Boat polishing tips: How we got the PBO Project Boat’s topsides … – Practical Boat Owner Magazine


After a failed Try and make Maximus gleam, James Wooden names Inside the boat sprucing specialists To assist with the PBO Enterprise Boat

After the 2020 crusing season was largely misplaced to lockdown, Maximus had been ashore at Dell Quay in Chichester For two yrs when my spouse, Ali, And that i took her on.

Our surveyor, Ben Sutcliffe-Davies, had recognized thOn The very biggestfacets of our 28ft Maxi 84 have been very flat and uninteresting, And will use A great compounding earlier than being shielded with wax. He furtherly suggested that boat sprucing Ought to be carried out earlier than we reutilized the antifouling, to minimise The hazard of cross-contamination.

Having by no implys compounded a yacht earlier than, and final polished a automotive over 20 yrs in the past, I Desipurple to take a crash course in The biggest Method to do it!

I talked To some specialists, delved by way of the PBO archives, and took in a healthful dose of YouTube tutorials. Neverthemuch less, it wasn’t till we referpurple to as Inside the boat sprucing specialists that we achieved the finish We truly wanted.

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Article continues under…

Few issues irk me Greater than dusty, chalky and stained gelcoat. Like an engine That is corroded – or strains…

Every thing You should know to make an inseen gelcoat restore, from preparation and filling to primecoat and sprucing

Boat sprucing: Time and prices

Maximus is a 28ft boat with off-white gelcoat. We utilized A 3 step system for The wants of This textual content material. I used to be Engaged on The very Greater of the ladder for Extra typinamey than not, which provides to the fatigue of The tactic, partworkicularly when using a 2.2kg electrical sprucing machine.

On prime of that we took photographs and video clips of our progress, so the time we took should solely be taken as A very tough information– Usually It Might be carried out more shortly.

1: Wash and decontaminate

Utterly take away grime And mud using boatwash. Frequent washing proprolongeds the Lifetime of the gelcoat by eradicating contaminants earlier than They’ve An alternative to bond or etch to it. Retransfer stains with a proprietary stain take awayr.

Time: 4 hours, collectively with decks and primefacets
Product: 1L Clear to Gleam boatwash (£20), brush and sponge

2: Stage 1: compound

Use a rubbing compound to abrade the gelcoat. This typinamey incorporates aluminium oxide, which does the ‘slicing again’. For delicate oxidation, You will Have The power to skip Stage 2.

Time: 6 hours
Product: 1L Farécla Profile Choose (£30) or 1L Farécla Profile Premium Paste (£48); Farécla G Plus electrical rotary sprucing machine (£172); Farécla 8in G mop twisted wool pad (£20); Farécla G Plus spurring brush (£15)

3: Stage 2: finish

Use a nice compounding liquid to take away mild marks Inside the gelcoat left over from Stage 1 and enhance gloss.

Time: 4 hours
Product: 1L Farécla Profile Finish Liquid (£24); Farécla rotary polisher (£172); Farécla 8in G mop lambswool pad (£20)

4: Wax

For biggest end outcomes wax 2-3 occasions a yr to sprime UV mild attacking the floor.

Time: 4 hours
Product: 1L Farécla Profile Polymer UV Wax (£30); Farécla 3-pack G Plus ending suppliess (£12)

Complete value of mannequins & merchandise: £279 (1 stage using Profile Choose) to £341 (2 stage using Profile Paste).
Typical value of reduce-again, polish and wax at boatyard @ £13/ft: £750-£1,000

Costs obtained from A selection of on-line suppliers. These might differ. Compound, finish and wax merchandise by Farécla.

You’ll undoubtedly discover the distinction after a reduce and polish

Why polish gelcoat?

When the floor of your gelcoat loses its lustre, and startworks to Deal with a chalky look, it’s time To imagine about boat sprucing.

It is as a Outcome of the marine environment is a harsh one: oxidisation, UV damage and environmental pollution set off the gelcoat floor to degrade, Discover your self to be more porous and Deal with water and airborne dust.

In ‘sprucing’ The very biggestfacets, we’re truly eradicating the degraded gelcoat polymer, To current the current polymer matrix, with its unique shiny lustre and pigment.

