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Old 09-16-2009
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CalebD CalebD is offline
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I second Tommays that if your freeboard (outside hull above water line) is gel coat then that will last a lot longer then most paint jobs. If you have dings in the freeboard (which is where damage is most likely to occur) then you might consider repairing the gel coat in those areas.
Gel coat smells pretty bad as it as polyester based resin, which is not recommended to be put over an epoxy patch as it adheres better over a polyester resin then epoxy. If your scratches and dings are not too deep I think that a gel coat repair job would be more long lasting with about the same amount of work.
Here is a link to gel coat repair projects by Don Casey: Gelcoat Scratch Repair by Don Casey
If you can follow the directions and wipe your work down with Acetone before you apply it and pay attention to whether you are using a gel coat past or liquid that needs to be covered to cure you will be good for many years. Gel coat needs to be sanded smooth using very fine grit sand paper starting from #220 all the way up to #600 or above (300, 400, 500 etc).
It may not exactly match the color of your existing free board but it will over time if it is white. Prepping for a gel coat patch, applying, allowing curing time, sanding and waxing probably takes longer then painting but should provide a more durable fix.
Good luck
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