Coppercoat gives Clippers a clean run

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Heading out through the Heads on board Sanya Serenity Coast, one of the Clipper race yachts. That's Phil Ross, Criusing Helmsman editor, on the port rail taking photos.
Heading out through the Heads on board Sanya Serenity Coast, one of the Clipper race yachts. That's Phil Ross, Criusing Helmsman editor, on the port rail taking photos.

Anti-foul supplier helps Clipper race fleet save on maintenance.

The arrival of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet in Sydney in December saw a major change to the race schedule this time around, thanks to anti-fouling specialists, Coppercoat.

On previous occasions when the fleet arrived in Sydney, all the boats would have to be lifted for regular maintenance and anti-fouling. This year, however, Coppercoat was selected as the official anti-foul supplier for the 12 yachts and, with an expected lifespan of at least 10 years between applications, the yachts were able to remain in the water during their Sydney stay.

To mark the occasion, the local distributor for Coppercoat, ABS Technologies headed by David and Karen Burnett, hosted a sailing day onboard one of the Clipper yachts, Sanya Serenity Coast skippered by Wendy Tuck. Local yachties and media got to experience a taste of what it is like to sail one these 70-foot ocean -going race boats, albeit in very friendly conditions.

The association between Coppercoat and the Clipper yachts dates back to when the race founder, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, used the anti-foul on his famous yacht, Suahili. Impressed by the results, he then used it on the Clipper 68 training fleet before applying the antifoul to the entire Clipper racing fleet for the current round-the-world campaign.

Coppercoat is a copper-filled two-coat epoxy resin which designed to eliminate the need for regular anti-fouling applications. The manufacturers claim a single application will provide protection for 10 years or more although there are examples of boats which have gone a lot longer without the need for re-application. David Burnett cited the case of one customer whose boat had lasted 27 years with one application. It can be applied to steel, aluminium and timber hulls as well as fibre-glass and is suitable for DIY application by roller. It is compliant with current anti-fouling legislation and can be used in regions with strict anti-leaching controls such as California.

In addition to reducing the need for regular hull maintenance, Coppercoat is also designed to improve on-water performance and efficiency due to the smoothness of the hull, as shown by the current Clipper fleet which has been setting new race records.

For the recreational boating sector, Coppercoat offers a number of advantages, according to Burnett. Boaters are able to save money with fewer haul-outs and more efficient on-water performance, which means they have more time and money to go boating. For the industry, the product offers opportunities for builders, dealerships and brokers to include a Coppercoat application as either a standard service or an optional extra.

Sanya Serenity Coast at the start of the Sydney-Hobart, skippered by Wendy Tuck.
Sanya Serenity Coast at the start of the Sydney-Hobart, skippered by Wendy Tuck.

Despite the fact that many boatyards and marinas rely on boat haul-outs for much-needed revenue, Burnett said Coppercoat can also benefit these operations even though it virtually eliminates the need for regular hull maintenance. Service centres which specialise in Coppercoat application have a long waiting list of customers, he said, and because these customers are saving money on regular anti-fouling, they tend to spend it on other services and fittings instead.

For the contestants in the Clipper race, the fact that the yachts arrived in Sydney with clean hulls meant they had more time to enjoy the stopover, both on and off the water. For the first time this year, the entire fleet also took part in the the post-Christmas Sydney-Hobart race which resulted in Sanya Serenity Coast taking fleet line honours by just two minutes from fellow Clipper yacht, Garmin.

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