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Out of sight?

by John Curnow, Editor, 4 Sep 2019 11:00 UTC
Swim platform mechanism being eaten alive. Over-protection results in massive coating loss. © Marine Protection Systems (Australia)

Should not mean out of mind, however. Now they may not be the prettiest item to rave on about, but the job they do is utterly essential, so herewith follows some important information about anodes. Yep. Thank God they are sacrificial, because of they were not, your screws, shafts, rudders and so on would all be a lot worse off for it.

For ages, the job has fallen onto heavy zinc anodes that have an environmental impact. Lets face it, all anodes are eyesores, and need to be frequently placed about your hull to protect all the crucial gear that lies under the waterline. In the face of a growing need to be environmentally more sustainable, I wanted to see what new technology was out there, so that we might have less zinc ablating onto the sea bed, have less coating material falling off or need to be removed during scrubbing, and offer less occurrence of marine growth which then requires more fuel to push the boat along.

Other things to look at might be:

  • Preventing growth in intakes and resultant engine wear or loss
  • Less cavitation from numerous items on your running surface
  • Easier and faster slipping/antifouling
  • Not as much need for diver, less coating being taken off

So thanks for making it this far, and if you thought that was one hell of a shopping list, then consider that the benefits to you, your pocket with direct costs, and also fuel, as well as the environment overall. Accordingly, a bit of time investigating it all would be well worth it. So we did...

It wasn't long before we saw Marine Protection Systems (MPS) Australia, who are the manufacturer of the new-technology Maddox Anode. Evidently, they care enough to be not only thinking about a solution, but actually making and selling one!

Cathodic protection from galvanic corrosion is a subject way bigger than this editorial. However, if you take the big picture: look at the whole food chain, then having marine life with zinc in it is not ideal. That most anodes also contain cadmium is of even more concern, because heavy metals are predominantly best left alone, right there on the Periodic Table.

Waxing on lyrically? I think not, for serious illnesses including kidney disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are all linked to this, with studies also finding concerns over immune system deficiencies are valid. After all, the lighthouse keepers of old went 'mad' as a result of their exposure to mercury vapour.

So in the recreational and light commercial sector we are seeing changes take place. Interestingly, over-protection is just as much of an issue as under-protection, something I was not aware of until starting this. Jessica Gatt from MPS explains, "In a nutshell, by providing too much protection - voltage and current potential being achieved by the connection between anode and cathode (metal being protected) - an effect called 'Cathodic Disbondment' occurs."

"Cathodic disbondment is the loss of adhesion between a protective coating and its metal substrate due to the products of cathodic reduction reaction (corrosion reaction) that take place in the interface of coatings. Disbondment of coating occurs when coatings in a cathodic protection system interact either chemically or physically, ultimately causing coating loss."

"Commonly this action is readily seen on stainless steel swim platforms and trim tabs, where coating loss and poor performance (resulting in high growth) is seen within a matter of weeks, no matter how good the application of paint system is. The anode current potential simply drives off the coating. Once metal is exposed, the anodes will inevitably have to work harder to provide protection, increasing the cathodic currents, thereby disrupting the adhesion even further. And so on, and so forth."

Gatt added, "Remember this cycle: Overprotection = Cathodic Disbondment = Increased anode wear.

In essence, the greater the cathodic disbondment, the greater the anode fallout. It's a vicious cycle, but not something that is not possible to overcome."

OK. The other really crucial aspect to remember here is that this is not a 'one-size-fits-all' kind of situation. Different vessel construction (such as alloy, steel, timber, and composites, along with your running gear) also play a major role in what will work for you, and we can come back to that at another time, for in a way, each and every craft is an individual, just like you the owner.

Yet to have one transom mounted low-voltage composite aluminium anode, not several heavy zinc ones on your running surface, is a bonus on so many fronts, as highlighted at the beginning. In researching this, I was impressed to see that already one manufacturer is fitting the Maddox Anode as OEM. Industry leader, Palm Beach Motor Yachts (Grand Banks) was able to ensure the best levels of corrosion protection is being achieved, whilst ensuring the best outcome in terms of performance of coatings and minimising marine growth for their customers. The addition of a positive environmental effect is a marvellous bonus.

