Sunday, 17 August 2014

Barnacle Busting

Barnacles and a solitary oyster living on the inlet fittings.
Almost two years since we last applied anti-fouling paint, and the barnacles are starting to grow on our hull once again.

Frustrated with barnacles blocking our raw water intake, in April this year we installed an Ultrasonic Antifoul System on Crystal Blues (read more here & here).  Though the Ultrasonic System is marketed to control barnacle growth on hulls, we were really wanting the system to keep our water intakes clear.  

Since the installation, the inlet hoses and filter basket have been growth free.  One victory for technology.  However the jury is not 100% convinced (yet) on the system's effectiveness on the hull.  Four months after the last clean, diving on the boat we find a fairly regular covering of small barnacles (the boat has been sitting in a marina in Singapore for the entire time).  Would it have been worse without the Ultrasonic system ?  Cautiously, we believe the answer is yes.

Systems Rich Neil
High Tech Cleaning

Removing the barnacles with a paint scraper is an arduous task, so this time we tried using the WaveBlade tool.  

We had looked at these tools with some suspicion over the past few boat shows.  Its like a hand held electric chisel, waterproof, and powered by 12 volts DC.  Faced with several acres of nasties, it seemed worth a try.

I can say this is a wondrous tool !  In use, the best description I can give is that its like shaving the hull.  With a light pressure and low angle, the blade glides across the surface of the hull and simply explodes everything in its path.  The small barnacles don't even slow it down, they just fall off, and the few large critters we found disappeared in seconds. The wave blade isn't specially fast, but it does make removing the critters an easier task.

Shaun & Harrison Helping Out With Scraper & Scrubber.
Low Tech Cleaning

Of course an even easier method is to send someone else in to do the dirty work.

Isn't that what grand kids are for ?  

You can never start hull cleaning too young, and  three year old Harrison was very keen to help Poppa Neil.  

Long may it last.