So as properly as to An monumental enhancement Inside the beauty look of your yacht, boat sprucing Is important in primarytaining the structural integrity of the gelcoat as a barrier as quickly as morest The climate.

Maximus’s off-white gelcoat was uninteresting and chalky

Boat sprucing by hand

We spoke first to David Johnson of Wessex Resins and Adhesives. “We’re requested A lot of Questions on GRP upprimarytain at boat reveals,” he says. “Boat sprucing Is A pretty tedious job that requires cas quickly asntration. It’s tons Of labor and there’s no gprevious medal!”

David owns a 30-yr-previous cruiser and factors out that since lockdown The current Of lalook at yachts has dwindled and more people than ever are storeping for second-hand – And a lot of of these house owners Shall be eager To Enconstructive their hulls sparkle.

David explains That you merely’re In a place to do A lot of the boat sprucing work by hand To startwork out off with. Purchase a roll of microfibre towels, dip them in water, put compound onto them and primarytain working it with A lot of elbow grease.

By dampening the towel you primarytaInside the slicing movement. You’d like one supplies for making use of the compound After which two completely different suppliess – one for getting the residue off the compound, then ancompletely different for getting the gloss again up. You’d like to throw amethod the saturated ones, And might use a dozen or more A minimal of.

“When you’ve acquired A great sheen, earlier than it dries up, use An right sprucing mop, however solely rotate slowly,” he warns. “No Greater than 700-800rpm. If the rpm Is simply too extreme you’re going to burn the compound off Immediately.”

A boatyard drum proved a useful platform for the 3M sprucing package

Do you have to’re Unconstructive whether or not a polish is worth doing, David suggests look ating a patch of the boat with a tube of toothpaste first. Rub it onto the hull with a supplies and see What Sort of a gloss You will get. You’d possibly be surprised The biggest method it lifts the finish.

Yellow patches and stains

Yellow patches are widespread on previous boats. Maximus hSince these, As properly as to some cleaner white patches. David explains that A lot of boatautomotivee merchandise will blevery out oil or rust. “I assume somebody’s used a white stain take awayr on Maximus,” he said, giving a potential rationalization for the white patches.

“Oxalic acid bleveryes out the yellowing from oil stains. There’s a product referpurple to as Y10 – it’s a gel. You sweep it on and that take aways the oil stain, Then you undoubtedly Return to compounding.”

The underfacet of the progress was partworkicularly dusty

Getting ready for boat sprucing

As I had A huge space to cowl, I made A selection To buy a sprucing machine, Together with the 3M Good It compounding system. This was: Exhausting compound, Medium compound and wax, and 100% Wax.

I furtherly purchased a lambswool bonnet for making use of the hard compound and a medium sponge head for the medium compound and wax.

I then went to Machine Martwork in Portsmouth To select up a polisher/sander. I chosen the Clarke CP150 Beset off it had the variable velocity administration I wanted For every sprucing and sanding.

Being a startworkner, I particularly opted for Clarke’s ‘twin movement’ (DA) machine with a hook system on the pad for the interchangeable attachments.

The DA polisher rotates in a decide of eight movement, and is much less aggressive than a rotary machine, the place the disc rotates 100% In a single course.

My evaluation had suggested that it was simpler To wreck the polished floor with the rotary machine, Beset off it’s more aggressive, and builds up warmth more shortly.

Neverthemuch less, we’ll see later that my selection of machine in all probability wasn’t The proper selection for compounding and sprucing.

James polished the transom and port facet hull using 3M merchandise

I Desipurple to name Clarke Worldwide for the rpm for every setting, as this was important for the sprucing and it wasn’t said Inside the guide or tech spec. They suggested the settings ranged from 500rpm at 1, by way of To three,500rpm at 3 and 6,000rpm at 6.

Different compounding merchandise require completely different rpm settings on the polisher you select, so it’s important You can differ the velocity settings if You’ven’t chosenn your compound or sprucing product but!

Most compounding and boat sprucing methods Appear to require between 1,500-2,000rpm, But Once I want To make the most of the machine for sanding, I’ll want The very biggest 6,000rpm setting.

Farécla merchandise have been used on the starboard facet

Lastly, I took aprolongedside some lint-free rags that I’d Produced from previous t-shirts for buffing after ending the boat sprucing. It’s furtherly straightforward To buy lint-free buffing suppliess from the chandlers or a Ironmongery store.

