When Henk and Annet Brautigam bought the yacht Oceantide in 2006, they knew that the hull needed some work. They decided that rather than patch it up and have an even rougher bottom to their yacht, they would take it back to bare steel and start from scratch. The yard at Dordrecht where the work on the yacht was being done recommended Ecospeed. In 2007 they had the hull grit blasted and Ecospeed was applied. It has been going strong ever since and they sail with the comfortable feeling of having a really safe, thoroughly wellprotected hull under them.
The Oceantide was built in 1982 at Burlington Boat Works in Ventura, California, by the owner of that yard, who designed her to sail to Alaska, hence the fireplace and chimney, very useful on chilly nights in an Alaskan summer when it’s not worth running the central heating. Henk Brautigam, who is a partially retired yacht captain himself, and his wife, Annet, bought the yacht in Florida and had her shipped to Rotterdam, Holland where they live.
The Oceantide is a 76 ft. (23.3m) LOA, 18’ 2” (5.5m) beam trawler, long range cruiser, with a 6.6’ (2m) draft and a 26’ (7.9m) airdraft. She displaces 90 tons, has a range of 4,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 9 - 11 knots. Powered by two Caterpillar 3306TI, 190hp, 4600 hrs diesel engines, the Oceantide has a fuel capacity of 4,500 gallons, a 1,500 gallon water tank and a 1,000 gallon holding tank, plus a desalination plant. The Oceantide has three staterooms, sleeping six, and crew quarters which sleep two. The classic salon has oak paneling and parquet flooring. The staterooms are also oak with oak tongue and groove flooring. Four heads including a day head with marble counters and floor and a master head with full-sized tub and shower. All in all, the Oceantide is a very comfortable, livable, well made, well kept and beautifully appointed yacht.
Protecting the hull
“The bottom, previously coated with antifouling paint, was rough and needed to be treated,” explains Henk. “We knew when we bought it that there were some problems but we had it tested and it was found to be quite sound. We wanted to have it totally clean and get it as new, so we had it grit blasted in Dordrecht. They suggested we either use one of the epoxy systems or Ecospeed. I hadn’t heard of Ecospeed. They told us it was very hard, very tough and you don’t need to put antifouling on it. It was a bit more expensive but came with a ten-year warranty which was a big advantage. We stay tied up to the quay all through the winter and the bottom fouls. My big question was, could we handle the fouling.”
“We decided to take the risk and put it on,” says Henk. “Now it’s on and it’s very good.”
The entire bottom, rudders and stabilizers were painted with two coats of Ecospeed, a total thickness of about 1000 microns.
Annet confirms their satisfaction with the Ecospeed hull coating system protecting the Oceantide’s hull: “Ecospeed feels very safe. You have the idea that it has a second hull or something like that because of the glass in the coating.”
Cleaning the hull
Ecospeed can be cleaned by pressure washing with the yacht out of the water but the best way to clean it is using mechanical brush equipment in the hands of a diver. The reason for this is that the inwater cleaning, by a combination of the brush’s abrasiveness and the lubrication of the water, smooths the coating a little bit more each time which results in a hydrodynamically smoother surface which is harder to foul.
In 2011 the Brautigams brought the Oceantide to the dock next to the Hydrex headquarters in Antwerp where Hydrex divers cleaned it using proprietary cleaning equipment. The hull was easily cleaned and found to be in perfect condition.
The Brautigams are basically sailors. They came from sailing yachts and plan to go back to sailing yachts. The Oceantide was an interlude and now they are ready to go back to sail.
They feel that the Ecospeed coating on the yacht’s hull will add value to the yacht to anyone who is familiar with the glassflake coating system and they know that their investment was protected in the best possible way for the time they have had it.
“Going with Ecospeed was a gamble for us,” says Henk. “We evaluated it ourselves and decided to go with it. Now we have no regrets at all. It was the right decision.”
They have shown quite clearly that Ecospeed is not only the answer to non-toxic underwater hull protection and fouling control on ships, but is just as workable on yachts and smaller craft.