Reviving Gelcoat & More


One of the most common questions we get from new owners of old boats is how to bring back new gelcoat shine. We’ve undertaken countless product tests to find the best boat wax and polishes, the most effective waxing-and-polishing tools, and the products that can be used for a speedy touchup. If waxing is on your to-do list, be sure to check out the following articles.

You’ll find a good overview of our archive articles on this topic in the May 12, 2015 blog post, A Practical Look at Waxing and Polishing Your Boat. We reported on our tests of paste waxes in the February 2009 issue, one-step cleaner/waxes in the March 2007 issue, and aggressive rubbing compounds (for those much-weathered hulls) in the April 2014 issue.

For those looking for a quick and easy way to add a little shine to your hull, without the full-on protective-wax routine, be sure to read our report on spray-on waxes in the December 2014 issue. If your hull is looking a little long in tooth and needs more than a wax job, consider a gelcoat restorer (see PS July 2011 online), but weigh the pros and cons first.

Readers will find helpful information on what tools we recommend for restoring and protecting gelcoat in the March 18, 2014 blog, The Pros Guide to Restoring Gelcoat, as well as our test report of the Shurhold Dual-Action Polisher in the April 2010 Chandlery section.

If youre serious about protecting your investment and prefer to have all your research in one, easy-to-access place, then consider buying PSs Gelcoat Restoration and Maintenance ebook, or the whole maintenance series, Marine Cleaners.

Reviving Gelcoat & More

Safety At Sea

Our archives are overflowing with safety gear tests and tips articles. Here are a few that are timely-and timeless. Check out our tests of safety tethers (PS September 2011) and PFD-harnesses (PS July 2013 and August 2008), and the feature on life-raft inspections (February 2013). In 2012, we reported on three racing accidents, each with important lessons for all sailors: WingNuts capsize (April 2012), Rambler 100 capsize (May 2012), and the Low Speed Chase (Farallones) capsize (June 2012). And in Practical Tips for Survival at Sea (June 2013), author Michael Tougias offers advice from survivors on what they would have done differently and what helped them survive.

For a compilation of decades of PS safety tests and advice articles, check out the MOB Prevention and Recovery ebook, which is available from our online bookstore

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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