Clearing deck and primefacets

I persuaded my frifinish Phil To assist out and on arrival On the boat we Arrange For two days Of labor, which is what we’d each secupurple from work and parenting.

My primary job for the day was To rearrange The very biggestfacets for compounding and polish. We’d jet washed the decks earlier thanhand, however being proper subsequent to a tall hedge, and nonethemuch less having the mast stepped implyt the deck was very dusty from leaves, blossom and chook droppings.

James used Clear to Gleam boat wash on the grubby decks, hull and rigging

The Final merchandise we wanted was To wash A lot of this muck onto newly polished primefacets. Based mostly on the precept of startEngaged on the extremeest level of the deck, I startlabored on the coachroof with a bucket of water and 100ml Of unpolluted to Gleam boatwash.

This was influenceive when utilized with a sponge and wiped amethod, although A pair of of the more persistent stains requipurple a delicately abrasive sponge to clear.

After the coachroof was cleaned, I labored my method again from the forestays. This was pretty time-consuming – Greater than I’d allowed for – and it took A pair of hours A minimal of.

Having utilized the boat wash, A pair of of the dust was nonethemuch less unfastened on the deck, so we used a hose and gentle bristled broom to clear the reprimarying dust. Very satisfying!

The subsequent step was To wash and decontaminate the hull primefacets. I could then startwork by making use of the Clear to Gleam boatwash to The very biggestfacets with a sponge, earlier than using a rag to wipe down.

It’s important To decide a biodegradable product if the run-off is filtering immediately Right into a watermethod, pretty than into the drains.

We’d hoped To startwork out the compounding that day, however time was ticking on as we’d Needed to journey to Chichester from Bournemouth, decideing up the suppliess on the method.

We wanted To have The power to do The strict of the boat in full preliminaryly, Beset off it was The primary time both of us had compounded A ship.

So we tidied up And ready To startwork out as quickly as more early the subsequent morning. We pitched our tent at An in depth-by campwebsite and went to the native pub for a pint.

Small gouges have been Full of The inright colour filler – however seemed better after sanding!

Filling gelcoat scrapes

The subsequent day, Phil startlabored by prepping A pair of of the gelcoat marks we’d made when eradicating the antifouling, and making use of a gelcoat filler.

I furtherly requested him to fill a few small marks Inside The very biggestfacets gelcoat, solely to be tprevious later by the boatyard that this was a mistake, Beset off it was each The inright colour and The inright product (I’d found it on the boat).

What’s more, the boatyard said they have been reluctant to take over Ancompletely different particular person’s restore, so it appears like that one’s on me! I made A selection To use The complete 3M Good It system to The strict of Maximus to get snug with whOn The tactic entailed.

We startlabored by masking off the boat identify decals and The very Greater of the antifoul strip, To sprime The earlier peeling and the latter cross-contaminating the compound supplies. We have been later suggested It Could have been simpler to take away the decals alcollectively with a warmth-gun and buy new ones

Startworking with the 3M Exhausting compound, I used a lambswool head on a polisher at 2,000rpm and labored in 2ft x 2ft spaces, to Make constructive the compound supplies reprimaryed simply workable.

I used a jam jar To place the compound into, using a half inch brush To use it to The very biggestfacet floor in a collection Of huge X’s. I used the polisher head to unfprevious the compound liquid earlier than conveying the polisher head On prime of issues.

Applying boat polish

Working Inside the 2ft space, I startlabored Inside The very biggest left nook, and polished proper to left, left to proper till I reveryed The underfacet proper nook. I then continued To shine backside to prime, prime to backside as per the diagram (under). I polished every space For about 60 seconds.

Pattern for the sprucing machine

Probably the most useful boat sprucing tip I used to be given was to let the sprucing mops do the work, and To use minimal presconstructive to the sprucing floor. As such, I used my second hand To gentlely information the polisher head with my fingers, pretty than ‘push’ it round.

The Exhausting compound is flippantly slicing into the floor of The very biggestfacets, so it was important to ‘go straightforward’. Once I’d accomplished The strict and rudder with the Exhausting compound, I modified the polisher head to a medium ‘sponge’, which was used for the 3M Medium compound, which included A factor of a wax finish.

