For dry-sailed boats we specify VC Performance Epoxy. This is a white epoxy paint that cures extremely hard. For our purposes, harder is better. A hard paint allows us to wet sand to the very best possible finish. The fact that the label on the can says “with Teflon” can confuse people into thinking that this paint has some antifouling properties. It doesn’t! VC Performance Epoxy is legal in both the US and Canada.
Wet-Sailed Boats (Salt Water)
Baltoplate: Baltoplate, which comes in only one color, is our default choice for a racing antifouling paint on boats that are wet sailed in salt water. We feel that Baltoplate cures the hardest and gives the best wet-sanded finish. Honestly, it’s not the best antifouling going, but it sands smooth.
VC Offshore: Interlux claims that VC Offshore is essentially the same paint as Baltoplate. Our wet sanders swear it is just as hard as Baltoplate. It also comes in different colors (red, blue,and black), and all are legal in Canada.
Even though Baltoplate and VC Offshore are considered antifouling paints, most racing sailors who use them find that they still need to clean their boat’s bottom weekly or biweekly.
Wet-Sailed Boats (Fresh Water)
For boats that are wet sailed in fresh water we like VC-17. It seems to have the best antifouling properties in fresh water. VC-17 is an extremely thin film. This makes it difficult to wet sand without burn through. It also makes it a single-season paint. VC-17 is legal in both the US and Canada.
White Antifouling Paint
Ever since tin was banned in the 1980s there simply isn’t a white antifouling paint that is great for racing. Truth be told, no one misses Micron 33. It was plain nasty stuff.
If you really need a white antifouling racing finish, Trilux by Interlux is about the only thing we will recommend. We’ve used Pettit’s ViViD with limited success and also experimented with all the ePaint coatings.
Waterline Systems does not recommend any ablative paints for a racing finish. These paints work by being really soft and slowly ablating off during the course of a season. Because they’re so soft, they don’t sand well. They also must be applied thickly, so it just doesn’t add up to a racing finish.