bottom preparation


New Member
I am getting an old boat ready for racing. It has some oxidation and I am wondering -

1) What is the best thiong for taking off oxidation?

2) What is the best stuff now to put on your hull prior to racing (I am from the Ivory Generation)?

3) Does anyone have a inexpensive cover idea?
Robert, Depending on how badly your bottom is oxidized, you have a couple of options, all involve a bunch of elbow greese. Check the Sunfish FAQs on the first page. 2 articles are there, both use paint. One suggests trying rubbing compound first, which is good for lightly oxidized surface. Then paint, which I have never done. Another source is found on the SF Class Home page under Tips and Tricks, Gell Cote repair. This is the meathod I used on a 1964 hull that was really oxidized bad. I repaired the nicks, dings and gouges with Marine-Tex and then started sanding. I Did Not put a cover coat of gell cote. I started sanding as suggested. I wet sanded for each grit using the hose set on trickle instead of a sponge. I stopped at 1000 grit, compounded and then polished. The hull was shiney and smoooth and looked nearly new. The last step was applying some "McLube" an the hull bottom. On top, I did the same, except I waxed the deck with Turtle wax. The boat looks like a new boat. Read all of the articles before you start. Try compounding a section first and them make you decision on sanding. Fix your nick and dings first using Marine-Tex, not automotive putty. Good Luck.
I'd suggest you stay away from painting the bottom, particularly if you plan on racing. Adding paint to the bottom will not only ensure a slower boat but opens up other issues you would not have if you left the fiberglass, such as repairing chips, peeling, and sanding smooth.

There are a few products that might help you with the oxidation. Meguires has a three step abrasive process that you can get at most marine stores. There is a product called polyglow that you can get on the internet that is also supposed to restore the finish.

I like John's second suggestion about wet sanding, McLube, and Marine-tex. I think that is as good as you are going to get. It will be cheaper and better in the long run than painting.

Just my two cents.

I have had VERY good success in the past with using a high speed auto-body polisher with a wool bonnett and 3M brand "super duty" buffing compound on a clean hull. It removes pretty heavy oxidation and is pretty easy to work with. Just don't go over any stickers (they will come off) and don't cross over different colors of gel coat as they will blend. When you are done polishing, clean the hull again and then use a good teflon wax to keep the scum off. I have made pretty dull hulls look buttery smooth and shiney this way including my dad's Hunter 34 which was a pain in the about your freeboard :D .

Keep in mind the power tool is not to be mistaken for one of those vibrating auto waxer-polisher is a high speed buffer. Good luck. I think any of the methods mentioned will yield similar results, the only added benefit with mine is that it is pretty quick.