Living the Dream in a Copper-Bottomed Beauty…
Steve and Rebecca Thatcher are not just fulfilling a decades-long ambition to live in sunnier climes aboard their yacht: they are doing so with the reassurance that their 42 foot catamaran 2B3 has one of the best under-water protection finishes the marine industries can provide.
Before setting sail for the Mediterranean last Summer, the couple put their new Lagoon 42 in the expert hands of Mylor Yacht Harbour’s Marine Team in order to have her “Coppercoated” – a system which creates a long-lasting copper-based shell around a vessel’s keel to ward off barnacles and other growth, much like the copper bottoms which sheathed wooden ships in bygone days.
Getting this two-hulled vessel with a 26 foot beam out of the waters at Mylor was a challenge in itself – but the Coppercoat process means the Thatchers most likely will not need to take her out again for years.
“Our main aim when we decided to go for Coppercoat was that we wouldn’t have to haul her out of the sea again for a long time,” says Steve. “She’s our home as well as our pride and joy and we want to maximise the amount of time we’re sailing her.”
Just one wipe around with a sponge during the Thatchers’ first six months in Portugal, Gibraltar and the Med brought 2B3’s Coppercoated bottoms back to their original verdigris look – but the system doesn’t just remove the hassle and expense of anti-fouling every year: it is also one of the most environmentally friendly antifouling alternatives on the market.
“Coppercoat has very many advantages and expertly applied it can last for several seasons,” says Spencer “Spike” Riley, services manager for Mylor’s Marine Team. “It’s effective, tough, easy to maintain and easy to repair. It might seem an expensive option up-front – but over the longer haul it becomes increasingly cost-effective. In fact we reckon that beyond about four years it becomes less and less expensive than annual anti-fouling.”
The Thatchers had kept previous vessels at Mylor Yacht Harbour including a Bavaria 42 and a couple of power boats – so they already knew and liked the work of the yard.
“We’ve had lots of jobs done at Mylor over the years and we really like the team here,” says Steve. “They’re the experts and we wanted them to do the Coppercoating – but they’re also happy to collaborate with their owners and they were happy to let me on board to put on solar panels and a water maker. And if I needed a particular bit of wire or something I could go into the workshop and they’d make it up for me which is brilliant.”
But the first job? To get 2B3 out of the water: “She’s so beamy we couldn’t lift her in the hoist,” says Spike, “so we floated her onto the slipway where our Roodberg HBC 38 was used to lift her up between the hulls and transport her to our purpose-built blasting area. It was hugely satisfying seeing the Roodberg handling a vessel of this size with such ease.”
Once safely in the yard the Marine Team GRP technicians prepped her by sand-blasting her two hulls to remove all the old coatings, next filling and fairing of any imperfections found below her waterline using epoxy filler. She was then lifted, again by the Roodberg, into the workshop for Coppercoating.
Coppercoat consists of a high concentration of copper powder stirred into an epoxy matrix at the time of application. In 2B3’s case the Mylor team spray-applied four coats onto the two hulls before the cat was re-launched and re-rigged – the entire process taking three weeks.
Before this work was done Steve and Rebecca had already tested themselves and their vessel by sailing her around the UK anti-clockwise.
“We had a very sharp learning curve but once we’d braved that journey we felt pretty confident about sailing down to the Med,” says Rebecca. “It was really exciting to see our boat – our home for years ahead – going back in the water at Mylor, knowing that she was in such brilliant shape for the next part of our adventure.”
Steve and Rebecca were blessed with fair weather for their voyage around the Bay of Biscay then down to Faro where various members of their family came to join them for an idyllic holiday.
Their odyssey over the next couple of years will take them to Spain and the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. They will head east to Greece, Croatia and Turkey – all of it part of a stated aim, thirty years ago, to sail the world.
Loving Cornwall though they do, Steve and Rebecca have no plans to return to live any time soon – they are enjoying the Mediterranean climate too much. If they were to sail 2B3 back to the UK it would, they say, certainly be to Mylor.
For more information on Coppercoat or on how the Marine Team can help you maintain your classic or modern craft why not request a call back or quote today>