Isn't the OP's point if re-doing with gelcoat will last the rest of your life, why isn't it worth the extra labor one time to do that, instead of repainting every so many years? More labor once then you're done vs. less labor more times. Does re-applied gelcoat last as long as original gelcoat?
Because it doesn't last the rest of your life. That's the point.
Think about it. If gelcoat was THAT durable...why is he looking at doing it again? It's tough, but it ain't lifetime tough... and it is tough to apply to large surfaces well. small repairs, cat hulls, no problem. a 25-40' boat with 3-5' of freeboard? Good luck making it look good.
After spending four days in 2009 filling cracks, sanding, and polishing the neglected hull of our 40 year old boat, it was obvious that the robin's egg blue surface was not coming back...at least not with any sort of finish durability. It was also obvious that I was not going to get a decent colour match between the new glecoat i applied and the original hull. Now the docking scuffs that were barely noticeable before were REALLY noticeable.
I spent 10 days in 2010 prepping and painting the deck, cockpit and topsides.
First season, no maintenance beside touch-ups.
Second season, no maintenance beside touch-ups.
Third season, no maintenance beside touch-ups.