A dozen of the leading antifouling paints are put to the test and rated by MBY in The Solent and the Mediterranean
AquaCote Foul Release £249.85
AquaCote is a silicone-based coating, which doesn’t include any biocides. Instead, the two-part paint creates a super slippery surface, which is difficult for fouling to adhere to. The paint is claimed to last three years
Despite feeling soft to touch, it
is a strong paint that can withstand fast speeds and should last for at least three years. However, boats need to be cruised fairly regularly at 8 knots or more to keep the paint clean and it can only be applied on a bare hull.
COLOUR FASTNESS: 5/5
There was no change in colour in any of the locations, keeping its distinctive blue throughout.
In the Mediterranean and Solent locations there was no weed, however on the East Coast, there was some weed growth and even a barnacle attached to the panel.
SLIME CONTROL: 2/5
Slime is where the AquaCote let itself down, with all three panels being covered in thick slime, although with nothing but the tide to move water past them that isn’t entirely surprising.
WASH TEST: 5/5
Despite being covered in thick slime, it took very little effort to clean the panels. Running a finger across removed everything apart from that solitary barnacle, suggesting that a few minutes cruising at 20 knots or so should blast most of the fouling off the slippery hull coating.
We know of at least one Med-based boater who is reporting impressive results with this new silicone-based product and these results seem to back that up, although allowing a barnacle to grow does worry us. Overall, an encouraging result from an environmentally sound solution.
Hempel Silic One £219.85
Like AquaCote, this is a two part silicone-based coating that doesn’t use biocides. Instead, it relies on a slippery surface to stop fouling attaching
Silic One can be applied to any boat although a minimum speed of 8 knots is required to keep the hull fully clean. It can only be applied to a stripped hull and needs a special tie coat (included in our cost) but annual top-up coats are cheaper.
COLOUR FASTNESS: 4/5
Being a sealed unit, and starting out in black, Silic One showed limited colour change. Only at the East Coast was there a rusty tinge at the waterline.
In the Solent and Mediterranean locations there were no signs of any barnacle or weed growth, although at the East Coast location the slime had started to form some simple weed-like patterns.
SLIME CONTROL: 4/5
In all three locations there was some minor slime build-up on the panel, but without any movement through the water this was almost inevitable. Even then slime was remarkably light and mostly at the waterline, with very little below this.
WASH TEST: 5/5
This is where the Silic One accelerated ahead of the others, requiring very little effort to remove the slime with a finger swipe. Spraying with the hose quickly brought the panel back to its original state, with water beading and rolling off it like rain off a freshly waxed car.
Radical solutions often don’t perform as well as claimed but Silic One gave us very impressive results. It’s not the cheapest or simplest to apply, and some yards have concerns over boats slipping in hoists, but the extra effort may well be worth it.