At first glance and in the dim light of the hall, the HR 39 doesn't look bad at all. Sure, it should have left 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 and unpacks a range of cleaners, polishing machines, grinding pastes and polishes. As the owner of a wholesaler and retailer specializing in paints and polishes, he supplies various shipyards and yacht maintenance companies throughout Germany with the necessary material and know-how. 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.
Finer abrasives and a medium-hard sponge are required to improve the surface
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.
Filling or sanding?
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. Read YACHT 7/2017 which materials you need for a professional polish and how you can make your work easier.