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But my question is different--REALLY!

Actually, it's probably not THAT different. But really, I've read TONS here on Sailnet about this, and I understand there's no quick miracle with gelcoat waxing. So I'm just asking for a recommendation for my specific situation.

Our "new" 25-year-old boat is 350 miles away, waiting for spring launch to sail her home. The boat has been waxed every spring for the last 13 years according to records, though it was done by the yard--probably just a one-step process (maybe a cleaner wax or something). But overall the hull looks decent, with just a few small marks here and there (spider dirt, etc.). No big rusty stains or oxidation that we could see.

GOAL:
- Simply protect the hull (yes we want it to look "decent", but don't expect anything fantastic)
- Get it done in a weekend (including washing and whatever we apply/buff off)

Next year we can get crazy with the all the compounding, polishing, glazing, etc. This year we just need to get her home, and we won't be able to wax once she's in the water.

Can anyone recommend a process/product(s) to use? Should we simply wash and then wax? If so, what should we use?
Thanks,
J
If just washing & waxing to protect just use Collinite Fleet Wax #885 Paste.

 

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I'm planning to do this work without a buffer. I've never used one, so I think it would be best if I skip it this time, and try to work with products that are reasonably easy to hand apply and remove.
Then you should stick to wax only. You can not effectively polish or compound gelcoat by hand. You will require shoulder surgery if you even attempt it.;)

My advice would be to hand wash the hull with Black Streak remover and micro fiber rags then wash with an acid cleaner like On & Off Gel then rinse, dry and apply the Collinite.

Contrary to lots of misinformation about applying a true carnuba based wax it should NOT be done with a buffer or machine and should be done by hand and removed by hand with microfiber rags.

Thanks Brucerobs2. We might still at least polish or do a light compound step, but it would be nice to have more time on other projects!
Again without the proper tools just stick with a proper cleaning then the wax.. Black Streak remover, done by hand, followed by On/Off Gel (you can use a car wash brush if you want to) is an amazing combo..
 

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Thanks painkiller. I have the issue. They like Collinite 885, though they seem to think you can't apply/remove by hand. Maine Sail's been pretty adamant that it's easy to do by hand if you use a water spritzer too. I think they also liked a Meguiar's wax, but it was a silcone/polymer thing--and right now, I'm thinking that's not the way we want to go.
Sorry but Practical Sailor really has no clue what they are doing. This stuff is easy on, easy off if you do it the right way and they did not..:rolleyes: You should never let it fully dry and it should be put on with a damp foam or terry applicator pad or by bare fingers and a light misting of the hull or pad with water. Do a 2' - 3' swath from toe rail to waterline at a time and move to the next DO NOT let it fully dry on the hull and use MICROFIBER RAGS for removal NOT terrycloth. Oh and do not apply or remove wax with a machine this is best done by hand..

From the post I made last night:

Tips for applying the wax:

3) Do I apply the wax by hand? Yes! DO NOT apply or remove the wax phase with the buffer! I use the 4-inch round Meguiars foam applicators you can buy at an auto parts store and a spray/mist bottle of water, like you use for ironing. The spray bottle is the secret trick for applying a true Carnuba wax. Simply mist the hull and liberally apply the wax. Wait for it to haze over to about 80-90% of dry and buff by hand with a Micro Fiber rag. Do not use terry cloth! Once you use a Micro Fiber detailing cloth for waxing you'll wonder how you ever survived without one! The spray of water some how helps it attach and buff out to a harder, shinier easier to wipe off finish. It's sort of like when you get your shoes polished and the guy hits them with a mist bottle and then buffs the shine up. This trick does not work with most of the polymer/Carnuba blends like the 3M paste but it's like gold with the Collinite Carnuba as well as Tre-Wax. Another trick is not to wax a large area! Do a two to three foot wide swath from toe rail to waterline marking where your are waxing at the toe rail with a piece of blue tape. Also leave a little residue on the leading edge so you'll know exactly where to start. You'll wipe this leading edge when finished with the next swath leaving another leading edge to go off of.

Over the years I have experimented at length with using my buffer to remove the wax but I find the frictional heat is bad for it and it does not shine as well or last as long. Buffing it off by hand gives it a harder shell because it's cooler and does not re-melt the curing wax with teh friction of a buffer. Have plenty of fresh Micro Fiber rags for the wipe off! On my 36 footer I use only four Micro's where it used to take about a dozen terry cloth rags. I buy my Micro Fiber rags at Sam's Club or Wal*Mart. I used to buy them from Griot's Garage when they were the only ones who had them and they were HUGE money! Try and find the best quality Micro*Fiber you can it WILL make a difference. Sometimes the quality of the Sam's Club Micro's is poor so I go to Wally World or an auto-parts store.

On concourse quality show cars pure carnuba is applied with bare, clean fingers & a mist of water and then removed with microfiber rags.
 

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Since the hull looked pretty good at that point, I moved on to the Finesse- it stage, and this is were things went wrong for me.
Finesse It II is a micro swirl remover & polish it does not compound or remove any level of oxidation well at all.

The hull should be glossy already from the compound phase. Finesse It II just removes swirls and adds a deeper shine. You can't effectively go from wet sanding to Finesse It. Unless your hull looked like the picture below you were not ready for Finesse it..
 
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