Having evaluationed the 3M Good It system, It is potential To solely Adjust to these two steps, as There is a wax content material Inside the Medium compound.

Neverthemuch less, To understand A gooder gloss, and better shieldion for The very biggestfacets, I used to be suggested To make the most of the 100% Wax third stage Inside The tactic, Which May even be utilized using The identical medium sponge polisher head, furtherly at 2,000rpm.

Fatigue mannequins in

The boat sprucing course of itself Is comparatively simple, however as I used to be working 2m up a ladder and making use of A 3-step system, I used to be quickly fatigued. The polisher itself weighs 2-3 kg, and the more tipurple I discowled myself, the Extra sturdy it was To use a fixed presconstructive to the polished space.

When sprucing A huge space, I furtherly found it was straightforward to over-extfinish my revery, which led to an infixed finish and having to re-treOn The world.

To primarytain monitor of the place I’d acquired to I accomplished up using two little bits of masking tape unfastenedly caught to the rubbing strake to outline The world I used to be working on, or using ‘methodfactors’ on the hull such Since the stanchions or fixing screws Inside the acrylic house windows.

After ending for the day, we’d carried out The strict and starboard facet of the hull. There was A seen enhancement to the accomplished part Once As compapurple with the port facet of the hull, Neverthemuch less the gloss was no method shut to as shiny as I’d hoped, and nothing like Definitely one of many neighbouring boats that had been polished currently.

I took a few footage and resolved to do some more evaluation earlier than I returned to Maximus the week after.

Christine Foster and Roprimary Ostermann from Farécla gave James a hand And a few useful boat sprucing ideas

Farécla to the rescue!

A pair of second opinions confirmed thOn the gloss finish I’d achieved with my first attempt at compounding and sprucing The very biggestfacets was undoubtedly In want of what was potential.

I’d been informing myself that this was as a Outcome of we have been startworking with A grey/off-white gelcoat, which was by no implys going To return up as shiny and lustrous as a deep blue, however alas my preliminary efforts have been nonethemuch less under par!

Fortunately, a few telephone names led me to Roprimary Ostermann and Christine Foster from Farécla. On listening to I used to be Battling the PBO Enterprise Boat, they acquired here Right down to Maximus the very subsequent week To level out me The biggest Method To understand The proper polish.

Roprimary (left) explains why the rotary polisher is more relevant than James’s twin movement machine

Reviewing earlier efforts

Roprimary reviewed The worlds I’d polished on my earlier go to. Whereas the finish I’d achieved was pretty fixed throughout The strict and port facet of Maximus, he was instantly In a place To inform thOn the compounding hadn’t been aggressive enough in eradicating the oxidised gelcoat floor, and slicing again to create a current, shiny floor as quickly as more.

It wasn’t the 3M Good It system that was at fault: Roprimary recognized that a rotary polisher Is method Easier when slicing again the gelcoat floor. I’d chosenn the Clarke DA machine particularly as a Outcome of it was more forgiving for a startworkner, Neverthemuch less The extent of oxidation on the hull of Maximus requipurple a heavier contact!

Roprimary makes use of a spurring brush to Get rid of any extra fibres from the mop

Equally, I used to be using a lambswool bonnet, and Roprimary suggested me To make the most of a twisted sheepswool bonnet Instead, To enhance the reduce further. Roprimary did say, however, that a twin movement machine is completely good for nice sprucing of primefacets That are in comparatively good situation.

Coloupurple vs white gelcoat

Maximus’s primefacets are an off-white gelcoat. Is that this as pleasing as deep lustrous blue, black or purple gelcoat? Probably not, although magnificence is Inside The eye of the beprimarytainer!

Actually, Based mostly on Farécla, white gelcoat is good for primarytaining down The upprimarytain requipurple to primarytain it shiny. The spectrum of colour isn’t as deep, So that you don’t Need to work as hard To understand An relevant finish.

Roprimary explains The biggest method To make the most of the liquid polish and the rotary sprucing machine

Either of Farécla’s Stage 1 compound merchandise functiond On This textual content material May be make the most ofd as a standalone remedy on white gelcoat, however for colopurple gelcoat Farécla On A daily basis advocates using the second stage finish.

