My initial idea two months ago was to quickly wax the topsides and the coachroof before the winter and then repeat the procedure in the spring. Afterall, the hull looked pretty good after the pressure washing and acid treatment, which were done right after she was pulled out of the water. However, when talking about this with Jarkko from Airsto Marine, he suggested that I would borrow his sanding/polishing machine to remove the oxidation from the gelcoat and to restore the shine of the gelcoat. When I took a closer look of the gelcoat, I could see what he was meaning with the oxidation. Although the job was a bit more larger project than initially planned, I am glad that I followed Jarkko’s advice!
So I started off with a rubbing compound, which is a sort of sandpaper in the form of a paste. I used Farécla Profile 300, which was applied with a sanding/polishing machine. The machine gives more power when applying the rubbing compound, so you do not get a tennis elbow from the job. However, one has to be careful of not to use too much power and also remember to spray water frequently to cool the surface. Otherwise, the gelcoat can heat up too much, which will leave yellow spots on the gelcoat. One has to be especially careful in the sharp corners of the coachroof and cockpit. And yes, I learned this the hard way…
The rubbing compound works like a sandpaper, so it takes away a very small amount of the gelcoat. Therefore, one can also remove light scratches from the gelcoat. However, the treatment should not be repeated too often, so that the gelcoat is not removed excessively.
|A foam pad was used for applying the wax|
After applying the rubbing compound, the gelcoat needs still some wax to protect it from re-oxidation. I used Autoglym’s Super Resin Polish, which was applied with the machine and then polished with a cloth. To complete the process, the boat should be waxed once more with a hard wax, which gives durable protection against UV-radiation, dirt etc. However, I will leave this stage for the spring. The blue stripes of Dolphin Dance were re-painted a few years ago by her previous owner, so I did not use rubbing compound on those (in order not to remove too much paint). Therefore the stripes were treated just with the Hempel’s Clean & Polish and then waxed.