Ask Sail: Deck Freshener

My yacht is 20 years old, and the antiskid is looking poor. Is there anything wrong with cleaning the deck, wiping it down with acetone and brushing flowcoat (waxed gelcoat) on to the antiskid?
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Ron Beattie, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, asks:

My yacht is 20 years old, and the antiskid is looking poor. Is there anything wrong with cleaning the deck, wiping it down with acetone and brushing flowcoat (waxed gelcoat) on to the antiskid? I understand that the tread pattern will be partially filled with the flowcoat, compromising its effectiveness, so I was considering adding some antiskid beads. Will the flowcoat adhere to the old gelcoat, or is additional preparation necessary?

Don Casey replies:

Aging gelcoat does become weathered and porous, providing some tooth for an overcoat to adhere to, but any surface to be re-coated should be sanded first. A stiff stainless wire brush can be used to scuff up a textured surface.

DonCasey

To prevent the laid-up deck from adhering to its mold, the fabricators will have heavily waxed the mold’s interior surface. Some of that wax is still present in your non-skid pattern and will prevent your overcoat from adhering. You can remove it with acetone, but xylene or a proprietary wax remover such as Interlux 202 (use them only in open air) will do a better job.

In general, I am not a fan of “painting” with gelcoat. It doesn’t flow well, is relatively soft, and depends on thickness for durability, so doesn’t work well on a textured anti-skid surface. A better approach in your case is to sprinkle grit into a still-wet coating of epoxy primer, brush away the excess when the primer has cured, then apply a couple of coats of two-part polyurethane paint, or even a single-part topside enamel paint. This will look good, should last several years and is easily re-coated. Whatever refinishing method you settle on, you’ll need to add grit.

Related

ASA-2048

Get out and Sail: Virtually

Just because you’re stuck at home self-quarantining, that’s no reason you can’t still hone your skills or teach someone else you know about boathandling with the American Sailing Association’s online Sailing Challenge game. Created in cooperation with Nolan Bushnell, a longtime ...read more

200324-VirtualSailing-2048

Time to Try Virtual Sailboat Racing?

Stuck at home self-quarantining? How about giving on-line sailboat racing a try? Begun in 2010 and now working in partnership with sailing’s international governing body, World Sailing, Virtual Regatta has long allowed fans to take an active part in everything from the Vendée ...read more

2003-ICW

How Risky is the ICW with Covid-19?

Being a cruising sailor, one is already practicing a kind of social distancing. But coastal cruisers, and those transiting the Intracoastal Waterway, in particular, still have to return to land for re-provisioning and things like water, fuel, and pump-outs. When you dock in a ...read more

05-Q&A-190826-11HRT-AMO-team-announcement-113

A Chat with Charlie Enright

Rhode Island native Charlie Enright, 35, has competed in not one but two Volvo Ocean Races (VOR), with Team Alvimedica in 2014-15 and Vestas 11th Hour Racing 2017-18. More recently, Enright and 11th Hour Racing have announced they plan to compete in The Ocean Race, the successor ...read more

06-Smoke-on-the-waterways,-SC

Cruising: a Long Haul North

There are many mantras experienced cruisers like to pass on to those less experienced. First and foremost among these is: “Never sail to a schedule.” After that comes: “Choose your weather window carefully.” Unfortunately, this past spring, my husband, Brian, and I violated both ...read more

The-Solent's-rough-seas-and-harsh-weahter-teach-valuable-skills-for-any-serious-sailor-(by-Eric-Vohr)

How to Become a Yacht Master

Learning to sail is an organic process. Often we’re introduced to the sport by a family member or good friend who loves sailing and wants to share their passion. As such, one learns in bits and pieces. The problem is you can end up with lots of missing bits, and thus many ...read more

IMG_2012

Experience: Threading the Needle in a Thick Fog

It was a dark night, utterly black. Any light was blanketed by the fog. My chartplotter was night-blinding me. I looked at the Navionics map on my phone, waited half a second for my eyes to adjust and then looked at the depthsounder. After that, I looked ahead to where Laura was ...read more

01a-LEAD-Franctional-rig-X-yachts-X-4.9-20180313-MICK-4845

Know-how: Modern Rigs 101

I pretty much took rigs for granted when I first started sailing on other people’s boats. After all, unlike exciting, moving, tweakable things like sails and running rigging, masts and booms were just there—a part of the structure of the boat. I took no part in their maintenance ...read more