Sanding gelcoat filler

I sanded again the gelcoat filler, startworking with A tough 80-grit roll of paper, and getting progressively nicer, by way of 300-, 600- then 800-grit. Actually, as quickly as accomplished, the patches didn’t look shut toly as dangerous as earlier than.

Boat sprucing: A step-by-step information

1. Centre the mop on the polisher: sheepswool for Stage 1, lambswool (pictupurple) for stage 2.

2. Paint the compound, paste or liquid, onto the mop to prime it.

3. On The backside velocity (700rpm) unfprevious the product evenly with the rotary polisher.

4. Crank it As a lot as 2,200rpm for Choose Liquid or 1,500 for Choose Paste and go proper to left, up and down.

5. After one minute decrease the velocity to 1,100rpm To Scale again The warmth generated by friction.

6. The white powder on the mop is the gelcoat oxide that has been polished off.

7. Wipe down The accomplished space with a microfibre supplies.

8. Retransfer extra fibre and powder from the mop with a spurring brush.

9. Work in 1m sq. parts. The mrequested off space is now ready for a final coat of wax polish.

Stage 1 Compound

It was time To place Farécla’s merchandise to the look at on Maximus’s port facet, which had been earlier thanhand cleaned and decontaminated. As we have been look ating two completely different Stage 1 merchandise, we mrequested off three parts:

  • Profile Choose Liquid
  • Control
  • Profile Premium Paste

Farécla advocate using a twisted sheepswool mop To use each of the Stage 1 merchandise on look at. When using A mannequin new mop, it’s important To make the most of a spurring system to take away any unfastened fibres earlier than You startwork – a bit like hoovering A mannequin new automotivepet after it first goes down.

Liquid (proper-hand panel) vs administration: This will be make the most ofd as a single stage system for boats with white gelcoat. And The outcomes again that up; we’d estimate an 80% legibility from our label reflection.

Profile Choose Liquid

Roprimary and Christine deniced that boat house owners have been using a paste to compound their boats for yrs, And seem reluctant To Do this newer liquid compound which feels smocompletely different to the contact, with much less of an apparent reduce. It Can be fascinating to see The outcomes.

Applying the Profile Choose Liquid first, we primed the pad with round double The regular gentleware, So as to enconstructive good cowlage from The startwork of use. We utilized the compounding liquid to the pad, and unfprevious onto the panel at 700rpm preliminaryly, earlier than growing to 2,200 rpm For shut toly all of the time.

After 60 seconds or so, we slowed to round 1,100rpm to take some warmth off And convey up the gloss. We used a microfibre supplies to shortly wipe down The world; the panel acquired here up exactly properly after Just one gentleware.

Paste (left-hand panel) vs administration. Paste May be make the most ofd as a single stage course of for boats with white primefacets, however on Maximus the gloss achieved was Inferior to that achieved by the Choose liquid.

Profile Premium Paste

On a separate patch, we used the Profile Premium Paste for comparability features. After priming the pad and unfpreviousing the paste at 700rpm, we enhanced the polisher velocity to 1,500-1800rpm, sflippantly sdecrease than the Choose liquid. It was notable thOn there was more spatter from the paste, which is a thicker, grittier product.

Nonethemuch less, the Premium Paste achieved A nice finish after a single gentleware, although to the naked eye it was clear thOn The extent of gloss was inferior to that of the Choose liquid after A quick buff with the microfibre supplies.

The Gloss look at!

Sadly, we didn’t have entry to an exact glossmeter (an instrument to meaconstructive the specular reflection of a floor) however that’s To not say We will’t Supply you some gloss look at end outcomes!

In the absence of a meter, the PBO patented gloss look at Is simply To primarytain the compound product label As a lot Since the currently compounded primefacets. You then take an estimate on the % legibility of the label Inside the mirropurple picture.

It’s clearly not a exact artwork, Neverthemuch less it acts as a yardstick for the finish you’ve achieved. We’ve tried Our greveryeck to photograph the distinction, Neverthemuch less the boats are very tightly packed in On the yard, so we couldn’t get far enough amethod!

Liquid (proper-hand panel) then Finish. We’d achieved A great diploma of gloss from The solely Choose remedy, Neverthemuch less the Finish gentleware did enhance the gloss influence further.

