Ecospeed on the hull makes it possible for the Kennedy to always have a beautiful, clean water line.
Dutch mariners Marinus and Gerarda Scherpenisse, their trawler Kennedy, and Ecospeed
Born with the sea in their blood
Marinus and Gerarda Scherpenisse both come from a long line of Dutch barge-men/women going back several generations. They were born and bred on the water with the true Dutch seafaring spirit in their veins.“When I grew up, I was a bit more adventurous than the rest of my family so I went to sea for a while…” Marinus recalls. “…I never came back!” He has spent his life on ships.
In 1979, Marinus and his wife, Gerarda, bought their first ship, the Tikerak, a 500 tonne vessel designed for the rivers and inland waterways as well as for the sea.
Between then and 2006, Marinus and Gerarda owned four more ships and continued trading as far south as the Mediterranean and as far north as Finland. The last of these, the second Gerarda was a Finnish Ice Class 1A, 4,500 tonne cargo ship which they sold in 2006.
It was during their trading in the icy Baltic that Marinus first heard of Ecospeed. He read a number of articles which praised Ecospeed as the best possible protection for ice going hulls and would have had the second Gerarda coated with Ecospeed but did not want to invest the necessary funds to have the whole hull sand blasted when he didn’t expect to have the ship very long. But his interest in Ecospeed had been piqued.
All in all, Marinus calculates that with 6,000 hours per year, and 4.000 of those steaming at 10 knots, over 30 years this adds up to about 1.5 million sea miles in their various ships. They covered a lot of water. But they never had time to stop. So they made up for the constant rush of the cargo ships by sailing around the Mediterranean for seven years after Marinus retired from his advisory position in 2011.
All in all, Marinus calculates that with 6,000 hours per year, and 4,000 of those steaming at 10 knots, over 30 years this adds up to about 1.5 million sea miles in their various ships.
Kennedy trawler and Ecospeed
In 2018, Marinus and Gerarda built themselves a 12.8 m trawler-style yacht, the Kennedy to make their home. The hull was designed by Gaastmeer Design BV in the Dutch town of that name. “They make good calculations regarding stability,” says Marinus. “I have a full stability book on board which feels quite good considering my years as a former captain. You need to know about your ship.”
Finally that same winter Marinus was granted his longstanding wish to have Ecospeed on the hull of one of his ships. The Kennedy’s hull was grit-blasted and Ecospeed was applied in two coats.
In 2021 they made the trip down the English Channel and across the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean and eventually back to Rotterdam. The boat made the trip there and back with no trouble at all.
Experience with Ecospeed
Now that he has been sailing with Ecospeed on the hull for a couple of years, Marinus is in a position to evaluate his decision to use this special coating which is not yet very common on smaller yachts and boats. “Overall I feel good about it,” he says. “The initial application with the grit blasting probably came to about € 3.600 more than with a conventional coating. But if you compare that to the maintenance that you have to do with regular coatings… I think with a boat like this in the Mediterranean you would need to haul it out of the water every year [for coating repair/replacement of antifouling paint], and that costs you at least € 2.000 , so within two years you should have your money back. Of course you also have to clean Ecospeed, so I think within three years I’ll be even. The protection is of course much better with Ecospeed.What we have now will last for the rest of our lives I think. So that’s good. And besides that, for the environment it’s the very best of course because you emit nothing at all into the water.”
Marinus has found a solution to the hull cleaning which is to carry compact, in-water cleaning equipment on board with him when he sails, and do some cleaning himself when needed. Then he can get a full hull cleaning and conditioning done by Hydrex or another qualified, professional diving/cleaning company once a year. This will not only clean off all the fouling completely and restore the coating to how it was after application, but will also condition and improve the surface of the hull, making it smoother with each cleaning done. The most recent professional cleaning of the Kennedy’s hull was completed in Antwerp at the Hydrex headquarters in February 2022. Now, being able to clean the hull himself will enable Marinus to keep the fouling down to the minimum at all times, which is recommended.
“Before we leave a mooring or anchorage, we can swim around the boat and remove most of the fouling,” says Marinus. He has noticed the increase in hull smoothness after the recent cleaning of the Kennedy in Antwerp by Hydrex divers and feels that with a few more such cleanings the hull will be incredibly smooth. Meanwhile he will make sure he sails with a clean hull by using his onboard cleaning equipment in between full cleaning/conditionings.
“The protection is of course much better with Ecospeed.What we have now will last for the rest of our lives I think. And besides that, for the environment it’s the very best of course because you emit nothing at all into the water.”
On the horizon
Marinus and Gerarda are heading back to the Mediterranean. “ We want to be there in early spring,” says Marinus. “We have also been planning a trip across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and hope that that will work out this year or the next,” Marinus says. “Then we’ll see how it goes with the Ecospeed!”
It’s comforting to know that the hull coating will not only provide the best protection possible of the Kennedy’s steel hull, but will also not pollute the Caribbean waters with heavy metals and biocides when they arrive at their destination.