A note about "no sanding required."
The sanding between coats is not just for adhering the next coat, but also for progressively smoothing the surface to that desirable final gloss. If you really want a smooth shine, wet sanding by hand with a rubber sanding block is the way to go.
If you go with varnish, remember that a new coat is needed whenever water fails to bead up on the surface. A quick coat applied at that time (after a light scrub with extra fine scotchbrite) will save a lot of stripping and refinishing.
I have an old Lyman runabout that has mahogany plywood decks that are varnished. They have never had to be stripped for refinishing in the 15 years since I renewed the wood. I apply a fresh coat every year or two and keep the boat covered when not in use. Score one for a cover.
At the same time, the varnished transom is never covered and it has likewise never been refinished since I originally refinished it some 20 years ago. The sun doesn't get to shine directly down on it, and it gets at least one new coat ever year.
Horizontal surfaces like your hatch get the worst sun exposure and need the most protection.
Last edited by Goodnewsboy; 03-05-2007 at 08:35 AM.