Have a 15 yr old sailboat w/ a lot of spider type cracks (nothing structual). Any advice on latest way, or any way, to cover them besides paint. i want to keep the original gelcoat as it is still holding a good shine.
There are a lot of reasons why spider cracks form. Some are pretty benign but others represent a much more serious problem. If I had a 15 year old boat with a lot of spider cracking I would want to know why it had occurred. As to fixing them, I know of no way to make repairs to a spider cracks that leaves the original gelcoat intact and visible. The usuual cure is to grind down through the original gelcoat to the substrate, look for cracking there and if that is solid, either paint or gelcoat the area back in. This is next to imposible to do seamlessly as a spot repair in a non-skip area.
Many fine older boats that develop spider type crackling in the Gel Coat affect our pride more than the integrity of the boat. Often the reason is a thick Gel Coat was applied. The best cure remove and replace -Paint or New Gel Coat. You can sand and fill and then paint but more than likely the cracks will show up again. The old Addage a job well done does apply here. Good Luck