A dozen of the leading antifouling paints are put to the test and rated by MBY in The Solent and the Mediterranean
Hempel Mille NCT [not for retail sale]
Mille NCT is a self-polishing paint that is for professional application only as some of its chemicals are not approved for DIY use. The paint structure gradually disolves and wears away over time, exposing fresh layers of biocide
As with all self-polishing paints, it is not designed for long periods of high-speed use, but should cope fine with boats that cruise an average amount at 20-25 knots.
COLOUR FASTNESS: 3/5
We have to be careful judging a red paint against white ones, however by the time we removed the test panels, the vibrant colour had dulled and showed the dirt as much as the white panels but without the turquoise tints.
In the Med and Solent there was no sign of weed at either area. In the East Coast location there were signs that weed could be forming in the centre of the panel.
SLIME CONTROL: 3/5
The Mediterranean proved easy for Mille NCT, with hardly any slime. At the Solent there was an uneven spread of slime, which in places was quite thick. At the East Coast location, there was a thin spread of slime across the centre of the panel.
WASH TEST: 4/5
There was little slime to rub off except on the Solent panel and even there it came away easily with a wipe of the finger. The hose removed most of the rest of it, leaving just a slight green tinge behind where it had come away. A strong performer all-round.
This paint worked pretty well, preventing all weed and barnacles from growing and exhibiting only some patchy slime which washed away easily. The colour fade was a bit disappointing, but as a protective coating it performed well.
International Micron 99 [not for retail sale]
Micron 99 is a true Copolymer for professional application only, which releases biocides as part of a chemical reaction regardless of boat speed
Micron 99 is a tough paint that’s able to withstand regular fast trips without wearing away. The copolymer structure means it should work equally well even when left static in a marina.
COLOUR FASTNESS: 4/5
Above the waterline the colour changed from white to a gradual turquoise. It’s not too severe though, particularly if you chose a dark colour.
In the Mediterranean and Solent locations there was no weed or barnacle growth at all. But in the East Coast location the slime had started to show signs of weed-like growth, which over the winter could have developed into fully grown weed.
SLIME CONTROL: 3/5
There was little or no slime present in the Mediterranean location, while it was the best on test in the Solent. However, on the East Coast the opposite was true with Micron 99 exhibiting the heaviest slime growth of the group, showing just how much performance can differ from one location to the next.
WASH TEST: 4/5
Despite the heavy slime in the East Coast location, the finger wipe proved that the slime wasn’t strongly attached to the panel and after a hose down, the panel returned to its original white.
This was the only Copolymer type of antifouling on this test and it proved to have varying results. The Med and Solent tests showed great results, but it was the muddy East Coast water that let it down. It’s a professional application, so can’t be bought off the shelf for DIY use.
International Trilux 33 £99.99
Trilux 33 is a self-polishing paint that erodes over the season. As it dissolves, a new coat can be applied with little preparation needed
Trilux 33 has moderate durability, and can be applied to most boats with little consideration to performance. It can also be applied to trim tabs and sterndrives, unlike most copper-based antifouling paints.
COLOUR FASTNESS: 5/5
Starting off a traditional white, the Trilux 33 kept its colour throughout the season, showing no signs of turquoise discolouration.
This paint performed very differently in the separate locations. There was little evidence of any weed or barnacle growth in the Med or on the East Coast, but in the Solent there were patches of early stage weed.
SLIME CONTROL: 2/5
The slime build-up was quite severe in all but the Mediterranean location. The Solent proved to be particularly challenging for the Trilux and it was towards the bottom end of performance on the East Coast too.
WASH TEST: 2/5
Running the finger across the paint panel took off the worst of the slime and weed growth but there was still a layer of more stubborn growth left behind even after the wash test, suggesting that the boat would need to be used regularly at speed to stop any build-up of fouling.
The Trilux gave mixed results and probably would have performed better on a planing boat that’s used regularly. However, its relatively durable nature, excellent colour-fastness and suitability for use on sterndrives and trim tabs means it could be a sound choice for some.