It sounds like an April´s fool joke, but it isn’t: As per decision made some weeks ago, the utilization, storage and selling of one of the best bottom paints is now forbidden. International´s VC 17 m is – well, was – widely used predominantly for fresh water bottom paints, as we do for the Lake of Constance for example. Our last yachts have finally prepared with this antifouling paint are now handed over. The search for an effective alternative is on. Many will switch to VC Offshore bottom paint, some (as we will as well) will try Hempel´s Hempaspeed TF.

Thing of the past: Copper colored VC 17 m

The ban of this product seems to be mainly fueled by the use of PTFE, in short: Teflon. This chemical is considered highly carcinogenic and will do great harm to marine life when peeled off of the boat´s hull. Fish eat it, absorb it and this stuff will be enriched inside the bodies, taken on by humans if consumed at the end of the food chain. I personally think it is a good step. But what to do now for our boats? As announced by the VC 17 m-producer, International, as of today, there is an interesting alternative available now!

International´s new “Pro”-fouling products

International cares for the environment and after almost half a decade of research the company is proud to launch a new series of bottom paint products: The VC 17 eco-line. These aren´t just chemical-free products, bare greenwashing as some grumblers might say, this is a whole new level. The company calls them “profouling”-products to underline this groundbreaking new approach.

Eco-friendly boating!

“There are already boats on the market which are 100 er cent made out of naturally sourced products, like flax or hemp.”, says a press statement: “We also see that the resin is substituted by recyclable chemicals. Our approach is even more daring: Our new eco-line bottom paints are edible – and they are tasty as hell!” We are currently trying out the all new VC 17 eco product on one of our new boats. The end result and a final assessment will take some more time, but as of now: It looks awesome, and it really tastes good.

Trying out the new stuff

How this magic new eco-friendly planet-saving non-toxic marine wildlife-respecting wonder bottom paint works? We don´t know. But what we can say is that it looks awesome, costs a lot more and smells just as fine. What a great time to be alive. But there is even more …

More flavors – more fun!

“As your sailboat or power boat needs a refreshment of its bottom paint on a yearly basis”, the press release further comments: “We thought of maybe spicing up the once boring and hazardous work.” In this, the new VC 17 eco is available in a load of different tastes and colors. Trying out Raspberry was swathing our workshop in a fresh, juicy odor that was fun to work within.

Strawberry: A new favorite!

“It just smells so good, that I have to wear a breathing mask”, my dear colleague told me: “It´s so tasty, I had to restrain myself from trying to literally lick off the freshly painted hull again …” The Strawberry flavor is rich and just as natural. We are sure that sailing on such a yacht will change our great hobby for good. You are a performance-oriented sailor and want something more speedy, faster and “fresher”? Well, this is for you:

Even fresher: Spearmint!

VC 17 eco in Spearmint is a sporty flavor that will make you fast looking boat even more faster looking. Hold your breath, this is a bottom paint equivalent to the Airwaves chewing gum, taking away your breath for at least the first half minute or so. Akzo Nobel, parent company of International, is currently planning to widen the palette of flavors to even more regional tastes, like Cheeseburger (optimized for the North American market) or Sushi for the Asian market. They even think of awarding the Nobel Prize to themselves.

Opting for a more eco-friendly bottom paint

It´s a crazy world, indeed. There´s a lot of money to be made with the green conscience of the consumers. There are also so many chances for smart people to come up with real solutions to solve the problems. The ban of VC 17 m due to ecological restraints is a step forward. Making sailing more sustainable and respecting the environment we are all setting out to enjoy, is something that should be common sense, of course. Not falling for the snake oil salesmen and their “revolutionary” products is the order of the day.

Your decision: Which bottom paint?

It´s your decision as a responsible skipper to decide how much of a footprint you and your boat will do. Pesticides-free and generally nontoxic bottom paints is a good thing. But switching to self-peeling products which work by abrasion may also not be the final word: Imagine all those hundreds of thousands of bottom paints being peeled off each year … tons and tons of microscopic stuff remaining in our oceans. Well, let´s see which flavors the industry is going to offer. Have a great 1st of April, guys.


More revolutionary new products and trends:

Utilizing the thermal lift effect for Gennakers

Secumar´s new life jacket: “Snack´n´Rescue”