On Wednesday evenings we have a group of guys from the yacht club who get together for food and sailing. We put food in a smoker oven, set the timer and go sailing while the meat’s cooking. We rotate taking each other’s boats out and this past Wednesday we had two Catalina 25’s available, one of which was mine.. As men often do, anytime we can race something, we do. Howard’s C-25 is a few years newer, but it’s still the same hull. His has a wing keel and I have a fin keel, so I think I should have a slight speed advantage. On this night’s sail though, my speed was less than stellar and I wasn’t able to catch up to the other C-25. So one of the guys with me asked me, “How long has it been since your bottom was cleaned?” […..I’ll pause for the inevitable laughter…..]. In all seriousness, I guess it was quite a while before I bought the boat. My friends mentioned that my snail’s pace was likely the result of a dirty bottom.
So instead of sailing today, I knew it was time to get wet and do some cleaning. I’d never seen the bottom of my sailboat until today. Although I was working, cleaning the hull, it was nice to be in the water messing about with the boat. This reminds me of a quote from a book by Kenneth Grahame: There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
One of my dock friends who has the perfect setup for this type of work. He’s got a small air compressor and a supplied-air breathing mouthpiece with an attached breathing air hose. Couple that with a plastic scraping tool and I was ready to go!
I descended into the murky lake water and was immediately greeted by the sight of a slimy green growth all over the underside of my boat’s hull. No wonder it was slower than a herd of turtles. It took some time to get used to the bubbles from the breather mouthpiece distracting me when I exhaled. I’ve never done any type of diving like this, so it was initially a bit uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable like having your shoes on the wrong feet, but more like some type of cognitive dissonance since it’s unnatural for humans to breathe underwater.
With every scrape, the water became more clouded with the bottom growth that was released, but bit by bit, the bottom paint became more visible. I should have allotted myself more time to do the job, but I was able to finish mostly the entire hull except the keel. I’ll likely get to the keel next week and probably use a brush to finish off the where I already scraped. I paused after scraping some to get an in-progress photo. As you can see in the picture below, it’s not a perfect cleaning job, but definitely improved.
What about you? How do you clean your bottom? Comment below please!
Here’s a little video I put together with some live shots of the bottom condition.