After two circumnavigations and a combined 900,000 nautical miles of racing, Coppercoat has thoroughly proven its durability on the latest edition of the Clipper Race...

One of the toughest tests for both crew and the Clipper 70 racing yachts, each Clipper Race sees yachts cover 40,000 nautical miles and some of the most hostile conditions on earth.

A well-maintained fleet is fundamental to performance, with the choice of antifoul being crucial. Antifouling reduces the impact marine growth has on speed, boat handling and corrosion by applying a protective layer to the hull.

Before the 2017-18 edition, the Clipper Race applied Coppercoat, the water-based and VOC-free antifoul, to the hulls of the 11-boat fleet.

Six years on since the first applications, the Coppercoat team paid a visit to Clipper Race HQ to look at how the treatments have fared after an incredible two full circumnavigations, including more than 80,000 nautical miles of sailing per yacht.

“We love seeing ‘our’ boats coming out of the water, no matter where they’ve been – but with boats that have been around the world twice it’s particularly special and interesting!” says Jayson Kenny, Director of Coppercoat.

The moment of truth

Jay Haller, Clipper Race Maintenance Manager, knows the fleet inside out, was also present to see how the Coppercoat antifoul has stood the test of time.

Kenny said: “It’s fantastic to see the boats come out of the water, before any cleaning or maintenance, so we can judge exactly how the Coppercoat has performed on the various parts of the boat.”

Upon inspection, Kenny concludes: “Given the age of the Coppercoat and the distance each yacht has travelled, I’m delighted to see the product doing as well as it is.

“I’m confident the boats are going to do another edition of the race with the same coat, which is just unbelievable for an environmentally-responsible antifoul.”

Performance, sustainability and race implications

Coppercoat has enabled the Clipper Race to become more sustainable, whilst simultaneously saving the Maintenance Team crucial time both on and off the race – and increasing yacht performance.

The unique Coppercoat hard epoxy antifoul can provide a 4-5% performance improvement over traditional antifoul because of its smooth, non-porous surface.

Compared to traditional self-eroding options, using Coppercoat on the fleet has saved over 170 litres of antifoul solvent from wearing away into the world’s oceans.

To quote Jay Haller: “We have not had to re-paint the hulls after completing two circumnavigations, and there have only been a few very small patches that have had to be touched up on a couple of the yachts during this refit.

“On the whole, the Coppercoat has done an incredibly good job. Having dived on the boats during the Clipper Race to inspect the hulls, I found only a very light dusting of growth, which came off with a light swipe of my hand – it has saved us so much time.

“Using Coppercoat means there is no need to regularly lift, wash and re-antifoul the yachts. In addition, using the same coat of antifoul and not adding extra during the race improves boat speed.”

The future will bring yet another circumnavigation using the existing Coppercoat antifoul, with only some localised touch-ups, rather than completely re-antifouling the fleet.

Setting off during summer 2023, it will be the third consecutive circumnavigation and over 40,000 extra nautical miles for the Coppercoat antifoul – and another chance to showcase the longevity and performance of the product. By then the fleet will have completed well over 1,300,000 nautical miles of sailing with Coppercoat.

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