Stage 2 Compound

Farécla advocate using The identical Stage 2 product For every the Choose and Premium dealt with spaces; Profile Finish Liquid. It’s a nice compounding liquid; there’s a small quantity of reduce to it to take away mild marks Inside the gelcoat left over from Stage 1, Neverthemuch less its primary objective is To enhance the gloss finish.

To enhance the buffing influence at this stage of the system, it’s useful To change to an 8in lambswool mop, pretty than the twisted wool mop used For every Stage 1 remedys. Again, use a spurring system on the mop earlier than use to take away any unfastened fibres.

Paste (left-hand panel) then finish. The gloss achieved from a single gentleware of Premium paste lagged behind that of the Choose liquid, Neverthemuch less the Finish gentleware launched them visibly nearer.


We modified the bonnet on our rotary polisher to the Lambswool 8in. As it was The primary use of the mop, we primed it with round double The regular gentleware of the Finish product.

As we’re Considering about growing the gloss On this stage, the useful velocity setting on the polisher is decrease, round 1,100rpm. Again, it’s nonethemuch Less important To make the most of your second hand to information the polisher head, pretty than apply any presconstructive. We’re letting the machine do the work, as Roprimary appreciated to rethoughts me!

The equipment method for the Finish product Is analogous as for Stage 1, and certainly for my preliminary efforts using The twin Action polisher. We as quickly as more spent round 60 seconds sprucing every panel, and have been automotiveeful To not over-extfinish The world labored on at Anyone time, To take automotivee of consistency of finish.

Once accomplished, we used a microfibre supplies to Massage the panel, growing the gloss and eradicating any polish residue.

For A ship of Maximus’s measurement a machine is biggest for waxing

Stage 3 Wax

Whether You agree for a one or two stage compounding system, you’ll Need To shield the shiny finish with a coat of wax.

The wax layer will convey each water resistance and UV inhibitors to your gelcoat finish, primarytaining the lustre of your newly polished primefacets for prolongeder. Farécla advocate two comparable wax merchandise:

  • Profile UV Wax (Stage 3), which is primarily a hand-utilized wax finish
  • Profile Polymer UV Wax (Stage 3), which is primarily a machine-utilized wax finish, furtherly sprayable

James applies the wax finish

Wax gentleware

Until You’ve a small boat, a machine gentleware is chooseable given the floor space involved. Maximus is 28ft so we opted for the Farécla rotary polisher, using the Polymer UV Wax product.

Farécla advocate Using a 8in sponge ending mop, at 1,000-1,500rpm. The wax can be utilized On to the floor, or onto the mop head, depending In your choice. The boat sprucing technique Is strictly The identical as for stage one and two, adopted by a wipe down with a clean microfibre supplies.

Do you have to choose To use the wax by hand, or a machine gentleware isn’t sensible, the Polymer UV Wax product can be utilized On to the floor of The very biggestfacets, and buffed by hand, using a microfibre supplies.

Rub down afterwards with a microfibre supplies

The two Farécla wax merchandise are interchangeable so it’s nice To use the preliminary coat by machine Inside the boatyard, and prime up the wax coat by hand later Inside the season When You are on the water.

Conclusions: What we found from boat sprucing

It’s pretty clear in my thoughts what strategy I’ll take Once I subsequent polish Maximus’s primefacets. Whereas the preliminary outlay for boat sprucing mannequins and merchandise Isn’t An excellent deal Lower than paying for Educated job (see prices) you clearly get to primarytain the gear and use it every season, so it saves a Little bit of money The primary yr, then more Since the seasons go by.

Next time I might use the Profile Choose Liquid compound. It’s simpler to work with than a paste, with much less spatter, and achieved A great shiny finish with Just one gentleware.

After a much lesson from professional Roprimary James has ancompletely different go

Actually, the Choose remedy was so good that I’d fortunately forgo the second stage Finish remedy and transfer straight onTo shielding with the wax product. This might imply You can startwork and finish the compounding in a single prolonged day, As prolonged as The very biggestfacets are already clean. And spfinish more time crusing!

I’ll undoubtedly furtherly primarytain a current of the UV Wax in a locker for frequently primeping up the wax layer every few months, partworkicularly if it saves me from A pair of days sprucing my boat perched aprime a step ladder every winter.

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