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Get the underside of your boat feeling fruity

by Mark Jardine 23 Nov 2018 12:00 UTC
Andy Yeomans of Grapefruit Coatings and Sébastien Charles of RENOLIT © Mark Jardine

We spoke to Andy Yeomans of Grapefruit Coatings and Sébastien Charles of RENOLIT about the RENOLIT DOLPHIN S coating which substantially limits growth on the underside of your hull.

RENOLIT MARITIME manufactures and sells long lasting, easy-to-implement and environment-friendly biocide-free silicone fouling release, passive anti-corrosion, weather-resistant and anti-slip solutions for vessels, offshore and yacht surface protection such as topsides, the superstructure, decks, hulls and cabins.

As a side effect of environmental concerns and thus tighter legislation, the traditional antifouling is said to have been reduced in effectiveness. The usually used biocides are very harmful, but Grapefruit have been applying RENOLIT's IMO-certified biocide-free coating in the UK for some time now and proving it can be a total replacement for the antifoul of times past.

Mark Jardine: Andy, what has been the take-up on RENOLIT DOLPHIN S?

Andy Yeomans: We've caught up with yacht owners who had this film applied 12-18 months ago, and the news have been very positive. They have come up to us at the Southampton Boat Show with stories of how their boat glides through the water so easily, after time periods where they would usually see drag from marine growth.

Mark: So, this is a film, not a paint. You strip a yacht back, if it has had antifoul in the past, and apply the film... and then you don't have to replace it every year like conventional antifoul. Sébastien, I hear you can leave it five years?

Sébastien Charles: Up to five years, yes. The whole idea with the film is that it is a long-lasting solution delivering better glide leading to fuel savings. It is changing the way people are thinking about antifouling. Instead of having to lift your boat out every year – or every six months in some regions – you apply it once and can leave it for the next five years. However, a recommended RENOLIT primer must be applied before applying the film.

Mark: The product may allow a little growth when stationary, but when you are moving at 7 knots, the growth is just washed off?

Sébastien: That is the idea, because we are talking about 'foul release', which is not like biocidal antifouling at all. With antifouling the chemicals leak out, making it harder for the growth to stick. As you said, most of the current anti-fouling performances are less effective as before, also according to the information I got from the industry.. Instead, our product has a very low surface tension, which makes it hard for the growth to get in. When you reach a certain speed and use your boat frequently, the growth tends to go away.

Mark: In the UK and around the world, legislation is getting tighter and tighter about what you are allowed to use when you have water contact. Traditional roll-on antifoul is getting less and less effective. Andy, is this the future?

Andy: Definitely. I don't see any other solution coming onto the market which are viable. Some yacht owners have been using house paint, because it acts as a sacrificial layer, but I'm not sure that is any better for the environment! From an owner's point of view, they just want something that works. With the foul-release film, there is an application process, and then very little maintenance over the life-time of the film, so it really is labour-saving.

Mark: So this really is a product that is a game-changer?

Sébastien: Definitely; we are coming up with something that is out of the box. We are not talking about paint, we are talking about film. It takes a lot of time to get people confident that it is going to work. That is our main challenge, but the more we get testimonials like we have here and in Europe, and New Zealand, the more we spread out the message that we have a solution that works. We have the right certification for our products, and proof of the glide increase, which is even more important for motorboats when it comes to fuel savings.

Mark: You have a product which may initially cost more to put on your yacht but lasts far longer and will pay itself off. You then have the reduced fuel costs, increased speed, and the entire time it is on the boat you have the satisfaction of knowing you are not harming the environment. The long-term benefits do pay off. Andy, how do people get this onto their boat? It is the right time of year now!

Andy: We have a very strong partner arrangement in the UK, which is growing fast. We provide very detailed application training, which is aimed at existing vinyl wrap companies, or the marine painting specialists. They all see an end to the traditional antifoul market. We are also delivering this service around the world now.

Mark: If people contact Grapefruit Coatings, can you put them in touch with the nearest yard which is qualified to apply the film?

Andy: Yes, it is all about the location. Fouling is a massive issue; I've raced on boats in the Med where you cannot clean the underside of your boat in a marina. This is not due to class rules but is the up to harbour masters and port authorities to determine the restrictions. So, it is very difficult to keep your boat clean. We won't claim that it makes you go faster; but we state it makes you to stay cleaner for a longer time, enabling you to reach your optimum speed faster over a longer working period.

Sébastien: Grapefruit is a company we are very happy to work with. Whoever we look for as a partner has to be the best. We need to be sure they are applying the product correctly. Therefore all the partners must follow technical and application training to become certified applicators. Now that we are covering Europe and New Zealand and Australia, we are glad Grapefruit can help these customers find a better solution.

Mark: In a time of great change within a conservative industry, it is great to see products with benefits all round. Thank you very much for your time Sébastien and Andy. Two brilliant brands working together.

About Grapefruit Coatings

Grapefruit Coatings is the marine coatings division of Grapefruit which was established in 2003 as Grapefruit Graphics Ltd and has built a reputation for high quality workmanship and excellent service. Our large team enables us to call upon vast amounts of experience and the superior skills needed to cater for our client's needs. The ability to call upon the other divisions of Grapefruit enable us to provide an all-round service to our many loyal and new customers.

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About the RENOLIT Group

The RENOLIT Group is a globally-active specialist for high-quality plastic films, sheets and other plastic products. With more than 30 locations in over 20 countries and with an annual sales of EUR 1,016 billion in fiscal 2017, the company from Worms – nearly 50 km northwest of Heidelberg – is one of the world's leading plastics product manufacturers. Over 4,700 employees continue to further develop the knowledge and expertise gained from over seventy years of business.

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