compounded the hull with 3m heavy duty compound (using a cheap buffer with a cheap wool pad), applied Finesse 2 with a cotton rag,
Seems like the problem is applying the Finesse It with a cotton rag. In order to get the best polish (and this is the step that really brings out the shine), you need a good buffer and foam pad for the Finesse It. Compound alone will not give you a shine. You could use a fine wool pad for the polish, which is what we use, but it does require more skill to avoid swirls. Like Maine Sail, I spent many of my early years buffing cars. What really surprised me is that the Mikita polisher still seems to be the industry standard. Of course, we didn't have the fancy speed control units back then, nor did we have foam pads (really had to be careful not to burn the paint), but the technique is the same. Anyway, try the Finesse It with a buffer before resorting to wetsanding, I think you will be pleased with the results.