In our test of acrylic-type gelcoat restorers, we polished one panel on a 1972 Oday Javelin with 3M Finesse-It II and waxed it.
Practical Sailor has long prescribed Finesse-It II ($20)for polishing, and the final gloss matched the panel with the best acrylic “miracle cure.”
We also tried various polishing tools fitted with wool buffing pads: the Waxmaster ($30), the drill-mounted 3M Superbuff wheel ($17); and a 7-inch variable-speed polisher from Chicago Electric ($30).
The anemic Waxmaster was a waste of money for this job. The 3M Superbuff worked, but the drill didn't like continuous-duty use. Although its no match for a pro-grade dual-action polisher, the Chicago Electric polisher (made in China) is a bargain for this work. Just be careful not to remove too much gelcoat. For more gelcoat maintenance tips, see “Offshore Log: Gelcoat Maintenance,” at Practical Sailor.