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Forums / General / Centerboards and bottom cleaning  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 04 Sep 2008 at 8:33pm
I'm curious about how you veteran Dolphin owners handle your centerboards when it comes to regularly scheduled bottom cleaning by a diver. I've never had a centerboarder, so this is terra incognita for me.

I just hauled my Dolphin, Yankee #118, ROBIN to have the bottom painted. (Ron...I'll be sending some photos soon!). The centerboard was relatively clean, except the leading edge, which was encrusted in hard marine growth. I attribute this to the fact that the previous owner routinely kept the centerboard up in the slot while in the slip. The leading edge of the board was the only surface exposed, and thus accumulated this crud. Since the diver cleaning the bottom was unable to easily access this exposed edge, it never got cleaned.

So... my question in a nutshell: Is it better to leave the board up or down while in the slip. Left down, it will accumulate growth, but can be cleaned by the diver. Retracted, most of the board remains clean, but the leading edge accumulates grunge that can't be easily reached by the diver.


Posted: 04 Sep 2008 at 11:02pm
Hi Erik
First, I'll bet most Dolphin owners (excepting their wealthy west coast cousins) dive and clean their own bottoms!!

Marionette's bottom and centerboard are brush painted with Interlux Micron CSC which is a good quality ablative system. I spent 20 years using a highly polished, very smooth, hard bottom, wet sanded paint system on my racing boat (an Atlantic) and had to dive on it every week. With this abalative paint I only need to clean it every 2-3 weeks, if that, in the relatively warm waters of Long Island Sound. The finish is still pretty good but not like the hard core racing finish I used to slave over. Normally, Marionette is kept in a slip which has less moving water than a mooring - moving water is better for abalative systems. Her persistantly sun exposed (south) side tends to get dirtier than her shade (north) side.

In the colder water in Maine this summer where she was mostly on moorings instead of in a slip I only had to clean the waterline a couple of times, as well as the rudder. This was done with a 6' deck brush. There was nothing hard, only a brownish slime that came off easily.

The board is kept up when in the slip, or on a mooring. When I do clean the bottom I drop the board before I start, and clean it too. I have never had hard growth, barnacles, etc with this ablative system. To clean the bottom and board I use a light duty fine mesh scotch brite type pad that 'hooks' to a flat plastic holder about 4" x 6" that has a handle on the other side. I use only a very light hand pressure to wipe the bottom. Sometimes I only use the pad without the holder. I have a wet suit, fins and mask that I bought for this purpose.

I must confess to having a diver once in a while - especially in early June before our big race series when the water is still pretty cold...


Posted: 05 Sep 2008 at 12:27am
Thanks, Ron! If you saw the water in our marina, you'd probably not be as enthusiastic to do it yourself!

They painted the bottom today with a good quality ablative paint, so I'll follow your advice. Truth is, the paint on the bottom was about gone when I bought the boat, so the hard growth is probably to have been expected.

Appreciate the advice! I snap some shots tomorrow before we put her back in the water and send them along. She looks so pretty!

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