Back in 2002 I have been offered a not so really brand new neptun 23 on the lake of Zurich. I had been thinking about that a while …should I buy it…or not. Or what? My main concern had been that it is more or less like a owning a cottage somewhere. You are obliged to go there and will always be in the same place. If you are chartering a boat, you would be able to where ever you want. Well, in the end I bought it. Also, because I wanted to gain experience(s) in owning a boat and what can go wrong to avoid one or another mistake later on. Well…. yes. There had been some a lot of learnings.
Beam 2.50 m
Mast 8.30 m
Segelfläche 28 qm
Weight 1500 kg
Ballast 450 kg
Draft 0.85 m
2 stroke outboard 10PS
well, admittedly…. it did look a bit better in real life. At this point in time it had been very difficult to find a boat with a berth and most of the seas in Switzerland and Germany. And this boat was sold with a berth. Bingo! So in November 2002 I bought that boat at a price of 15’000 swiss francs (around 12’000 €), including a trailer and the right on that berth. From a guy who never owned a licence to sail the boat on that lake. 😉 Spring 2003 we cleaned and polished it and as well put a new antifouling coating on it. While looking at the bottom of the boat, we saw small bubbles there. At that point, I was still hoping that this would not be osmosis. Anyhow, we had a great summer on the boat. It had been very hot that summer and we really used it a lot. End of that year I put the boat in a hall near my home. And had a close look at the ‹bubbles› in the underwater area. Smelled strange, when I opened one. I decided to ask a professional and contacted international yacht colors. They sent someone from switzerland who examined the boat. That was the point when my fears turned into certainty. Osmosis. Not Osiris, thats something different. What to do now? Just ignore and sail it? Pay around 10’000 CHF to get that fixed? With a little help of my friends that should be possible to do that on our own. So I bought a professional grinder and we started off. All the gelcoat below the waterline had to come off.
Grinding off the gelcoat
After several weeks of work in winter we had that done. Needless to say, that we did not visit the gym in parallel. It’s really hard work with a grinder. Also with a professional grinder. Shortly before I was finished, the grinder stopped working. Luckily, it had been new and went back to the shop. They asked me what I had been doing with it, they never had one returned after such a short time looking like it had been used for years. :)) Well, they replaced it with a new one and the work could be finished.
After the grinding job, I let washed the glassfiber and let it dry for 6 weeks with the help of electric heaters. Now I simply had to wait for the right temperature (near 20 degrees Celsius) to start the coating with epoxy. Somewhen around my birthday mid march we started coating. It is not rocket science, but you need to adhere to the correct timing. So we started early in the morning and had applied 3 layers of epoxy in the evening.
Now apply the intermediate layers
And finish with the antifouling, international VC17 in that case.
Let me put it straightforward and simple. If you have a boat made from polyester, there are chances to also have osmosis. Especially, if in that case there is no water stopping layer between the antifouling and the gelcoat. Like in that case. That sort of refit is doable on you own and you can save a lot of money if you are willing to invest time and work. It had cost me around 1/3 of what it had been if done by a shipyard. If I would have done that with a 40 footer… don’t know. My learning from that is, that polyester is ok. But as with any other material, you need to something to protect it from the elements. Next boat where I want to be living on will be either steel with professional epoxy coating or aluminium.