Propeller antifouling with Velox

My boat is kept in Greece, in the Ionian from 2007 – 2009, since then in the Aegean. Based in Leros we have cruised widely, all over that sea. Initially my Bruntons propeller was not antifouled but increasing amounts of mostly shell fouling persuaded me to try antifouling it. I soon found that conventional eroding or hard paints had a very short life and were largely a waste of paint. I then came across Velox, developed in Italy specifically for Mediterranean use.

The paint forms part of a two-pack system consisting of an etch primer and top coat. However, in my locker was an unopened tin of Hammerite Special Metals primer, described as being suitable for all non-ferrous metals and alloys, so I decided to use that.

At the beginning of the 2012 season I abraded the propeller using 180 wet and dry paper, used dry. I then applied two coats of the Hammerite product, followed by four coats of Velox. At the end of the season the appearance of the propeller was as shown.

Note that in every case the photographs show the propeller before pressure washing. As we are constantly moving throughout the season the general level of hull fouling is not high.

The amount of fouling is pleasingly low but the adhesion between primer and Velox was poor, leading to chipping and loss of paint at the high pressure areas of the blades, reminiscent of cavitation damage. For the 2013 season I abraded the propeller using 180 grit to remove all Velox. The Hammerite was left in place, as abraded with 180 grit before applying two coats of Velox. Thanks to the success of the previous season I used the same procedure to paint the P-bracket also. At the end of the 2013 season the condition of both was considerably better.

The same procedure was used for 2014. It is interesting to note that the Hammerite primer has never been renewed. I have only abraded back the previous season’s Velox and reapplied it. Appearance at the end of the 2014 season was good, only slight pitting on the pressure surfaces. No fouling.

The same procedure was followed for 2015

Very good results this time, no fouling and minimal pitting of the Velox. Same again for 2016

A little more tubeworm fouling this time as we spent most of August berthed in Leros marina, initially for a short break ashore but then while repairing the engine raw water pump that seized solid while we were away. We missed the 2017 season altogether for health reasons but followed the same procedure for 2018.

Another excellent result, very limited fouling and some small loss of Velox. One very pleasing observation is that anode life has doubled since painting the propeller and therefore reducing the size of the cathode considerably. Previous history before painting was that the propeller and shaft anodes lasted one and two seasons respectively. Since painting the propeller anode last two seasons and the shaft anode would have gone on for several more seasons but was replaced after four. The final photograph in the series shows it after one season, almost as new, haul-out 2018..

Covid prevented us from visiting Greece for three seasons and it was not until September 2022 that we launched again. Changes in our personal circumstances determined that after 13 years in Leros we would return to the Ionian. A cruise of around 400 miles, taking nearly two months, brought us back to Preveza where we hauled out. As might be expected the propeller was in fine condition after such limited use.