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Which gelcoat?

My girlfriend has been looking for a sunfish and ran into a phenomenal deal. Her neighbor had his old boat 1974 that he used to race as a kid and it's been stored covered for a very long time. The boat is in excellent condition but there is one small 3" crack through the fiberglass (edge of the boat near the aluminum rail) that is going to need to be repaired and then coated with new gelcoat. The boat is the original white and the gelcoat is still shiny so I was looking to match it as closely as possible with stock colors. I know that the different fading over time means that no repair is gong to match perfectly. Is there a brand that people prefer or are they all about the same?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
On a small area like that, you may find spraypaint will be simpler and almost unnoticeable from gelcoat. Gelcoat is more durable and better suited for large areas, but for a small area like this on an older boat, I don't think it is necessary.
 
Thanks, beldar. I ordered a west system 101 handy repair pack and it uses epoxy so I think that gelcoat won't stick to that? Paint will probably be the best choice and should stick if I sand the epoxy.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
From epoxyworks: "We know polyester gelcoat can be used over WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. ... Polyester materials can be affected by amines in the epoxy hardener. If the hardener has not fully reacted with the epoxy resin or the amine blush is not removed from the cured surface, problems can occur."

You can also call the Jamestown Distributors Tech Team ((800) 497-00100 to get set up with the most compatible resin/hardener/gelcoat mix. FYI the boat is constructed with polyester resin, but we know that epoxy resin repair is compatible. Your boat looks to have a tint of cream to it, mix up a few samples on a card and compare.

I haven't dealt with gelcoat, so can't help you there, but yes, paint will stick to properly sanded and primed epoxy.
 
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Eddie_E

Member
Jamestown sells a colored pigment that you can mix into polyester or epoxy to tint it white. I have used it with polyester resin on older Sunfish and Lasers and it can be wet sanded to blend with the hull about 4 hrs after doing the repair. The finished repair is much harder than paint, so it won't scratch when beached. The trick to perfectly match the color is to use as little pigment as possible to blend it white. I usually have just a hint of my polyesters brown after mixing and it cures one shade lighter giving a perfect match.
 
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