Painting S/V Eleanor’s bottom…

Eleanor aground, waiting for tide to go out. We are set for the task.

We try to save some money and alot of trouble by deciding to DIY the “bottom job” on S/V Eleanor. The nearest yard would be 4hrs away in Singapore and this trip would have cost me total of S$800, then of course leaving it at the yard and taking her back would be more trouble than doing it ourselves.

Gently hold her down

For S$300, I paid for 2.5l International Micro Extra, 1l thinner, rollers, paintbrushes, rags, beers and snacks..

View of Eleanor from the rock wall.

0845hrs, Eleanor aground on the rarely used boat launch ramp at Sebana. 0900hrs, tide reaches highest and then receded 6″ by 1000hrs. At this point, hold her down gently and she begins to lean. Enjoy beer and snacks until more of her bottom is exposed.

My cute old man cleaning the bottom of our cute little girl

1100hrs, time to scrub. Using the water around our ankles to rinse away the slimey green stuff that we scrap off. Quite abit of the old antifoul will come off in the scrubbing process too, and will color the water. Its very toxic, so try not to get any of it into mouth or eyes.

2 coats of Micron Extra Dover white.

We are very happy with the micro extra put on by Keico Marine in SG in 2004 and 2006. Except for the few places near the raised waterline that flaked off, we had no problems with underwater areas.  It has been 4 years since her last bottom job, but there were very few barnacles and the slimey green growth comes off very easily. In 1 hour, we were done prepping her for the paint job… but we took a break 🙂

Small blisters

1400hrs, we sanded the exposed gelcoat where the old antifoul flakked off before putting new paint on. Lets hope it stay on better this time. 1530hrs, it was a hot day so the paint dried very quickly. So we are done and now we wait for the tide to come in again, until we can “flip” her.

Gelcoat blisters

Special note, Eleanor does have some blisters but they are not serious. And these surface bubbles were gelcoat blisters that burst. Again, not a structural issue… in our opinion..

3 sandbags at mid ship

Oh yes, placing the sandbags in the right spots prevents direct contact between the hull and the the concrete. Always a good thing to do. We placed 3 bags at where we think her downward side waterline would be, space 1ft apart. Looks like we got them all in the right places.

Sandbags placed in the dark. Not as difficult as we thought.

2300hrs, just passed high tide.. Eleanor was starting to lean over on the port again. A gentle push was all she needed to coax her to the other side. 2350hrs, we waited for the water to recede more before repositioning the sandbags to  starboard.

Working under high beam from Trio

0010hrs, repeat this afternoons work under high beam from Trio. Quite surprisingly, that light was good enough and the pictures turned out well.

Doing what I can between the rudder and the hull

This was a much more pleasant time to work, but moisture in the night air did give us some problems. 1st, use plenty of insect repellent. 2nd, the hull wont dry enough for the paint to stick on solid… we had to paint gingerly… 

Eleanor looking pretty on the boat launch ramp.. picture taken from kayak.

0230hrs, Eleanor’s hull was just barely dry enough to paint. Still there were some areas that paint wouldnt roll on. In those spots, I use the paintbrush to just put on a whole glob. 0330hrs, 2nd coat sticks better than the 1st.

0400hrs, done and very tired. … only 3 hours of sleep on board Calliste. 0845hrs, Eleanors floating. 0900hrs, push off from the ramp. 1000hrs, Eleanor washed and put away. There. 28 hours in total, and S$300. It was definately worth our effort.


2 Responses to “Painting S/V Eleanor’s bottom…”

  1. 1 David
    April 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Good job! Much better than paying a boat yard to do it, plus now you have a mental picture of the condition of your hull.

    One more thing: Are you sure those were gelcoat blisters? They look like that might be just paint blisters. Usually gelcoat blisters don’t pop thier tops off all the way like that, but just make little cracks in the gelcoat coming out from the middle of the blister, if they even burst at all.

    Again, good job!

    S/V Sanuye, CD28
    (From Cape Dory website)

  2. 2 funvinyldecals
    April 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks. I am happy to know that you agree with us that it was much better to DIY Eleanor’s bottom.

    I guess we wont really know if its gelcoat or paint blisters if they dont burst. We use a metal scraper to get the growth off. Might have been a little more aggressive in some spots, which burst the blisters. If it were just paint blisters, then I would expect to see gelcoat under it, but no, we are seeing the hull. Unfortunately I dont have a picture of the burst blisters before painting over them.


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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

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