So how do you keep your propeller free of marine growth? For Onne van der Wal, the answer is Propspeed.
Onne used Propspeed on his 1972 Pearson 36 sailboat, Snoek, and the foul-release coating lasted about three seasons. “Every time I dove on the boat this gold and shiny propeller was staring at me.”
Onne had tried other products to keep his propeller clean, but nothing really worked. “Every time I pulled the boat there were barnacles,” he says. Knowing that Snow Goose, his 1986 Grand Banks 32, isn’t exactly a speed demon, and that he would need all the performance he could get from his prop, Onne called Propspeed’s Keith Mayes.
Mayes provides technical and sales support for Propspeed and teaches boatyard employees how to apply the coating. The process is not difficult or complicated, but it requires some discipline and careful timing. Mayes applied the coating to Snow Goose’s propeller so Onne could film the process.
He started by thoroughly sanding the propeller with 80 grit sandpaper, using an orbital sander for the larger areas, and hand-sanding the nooks and crannies. Getting the propeller’s surfaces clean and keeping any contaminants, including finger grease, off the propeller is important. In its kits, Propspeed includes a Propclean wipe to remove contaminants and a Propprep wipe to chemically prepare the propeller for the Propspeed Etching Primer.
When the Etching Primer Base and Hardener are combined, timing and temperature become critical. To ensure optimal adhesion a second coat of the primer must be applied while the first coat is still tacky. The warmer the ambient temperature, the faster the second coat must be applied. The optimal temperature for applying Propspeed is 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Propspeed provides a detailed table to time the second coat. They also provide a simple tip, which involves using a gloved finger to check the tackiness of the coats.
Once the two primer coats have been applied, which gives the props its distinctive yellow-golden hue, Propspeed’s Clear Coat foul release coating must also be applied within an identical time frame. If the running gear cannot be fully covered in the allotted time, Propspeed recommends breaking the propeller up into sections, so the coats can be applied in stages. Mayes also applied Propspeed to Snow Goose’s transducers. Some people put Propspeed on their rudders and struts as well.
“You can do it yourself,” Onne says. “I watched Keith do it and I’m definitely on for doing it next time. I reckon I can get two, three seasons out of it. I don’t know if there’s anything as good as Propspeed.”
You can watch Mayes applying Propspeed to Snow Goose’s prop below.