wetsanding the deck?

Thread starter #1
I have an older sunfish, which I bought not long ago and I am now sailing it thanks in part to the great people here that gave some very useful info. I was looking closely at the deck of my boat and in the finish it looks like someone used a finish sander on it. If I look at the deck from an angle I can clearly see swirl marks and fine scratches. I tried buffing with a rubbing compound but it really did not have any effect. I've heard of wetsanding but have never done it. My fear is I don't want to make it worse. Thanks for any ideas.
Go to "Tips and Tricks", Gell-coat Repair (steps 12 to the end) on the National Sunfish Class page. It explains how to wet sand. Since you can see the scratches only at an angle, I think you would want to start with a fine sand paper of about 1000/1200/1500 even 2000 grit instead of a coarser paper. Your deck seems to be close to a polished finish in its present state. Try a small area first. In the directions they use a bucket and a sponge to keep the area wet, I use a hose set to a very low trickle. The water lubricates the sandpaper and washes the "dust" away, keeping the sandpaper sharper longer. Wal-Mart has carries the 3M rubber sanding block and 3M Wet or Dry sandpaper (the black paper) in the automotive section. You can buy the paper in 5 packs that are just a little wider than the block or full sheet you can cut to fit, your choice. Make sure you clean off any wax and/or dirt before you start and read thru the whole article first. Good luck
Yes, follow the wetsanding instructions. I have a '63 Sunfish that I am fixing up. After doing wetsanding, the gel-coat looks fabulous. I expected it to look OK, but it probably didn't look much better in the showroom 41 years ago!
After you have sanded as much as you can stand, and compounded and polished the boat, you can wax the deck (I use a good automotive wax) and either the Gel Gloss (as recommended) or McLube (see article in "Tips and Tricks"). I have used McLube (found it at the local marine store and have seen it at West Marine in large and small spray cans). While I can not say it makes my boat any faster, less sludge/crap sticks to the hull. Many of the racers don not recommend waxing the bottom as it slows the boat down. Let us know how you make out.
Thread starter #6
Thanks I read the tips and tricks section and did wetsand the deck going up to 2000 grit paper. Then I used polishing compound and it looks great! Thanks so much for all the info.