research to have a proper job done, not what
your yard is proposing.
GELCOAT ISN’T FOREVER
I have a 1987 Cobalt, and the gelcoat is
showing its age a great deal. I compound
and wax it at the beginning of the season,
but it only seems to last a few weeks before
it begins to fade again. Can you recommend
a good compound and wax and any other
technique to help me with this problem? I
can’t afford a new boat or to have this one
PHOTO: DAN ARMITAGE
TOM NEALE: Eventually, gelcoat on
boats gets badly worn and the more you
compound and wax it, the worse it gets.
Compounding removes fine layers of gel-
coat, which at first isn’t noticeable. Our
53-foot motorsailer was built in 1975 and
we painted it. Our center console was built
in 1985 and right now we’re putting up with
the old gelcoat, but we’ll probably paint it
soon. Eventually, that’s the only thing you
can do that really works. Many people paint
the boat themselves, using methods such as
rolling and tipping. This saves a lot of money,
but it may not look brand new without a
professional doing it. However, it’ll look bet-
ter than the old gelcoat. If you go to helpful
websites such as Interlux (www.yachtpaint.
com), you’ll find useful info on paints and
techniques. It’s important to take care of this
because eventually an inadequate gelcoat
could allow water to migrate into the lami-
nate and other areas.
THE TROUBLE WITH TRAILERS
I replaced the brakes on the back axle of my
trailer last year. Now, the front axle needs
brakes. The boat shop said they can remove
the brakes from the front axle. If I only have
brakes on one axle, does it matter whether
they’re front or rear?
JOHN ADEY: Traditionally I’ve seen them
both ways. Some state regulations say “at
least one axle is equipped with brakes.” The
one common thread is that there should be
brakes on both axles if the trailer is equipped
that way. First I’d check your state requirements and make a phone call to ensure
For everything about trailers and
boat towing, visit www.BoatUS.com/
you’re going to be in compliance. Depending
on the weight and amount of towing you do,
you may be making a decision that will cause
you more problems in the long run, leading
to excessive vehicle wear, poor handling, and
so on. My recommendation is a set of functional brakes on both axles.
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