Gelcoat Restoration

Thread starter #1
I give up!

Several times this summer I've washed and waxed my blue 20 year old Sunfish, producing a nice shine, only to find a badly oxidized surface a week or two later as a result of harsh Kansas sun.

I guess I'm trying to make a silk purse.....

Is there a better solution, other than a cover? Elbow grease is not a problem.


I think you'll find a cover will make the gloss last the longest. Blues and reds on older boat are next to imposiable to keep glossy. Also stay away from the magic cures "Nufinish ect" you end up sanding the stuff off in the long run (6 months or so). $ 100 + on a cover is money well spent.

Check the SF Class Tips and Tricks, they have an article on gelcote restoration. Like John said a cover is the best bet (a cheap tarp will work but you will have to get one almost every year). If you are just sailing for fun, a good wax job will help with protecting the gelcote (do not wax if you are racing).


opinionated but not bossy

Sail Magazine, August 2005, page 18.

I've been saying fish are babe magnets for years and nobody believed me.

Why don't you wash your boat down with some acetone and see what it looks like without it's wax build-up. You may just need to compound and glaze the boat. You may want to use a machine to get that show room finish.

Good luck

terra firma is for farmers
Thread starter #5
Thanks for the thoughtful replys! I suppose a cover is the solution, and I'll see what acetone does.
Thanks again.
I'd try a medium-grit rubbing compound (3M makes one I like). You can get it an any marine store. Use an orbital buffer, if you can. If not, elbow grease will work just as well. Use wax after rubbing, if you like.