Hello Maine Sail,
Excellent advice. I used to work at a body shop when I was in college, a long time ago, and back then, you had to cut lacquer paint jobs by wet sanding with 600, and then buff it with the orange compound (name escapes me, petroeum based, very toxic).
When I first decided to polish my boat, I asked an "old-timer" that owned the boatyard, if I should use the same products and procedures. He said 'hell no'. He told me about a product that he used when he worked at Shannon Boat Works. It's called Aquabuff 2000, water based, and it works great on gelcoat. They also make an Aquabuff 1000, which contains more grit. Just wondering if you've ever used them.