When I saw a commercial vessel with the before and after images, it was quite revelatory. It had overheated an engine due to growth in the intake, and was losing various coatings from just about everything that is crucial. Not a good thing at all, plus it was burning more fuel to achieve her required speeds. Then seeing her come out of the water after 16 whole months of service under her new anode with nothing to do but smile - well it all became quite clear.

As we say, this is a huge subject, and we have but opened the door. This link will arm you with more than information to start building your own solution that is guaranteed to save you money on many fronts (AUS can buy them here), and look after the very thing you are out there to enjoy - the sea.


It is true, I did pay a lot of attention when I saw that Dockmate had become part of National Safe Boating Council's Admiral Club in the USA. There are more people coming into boating, and more boats on the water, so we do need to ensure everyone has a great time, and returns back to port, too.

Being able to dock single-handed, and with lower stress sounds favourable to me. So I spoke with Mark Tucker from Dockmate Sydney, who has a long history of working with his clients to find them their perfect boat. "We have seen growth in sales of our user-friendly Dockmate® wireless remotes. A year or two ago, the feedback we were receiving was that whilst many boat owners had heard about docking remotes, at that time they were perceived to be expensive and much more importantly, unreliable."

"Today, we use state-of-the-art communication technology known as Frequency Hopping, which means changing channels five times per second, and this makes the system highly secure, and it's also affordable. Best of all, it's modular design means that you can take it with you when you upgrade your boat. The main thing we hear back from clients is how easy and intuitive it is to use."

Fire and Insurance

Information is quite scarce, but if it is thought that the massive fires in Doha have affected the Qatari Royal Family's fleet, then it got me to thinking about the massive fire at Lürssen's a while back. That, in conjunction with natural disasters put an unwelcome spotlight on the marine sector, which is mere inches away from not having underwriting support.

Whether the Qatari's are insured or not is not for me to review, but it does remind us all about being diligent, careful and above all respectful of the partner you have in your insurer. In an earlier article, Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance provided this wonderful information on the state of the global insurance market and if you could make time to review it, I am sure you will have a greater appreciation of the macro environment we are in.

Who's a lucky boy, then?

Well that would be me. So what's better than taking out one Rivera? Being on board five Rivieras as they head to the Sydney International Boat Show! We have a full written report here, and if you are time-poor, then at the bottom the whole 420nm trip is condensed down into one three and half minute video - please enjoy.

When somebody says come on, I want to take you out at 60 knots facing forward and not too far above the water, well you're kind of bound to take them up on it. So I did join Ribco Australia for a scream down Sydney Harbour at said speed in the R28S with Mercury's 400hp supercharged Verado on the transom. Had a hoot, so check it out for yourself.

The new ILIAD 70 is a commanding vessel by any measure. When Multihull Solutions took me out I could not help but draw some comparisons with the incredible M1 Abrams tank, and if you read our full review here, then you'll see what reminded me of that, and what is certainly very much unlike the turbine powered, heavily armoured beast.

Bigger. Better. More Expansive.

Our massive growth now means that has been 'regionalised'. As a result, we now have these geo-located sites: Oceania, Europe and Americas. If desired, you can choose any of them by using the Edition menu at the top right of the homepage.

As we write, and coming up sooner than ever, there are shows in Cannes, Monaco, Genoa, Southampton, Newport and Fort Lauderdale amongst others, so we look forward to seeing what is new and groovy, and making sure you can see it right here on the website, instead of waiting for a magazine to be printed and mailed to you. Cool huh!

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about the gorgeous Solaris 48, REV Ocean (what a project), Enata's fantastic Foiler, the latest Marine Auctions event, the AmaSea84 powercat, Vanquish's VQ58, Wally Tender, George Lucian's incredible designs, Beneteau reveal the new GT36 and GT32 (the latter is awesome BTW), Hinckley's Sport Boat 40X, Heesen deliver the super-pretty 50m Project Boreas, Volvo Penta's new D6 IPS, as well as much, much more.

So as you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other parts of the group, go to the top of the Powerboat-World home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the site you want to see and, voila, it's all there for you.

Speak with you again, very, very soon. Time to go boating now...

John Curnow

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