A Captain Who Struck Gold

Nearly 20 years ago, on a trip to New Zealand, a Fort Lauderdale captain came across a remarkable solution for keeping running gear free of marine growth.


“A year and a half later when I dry-docked in Miami, the props looked like the day I’d launched in Auckland!” —Dave Andrews, superyacht captain

More Speed
Less Fuel
Less Maintenance

 

In 2000, Captain Dave Andrews, now a 38-year industry veteran, was working aboard Sally Ann, a 151-foot 1996 Delta. A large-displacement yacht, Sally Ann had sat in Southport in Queensland, Australia for several solid weeks before departing for Auckland for her five-year survey haul-out.

 

Early in their journey, Captain Dave noticed that the vessel’s fuel burn was unusually high; at the rate they were going, they would run out of fuel before they reached their destination. Making an unscheduled stop on Lord Howe Island—approximately 460 miles from Brisbane and 960 miles from Auckland—Captain Dave dived on the yacht to investigate the cause. It turned out that Sally Ann’s running gear was heavily fouled.

 

“I have never seen barnacles so large!” recalls Captain Dave. “They were about 4 centimeters in diameter and so many that they were on top of each other.”

 

 

Captain Dave first discovered Propspeed in 2000, as captain of the Sally Ann. Because of heavy marine fouling, Sally Ann was burning excessive fuel on her way from Queensland to Auckland.

Captain Dave first discovered Propspeed in 2000, as captain of the Sally Ann. Because of heavy marine fouling, Sally Ann was burning excessive fuel on her way from Queensland to Auckland.

After a quick clean-up, Sally Ann continued on to New Zealand as planned, running slower than usual to conserve fuel. Orams Marine Service Center performed the haul-out once Sally Ann arrived. Just as she was about to go back in the water, a service manager told Captain Dave about a coating that protected propellers from fouling while increasing speed and reducing fuel consumption. After the fouling issues they had experienced, Captain Dave was keen to put these claims to the test and had Propspeed applied to Sally Ann’s propellers before relaunch.

 

“A year and a half later when I dry-docked in Miami, the props looked like the day I’d launched in Auckland!” Captain Dave reports. “I asked a rep from International Paint if they had anything like Propspeed. They did not.” Dave, his wife Yvette and a captain friend named Charlie Johnson then formed Propspeed USA and began importing the revolutionary gold-colored coating. “We airfreighted three or four small loads then started bringing in pallets with 200 to 300 kits at a time. Charlie and I went to a lot of boatyards and crawled around under boats, teaching application.”

 

But Propspeed, like many new things, wasn’t embraced immediately. “Yards and captains were skeptical; someone even called it snake oil. But the results quickly became apparent.” Several of Dave’s well-known captain friends sang Propspeed’s praises in local trade magazines, which elevated Propspeed’s profile and accelerated sales.

 

 

Captain Dave (right) with a tech at RMK Merrill-Stevens shipyard in Miami, circa 2002. This application was done on the motor yacht Cakewalk. Dave’s polo sports the old Propspeed logo.

Captain Dave (right) with a tech at RMK Merrill-Stevens shipyard in Miami, circa 2002. This application was done on the motor yacht Cakewalk. Dave’s polo sports the old Propspeed logo.

 

“We slowly began to get orders. My enthusiasm sold product—and the need for a product that would do what Propspeed does. I knew it worked, and once a few others saw, it took off. Demand was doubling every 4 to 6 months. Captains and yards saw the clean, or relatively clean, running gear as the boats would haul out. After the choices we had before—antifoul, which wouldn’t stick, or nothing at all—Propspeed was a no-brainer.”

 

As Propspeed’s popularity exploded, distribution was transferred to Oceanmax, a New Zealand marine coatings company with a nationwide, and eventually international, presence.

 

Having logged approximately 325,000 nautical miles over the course of his career, Dave’s expertise in matters of vessel performance and fuel consumption is second to none. He continues to captain luxury superyachts and is currently helming Kismet, a 312-foot Lürssen that travels to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Southeastern United States and Bahamas. Kismet is currently for sale by Moran Yacht & Ship.

 

“Over a decade later, Propspeed remains the industry leader, with no competition. I continue to use and recommend Propspeed.”

