Doesn’t it seem like every hour spent fishing requires two hours of rigging, wrenching, washing, and waxing? Before the first line goes in the water, the crew’s got to prep tackle, fix broken stuff and maintain mechanical systems throughout the boat. At the end of the day, everything needs to be re-rigged and thoroughly cleaned before the next day’s use. Cutting corners on rigging and repairing is not an option, but new products and more efficient techniques can cut your cleaning time by almost half, freeing up valuable time for other duties.
In both war and washing, the best offense is a good defense. Waxing, refinishing, and repairing the boat’s finish will save time and money down the road. And semi-annual maintenance will make the boat easier to clean and keep her looking good in the long run, too. “Waxing the boat will protect the delicate finish and make daily cleaning a lot easier,” says Bill Lindsey, Vice President of Marketing at Starbrite, the world’s leader in marine washes and waxes. Lindsey suggests using a wax with PTEF, a version of the non-stick coating found on cookware. “The wax was banned by the America’s Cup because the boats using it on their hulls slipped through the water more efficiently,” he says.
As opposed to traditional waxes with a carnauba base, modern boat waxes do a better job of protecting against dirt and grease while warding off damaging UV rays. Nick Moberle, Senior Technical Service Engineer at 3M, explains, “Carnauba waxes sit on the surface of the substrate where water can get behind and sheet off the wax.” Synthetic polymer waxes are designed to actually bond with the gelcoat, offering longer protection. Not only are boats exposed to extreme sun, saltwater, and waves of dirt, blood, slime, and goo, but a boat gets washed more often than the typical car, all of which work to break down the protective coat of wax.
Both experts suggest using a clean, dry lint-less rag to apply the wax and a random orbital buffer to remove the excess. Lindsey warns, “A regular buffer can burn through the wax and gelcoat.” Metal surfaces should be waxed and buffed with a terry-cloth glove or rag. Moberle likes detail cloths for applying and removing wax, but he cautions, “When you wash detail cloths, don’t use fabric softener. It will leave a film that can cause scratches.” Curtains should also be cleaned and waxed with products designed for clear plastic. Never wash plastic with soap, which will also leave a stubborn film. Any chipped fiberglass or wood should be sanded smooth and touched up.
To repair the finish, 3M’s Moberle recommends using the highest quality compounds and glazes. “Abrasives should be consistent throughout with minimal filler.” He points to the company’s Trizact Abrasives. “If you look at the grains under a microscope, they shear off instead of round down,” he says, “leaving a finish that looks 20 feet deep.” When applying abrasives, Moberle suggests making a path vertically with a dual action sander, then returning with a 50 percent overlap. Then cross-hatch horizontally with a 50 percent overlap. Finish with rubbing compound. “By refining scratches, the finish looks deep and wet,” he says.
Lindsey says boat owners should keep an eye on professional detailers. “To save time and money, some of these guys compound the boat and use harsh chemicals that can actually destroy the gelcoat,” he says. He also cautions against using a pressure washer to prep the boat for waxing or washing. “Pressure washers take off dirt and wax,” he says, “but they can also take off gelcoat and even skin.” Water can be forced into places it doesn’t …………………………………………………..(To continue reading this article click here) You can also subscribe to InTheBite The Magazine to enjoy more industry leading editorial.