At first glance and in the dim light of the boat shed, the HR 39 doesn't look bad at all. Sure, it should already have a few thousand miles in the wake, but the substance is good. Even the gelcoat still has a little shine. "There is still a lot going on," says Reiner Spiegl, owner of the wholesaler and retailer Bootslacke Nord, which specializes in paints and polishes. At the Hallberg-Rassy, Spiegl wants to demonstrate how, on the one hand, the professional works and, on the other hand, you can achieve brilliant results yourself. A long-term test of five current polishing systems can be found in YACHT 5/2019. The magazine will be available from February 20th at the kiosk
Photo gallery: This is what the surface structure of the gelcoat would look like under the microscope
Jagged gelcoat: The UV radiation destroys the surface of the gelcoat. The result is a crater landscape that appears matt, and dirt adheres firmly to it
Filled gelcoat: Combination polishes only remove the peaks, the remaining valleys are filled with wax. It's quick, but doesn't last long
Smoothed gelcoat: Sanding polish smooths the gelcoat back so that it shines. The seal forms a layer and protects against further disintegration
A little background: The greatest enemy of surfaces is UV radiation, which is responsible for the chalking of gelcoat and the weathering of paint layers. Together with dirt and fender abrasion, it eats tiny fragments from the surface over the years. What remains is a crater landscape in microformat - the gelcoat appears matt and rough. In addition, dirt can settle more easily, and even the typical yellow beard of the Baltic Sea develops faster, because the algae responsible for this thrive better in the pores than on a smooth surface.
To give such unsightly surfaces a new shine, you have to work on them. There are two types of polishing agents for this: on the one hand, combination polishes that only remove a little from the surface and contain waxes or other substances. This fills pores and fine scratches and creates a shiny layer.
These products are very popular, they are easy to apply and quickly lead to visibly more shine and a better look. The disadvantage, however, is that the sealing usually does not last the entire season and you have to repeat the polishing process, which is hardly possible in the water, at least with the hull. The alternative to this are professional polishes. As a rule, they do not contain any wax, but they have a much stronger sanding performance and can actually smooth out most of the unevenness
This makes the surfaces even and shiny again before a seal is applied. This work requires a lot more time and the right equipment. In addition, a final seal is required, for example with a wax or polymer. Big advantage: The shine lasts for the entire season, and the workload is less in the following years too, because the better-protected gelcoat does not age as quickly.