Never trust great deals when purchasing antifouling paint!!!

Last May I was over-thrilled when my friend Constantin Lascu, who was taking care of Mem Pas Peur, called me with some very good news – that he found a great deal for antifouling and primer. I was already keen to give Mem Pas Peur a good scraping and adorn her with new layers of paint at the beginning of a new sailing season and thus, without checking any other offers, I accepted on the spot. The name “International” already sounded familiar, in fact there were a couple of jars already on the boat from her former owner, Marc (the French sailor with tremendous experience whom I mentioned in a previous post). Trusting Constantin wholeheartedly, I followed his recommendation and bought 3 jars of antifouling paint and 2 jars of primer,  at 450 RON each. More or less, 500 EURs. I don’t know why at that time this amount didn’t seem huge (this year I got an offer for antifouling and primmer of 700 RON, roughly one third of the “excellent” offer I blindly took upon last year!). I blame it on my lack of experience and complete trust in the person whom I chose to look after my boat…

I already described here how happy I was to see Mem Pas Peur clean and beautifully painted. Alas, my joy was not to last. The boat was not moved almost at all over the last summer due to a very tight racing schedule. But believing in commercials and seeing how the boat’s hull looked one year after the previous cleaning performed by Marc, I did not expect that by October, only five months later, my boat would be a giant repository of myriad sea creatures dwelling unhindered in various outposts spread over the entire extent of the hull.

My first shock occurred when I untied the mooring in Tomis Marina in my attempt to take the boat to Limanu, a 28 mile sail to the south. It’s true that I did not choose a particularly favourable day, with winds blowing 15 to 20 knots from S and SE and a 1 meter chop from the same direction. Under these conditions, Mem Pas Peur simply would not point to the wind under engine. At full throttle she could not even reach two knots. It took me one hour to leave the Tomis Marina performing too many unwanted gybes sometimes only a few meters away from the giant concrete water-breakers, quite an adrenaline filled spectacle for all watchers on the waterfront. I kind of guessed the source of all these problems during the long sail to Limanu, but could not even imagine the fouling magnitude. It took us 10 long hours to motor-sail upwind to Limanu, not a very pleasing experience given the boat’s slow performance, inability to point high to the wind and the obnoxious chop that made us all feel sea-sick.

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My sea-sickness stricken crew: Alex on port-side (Alex is a hardcore mountaineer with 6 8,000 meter Himalayan peaks climbed without supplementary oxygen), Andrei on starboard-side (my long-term sailing partner and close friend). Somewhere inside the boat Bogdan U could not get up 🙂

After we entered the calm waters of the Mangalia harbour, a completely different scenario awaited us. The wind dropped completely and the most dense fog I had ever witnessed engulfed us. We “snailed” along lethargically at close to 2 knots without seeing anything more than 10 meters away from the boat. Spooky bird calls erupted from time to time in the stillness of the night while we all peered strenuously to locate the Life Harbour Marina. Utterly exhausted we moored around midnight knowing that we still had a long way back to Bucharest. But I was finally happy – I managed to bring Mem Pas Peur to her wintering berth despite her unfit condition for sailing. This is where I hired a diver to see exactly what was happening below water. Without any other comments, you can see it for yourself 🙂

Therefore, I feel I must re-emphasise this hard-learned lesson:  NEVER-EVER TRUST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE PROMOTIONS FOR ANTI-FOULING! You will end-up paying much more in the long term not to mention the inconvenience and potential danger of trusting your boat for a long trip knowing her to be in a proper condition while in reality she can barely move!

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