Where did the name VS721 come from and what it stands for
Robert Abrams asked:
I’ve been using your VS721 for about 10 years now and love how it protects the hull of my boat without having to paint it with antifouling paint. It’s a fantastic product, but I’m curious about why you named it VS721 and what it stands for.
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We get asked this question a lot. Back in the mid 1980’s our R&D department was working on a better way to protect boat bottoms from fouling, rather than using traditional toxic antifouling paints, which is hazardous and has a detrimental impact on the environment. The companies mandate is to only make products that work, but also must be environment friendly. Given how fouling forms and attaches to boat hulls and how prolific it can be, this was indeed a formidable task.
Our chemists had been working on this project for about 5 years, with only limited success. It was really frustrating. We experimented with hundreds of chemicals and combinations, trying to find something that didn’t impact the environment but would still be repugnant enough to marine life so it wouldn’t choose to make its home where it wasn’t wanted. Easier said than done. Even the natural chemicals that had some promise didn’t last very long and would have to be re-applied too frequently. We experimented with products that were sloughing, so although they would release over time, releasing marine growth with it as it fell off the boat, it would at least be non toxic and would degrade over a reasonable length of time. The problems were that it wouldn’t last long enough or had to be applied so thick that no one would use it.
The best solution that we found was to create a surface that was so smooth that marine life couldn’t attach. By 1992 we had a product that showed some promise so we applied it to the company boat, a 36 ft. express cruiser that was moored in fresh water for 6 to 7 months at a time. The results were encouraging but still disappointing. The formula was working but was not durable enough to be practical.
Then in mid summer of1992, a technician that had been working on another project came into my office all excited, proclaiming that the new polymer that he had been working on did not work for the intended use but when he tried adding it to the bottom coat formula had the potential of solving the problem of durability. He showed me a small fiberglass panel with his new formula and it truly was different. It was clear, hard, not greasy, but incredibly smooth and very slippery, even though it was dry to the touch, He had only done some preliminary tests in the lab and it would take months to complete the usual necessary tests before we would move forward, but he was so excited that I made the decision to haul the boat and apply the new formula to at least test if for the rest of the season. The other formula was not working well enough and continuing the test would only confirm that it was a failure and if it failed prematurely the hull of the boat could be compromised. I didn’t want to paint the bottom or leave it out of the water for the rest of the season so it seemed that we had little to loose. I could dive under the hull with a snorkel and mask to keep an eye on the bottom for the rest of the season and at the first sign of trouble we could then haul the boat and deal with it.
It turned out to be an exciting summer. The bottom stayed clean and the boat seemed to run better. It would pop up on plane easier and stay on plane at lower RPM’s than before. The boat really felt different. It seemed to be a lot lighter and handled more like a nimble runabout than a big fat cruiser. When we hauled the boat in October there was just a light covering of slime on the bottom and it easily washed off with a bit of Boat Clean Plus, water and a sponge. The hull looked brand new. I could hardly wait for the beginning of the next season so we could do a full season test. This was an exciting time for the people at Aurora Marine.
We continued to do field testing and learning about the new coating over the next few years and the results exceeded our expectations. In fresh water the worst problem was that slime would form on the bottom if the boat was left stationary, but that easily wiped off with a sponge, even in the water and Zebra Mussels would not attach. In salt water results were less spectacular, possibly because marine growth is more prolific in this environment, but results were still acceptable. If slime was allowed to accumulate, barnacles would start to attach, but if caught early enough could easily be removed. If the slime was wiped off as it began to form no barnacles were attached.
We had a new product that would protect boat bottoms and was green.
We were ready to go to market, but what to call it. It was different from anything else on the market so we had no reference. Few people knew what polymers were and since it resembled boat wax in appearance and application, our marketing people decided to call it High Performance Bottom Wax, even though it was not a wax. We wanted to identify the new polymer that was the active ingredient. The identification in the chemists logs was “Very Slippery Polymer” discovered on “July 21, 1992”. We decided to call the polymer VS721, more as an internal identification than a marketing name. We even added “WITH VS721” to the label. The name was to be High Performance Bottom Wax with VS721.
An interesting thing occurred. Many customers used and liked the product but could not remember the name. They would call and ask for “that bottom coating with VS721” Eventually we changed the name to VS721so that people could remember it.
Over the years we discovered numerous other benefits about the product. It seals the pores in gelcoat to protect against osmosis, increases performance, top speed and reduces fuel consumption. Many boats, both power and sail use VS721in competition and it has helped race boats win World and National Championships.
So now you know the story of our mysterious name and how Serendipity played a key roll in its development.
Thanks for your question,