 

 

Dave now captains Kismet, a 312-foot Lürssen superyacht sailing to the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Bahamas. But he’s still a Propspeed fan!

Dave now captains Kismet, a 312-foot Lürssen superyacht sailing to the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Bahamas. But he’s still a Propspeed fan!

“I knew it worked, and once a few others saw, it took off. Demand was doubling every 4 to 6 months.”

Dave Andrews

Superyacht captain and Propspeed distributor

What size Propspeed kit do I need?

The right kit for your needs will depend on the size of the area you’re coating. Our three kit sizes correspond to the following coverage areas:
200ml: up to 0.4m2 or 4.3ft2
500ml: up to 1m2 or 10.75ft2
1 liter: up to 2mor 21.5ft2

 

How does Propspeed work?

Propspeed is a foul release coating, not an anti-foul, so it doesn’t harm marine life. The top coat on the Propspeed system is an ultra-slick surface that marine growth can’t grip. Propspeed’s effectiveness does depend on movement of your boat - the more you use it, the better Propspeed performs. Propspeed sets itself apart from the competition with the exceptionally strong chemical and physical bond between the metal substrate, the primer and the top coat - this ensures that the Propspeed coating actually stays on your running gear.

Is Propspeed environmentally friendly?

Yes. Propspeed contains no copper, tin or any other toxic substances harmful to marine life.

How long does Propspeed last?

Propspeed will last at least a year, but many customers report another one or even two years service life. This depends on what sort of marine environment your boat is moored in, the water temperature, and how often you use it.

Will Propspeed lose its effectiveness if my boat is out on the water for a period of time?

No, provided the only maintenance given to the parts with Propspeed applied is a light wiping with a non-abrasive cloth, the boat can be hauled and launched multiple times, or left out for long periods without affecting the performance of Propspeed. If you are having the bottom of the boat high pressure washed ensure that any Propspeed coated parts are covered to prevent damage.

Can Propspeed protect against Zebra mussels and other freshwater growth?

Propspeed can be used successfully in fresh or salt water. As it’s a foul release, not a biocide or anti-foul, Propspeed relies on a slick surface - it doesn’t matter what sort of marine growth you have, it won’t be able to get a grip.

Can I apply Propspeed myself?

For best results we recommend Propspeed is applied by a trained applicator. See our applicator finder, or  or your haul-out facility may already have an arrangement with an applicator.

What is the shelf life of Propspeed

All Propspeed kits have a shelf life of 3 years from date of manufacture.
The date of manufacture should be clearly labelled on your kit and components

What parts on the bottom of the boat can be coated with Propspeed?

Propspeed can be applied to any metal part below the waterline, including propellers, shafts, struts, rudders, trim tabs and through hull fittings. You can also use the clear coat directly on plastic bow-thrusters and underwater lights.

Is Propspeed expensive?

Propspeed may cost more to buy than conventional anti-fouling paints, but the feedback we get constantly from boat-owners is that it pays for itself. By keeping the running gear free of marine growth, not only does it reduce the time spent cleaning at next haul-out, but it reduces your running costs by increasing your speed and reducing your fuel consumption

What sort of maintenance does Propspeed need?

None. The foul release formulation is self-cleaning as soon as the propeller starts up. If required, a light wipe with a non-abrasive cloth will remove any marine growth. When hauling out, ensure the Propspeed is wiped down with a non-abrasive cloth before any marine growth on the surface can dry. Water-blasting, scraping and other abrasive cleaning will damage the Propspeed and eliminate its effectiveness.

Will Propspeed affect the life of my sacrificial anodes?

The application of Propspeed greatly reduces the wetted metal surface and the positive outcome is that our customers are seeing an increase of vessel speed with less RPMs, fuel savings and, the protection from stray current damage resulting in longer sacrificial anode life. It has been observed by our customers that by using Propspeed on their running gear and propellers they have seen a dramatic reduction in corrosion to their underwater metals and that their sacrificial anodes are lasting longer..

How long after application of Propspeed until I can launch my boat?

A minimum of eight hours drying time is required after the final coat. This is based on an average air temperature of 15 deg C, or 59 deg F. If the air temperature is colder than this, a minimum of 24 hour curing time is recommended.