that department also.

  2. Jim Brewer said:

    What kind of paint were you using before?

  3. Jim, I was using the off-the-shelf West Marine epoxy-based paint. It was cheap, relatively speaking. I applied a coat every year and it always allowed a fair number of barnacles to accumulate. Plus, it built up year after year. The Hydrocoat is ablative, and I’m hoping most of it will wear away before I repaint.

    Also, the epoxy-based paint was difficult to sand and remove. Very difficult, as a matter of fact. It’s just a tough surface. It made the hull’s surface texture rougher each year. What finally made me make a change and sand it all down was this: Year before last, when I launched with another new coat of epoxy paint, I noticed that the hull’s surface was very rough. When I got in the water, I noticed that I’d lost at least .5 knots of speed – and that was with a clean bottom. It was only going to get worse through the season.

    So I launched last spring with the new bottom job and effortlessly pushed back up to hull speed. I was making 5.8 knots at 3/4 throttle. The Hydrocoat stayed smooth through the whole season. Sitting in the water didn’t change the texture of it. I’ll touch up the 3 chips I found this year, and probably give the waterline a new coat, though it will probably be okay without it. I had the yard guys place the supports in different spots this year, so I’ll get a better coating of paint where the pads were last year.


    • Jim Brewer said:

      I use an ablative can you apply Hydrocoat ove another ablative?

      • Here’s what their website says:


        “Previously Painted Surfaces: To paint old, hard antifoulings, thoroughly wipe down the surface with 120 Brushing Thinner, paying particular attention to waterline areas, then sand painted surface with 80 grit sandpaper. Wipe clean of sanding residue with water and apply Hydrocoat. Old tin or copper copolymers or Teflon based antifoulings should be sanded thoroughly with 80 grit sandpaper to remove the chalky outer surface, wiped clean of sanding residue, and then may be over coated directly with Hydrocoat. Traditional, soft antifoulings should be removed before applying Hydrocoat.”

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