adequately charge a starting battery but not
a discharged deep-cycle battery in a reasonable amount of time. If you wanted to keep
it “topped off,” you could consider connecting both, but with a device called a battery
isolator so one battery will never discharge
the other one (if you have them connected
without this, you’ll use both your starting
and trolling batteries, leaving you with two
There are some very smart isolators by
companies such as Sterling Power and Blue
Seas that do an excellent job at isolating and
determining when to charge what battery. I
wouldn’t connect them together without one
of these devices.
compounding, then wax, while the other says
it needs a fine wet sanding and wax. Each says
the other’s treatment removes more of the
gelcoat’s surface. What do the Experts say?
For a more extensive article by Don
Casey on repairing your gelcoat, go to
LIGHTER TOUCH OR
FEEL THE ABRASION?
We had the gelcoat on our motoryacht com-
pounded and waxed about three years ago by
one contractor, then wet-sanded and waxed
a year-and-a-half ago by a different person.
We’re due for a fresh waxing and have asked
both contractors, as we were equally pleased
with their earlier results (although in a certain
light, we do see swirl marks and dull areas).
One contractor says the gelcoat needs a heavy
DON CASEY: Both procedures remove
more of the surface than should be required
for a five-year-old gelcoat surface that was
“new” (via wet sanding) just 18 months ago
and protected by waxing. The original gelcoat
on a boat hull is typically around five to eight
times thicker than a painted surface, so it will
tolerate repeated peelings. However, gelcoat
is also softer than paint, so more material is
lost to an abrasive.
There are significant differences in rubbing compounds, but you will not be too
far off pegging the abrasiveness of a typical
rubbing compound at somewhere around
the equivalent of 1,500-grit wet sanding.
Rubbing compound should be used only if
a finer abrasive is insufficient. Likewise, wet
sanding should be reserved for significantly
As with compounding, wet sanding isn’t
all the same. Gelcoat restoration typically
involves working through increasingly finer
grits, starting with one as coarse as 600, and
finishing with 2,000-grit. This process inevi-
tably thins your protective gelcoat. Before
you allow anyone to sand your hull, you’d
be wise to determine what the intended
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