So as mentioned I tried something new this year...I hired a pro
At first I purchased about $200 of materials (pads, compounds, finesse, etc etc etc) but with a looong list of things to do this Spring I bit the bullet and asked a professional in the yard for an estimate, it was $400. So I hired them and returned my $200 of materials, so one could say it only cost me $200 to have a pro do it?
I was there when they did it so I could pick up some tips. As usual, its all about technique and the proper tools which mirror pretty much what Maine Sail details in his "how to". I was very pleased with the work they did, but I admit it doesn't look as good as some of these post of DIY. Maybe next year when I have a little less to do
T37Chef, I have been in the "same boat" often over the years. In our case, the yard charges roughly $340. And sometimes I've gone that route. Sometimes I've done it myself (though I've never compounded/polished until this year). But a few things about our situation pushed me to do this myself this time.
First, the yard uses 3M Cleaner Wax (I've known this all along). So it looks just fine but doesn't last the season. I've used Fleetwax always. When I washed the boat this spring, the water still beaded up from my wax job last spring.
Second, I had most of the "stuff" already, which I've been buying here and there over the last few years. So yeah, I still spent $250 on supplies, but it was over 3-4 years.
Third, to get the hull both compounded properly and waxed by someone who uses Fleetwax (or similar), it would cost more like $650 based on estimates I got.
Fourth, once I knew the boat was ready to splash, I couldn't get a launch date for like 7-8 days. So I had the time to do it without delaying launch.
Anyway, it was a lot of work, but I saved a lot of dough for the same job. Maybe the job by the pros using the right products would've been better, but maybe not. And I know it's better than the yard's cleaner wax job.
Will I do it again next year? Maybe. We'll see.