|She is back in the water and she is STUNNING! “The Trophy” has NEVER looked better, not even when she left the factory brand spanking new way back when I do believe. And no matter how hard I work here in the coming months, it will all seem like a picnic compared to how hard I worked giving “The Trophy” a total make over during the off season. I guess the idea to go completely overboard and totally recondition the already in great shape “Trophy” for this year stems back to me going to the Miami International Boat Show this winter and seeing all of those highly polished gleaming gems sitting both in the big showrooms and on the water. I thought to myself, hey these boats don’t have anything on my girl! And so I set off to work. And since I don’t have a fishing report for you guys yet, I thought I would tell my story here about what all I went through to put on a new high tech Ceramic coating on all of my boats surfaces to replace years and years of wax build up, oxidization and minor scratches here and there. Disclaimer* This is going to be a long winded, detailed non fishing tale about what all I had to do to restore “The Trophy” to better then new condition!|
|I have been very intrigued here lately with the new high tech super glossy Ceramic coatings that have really gotten popular in recent years and is taking the automotive and marine detailing world by storm. The only thing that prevented me from trying it sooner was knowing that all of the surfaces that you want to coat have to be absolutely immaculate and surgically clean! No swirls, scratches, oxidization, old waxes or polishes, dirt or stains. No grease or oils, not even from a thumb or finger print! No soap or cleaning residues of any kind! Did I mention that all surfaces have to be surgically clean? Lol! And even though when we put the boat up last fall we cleaned her like crazy for days, I had my work cut out for me now before I could even start with any kind of fiberglass correction work. Working in small chunks and one panel at a time, every inch of “The Trophy” both inside and out, above the rub rail and below, engine boxes, everything got scrubbed down by hand with micro fiber towels starting out with 409 heavy duty cleaner and degreaser then followed by a pure vinegar bath and finally with 90% isopropyl alcohol. Every panel and every section one at a time. Numerous times over. All that before the real work was even to begin. This process to remove any old wax build ups and stains took me days to do in itself! Yikes! And then it was time to get really serious...|
|Starting at the rub rail and working my way up both inside and out, every surface, every square inch got wet sanded out by hand to get rid of any oxidization and any fine scratches. Starting with a 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper everything got slowly and meticulously sanded out followed by a thorough wiping down with clean micro fiber towels in-between the sandings. Following the 1000 grit, I started the slow and repetitious job of sanding all over again with a finer and then yet even finer sand paper. I went on to follow up with 1200 grit, 1500, 2000, 2500 and finally a 3000 grit paper. All the time wiping down between coats with those clean fresh micro fiber towels. What a job! Then following all of that sanding it was time to take these same sections to the next level and start with the machine buffing. Starting with a wool pad and a aggressive cutting compound, everything started coming in like a mirror! Following the wool pad, I went to a mid grade foam pad and a less aggressive mid grade rubbing compound. And then FINALLY a ultra smooth foam pad and marine fiberglass polish to bring out an incredible luster and super smooth finish. I thought I would never get done! My shoulders ached like a tooth ach! All of those same buffing steps got done to the huge hull itself, minus all the sanding that I did to everything above the rub rail. Then when everything was 100% done inside and out, bottom and topside and all the corrections to the surfaces were complete, it was time once again to scrub the living heck out of every inch of all my hard work. There can be zero oils or waxes on any of the surfaces for the Ceramic to adhere properly! I spent an entire day scrubbing repeatedly every section, every panel and every bit of the boat using 12 bottles of Dawn Platinum grease cutting dish soap and rinsing repeatedly with enough water to fill a Olympic swimming pool I swear! Do you know how hard it is to rinse away 12 frigging bottles of dish soap? Lol! I thought I would NEVER get rid of all the suds and bubbles that kept weeping out of every nook and cranny no matter how much I rinsed! Then when I was finally satisfied that there was no more suds or water beading of any sort going on on any of the surfaces meaning all the polishes and oils were removed, everything got thoroughly wiped down one final time with clean dry big micro fiber drying towels to eliminate any chance of any water spots remaining on any of the surfaces. Working well into the night, I was completely exhausted that day. I have a whole new level of huge respect for those that detail for a living!|
|Then FINALLY it was time to move on to the prize! For my coating of choice, I settled on Crystal Serum Light manufactured by Gtechniq followed by two coats of their EXO4 topcoat for a warm sexy glossy look! Application is slow and again very meticulous doing small 2 foot by 2 foot sections at a time at the very most. Working in gloves, you give each section one last quick wipe down with their panel wipe to insure that there is no dust or contaminates of any kind. Then with a small micro fiber applicator you wipe on in a cross hatch pattern a thin layer of product. Giving the product about a minute to sit there and “flash” you then start the multi micro fiber towel process of removing it. The first gentle wipe down is with a special clean new micro fiber towel to the 2 foot by 2 foot section that you just coated and is called “leveling” where you remove the excess material that has flashed off. That wiping is followed by a follow up with yet another clean brand new short nap micro fiber towel. And then one more time polishing hard to a brilliant slick finish. And if you think that is a lot of work, all of it had to be done all over again with two more coats of their top coat which is applied in the very same fashion. Exhausting but very satisfying when you are finally done. And of coarse just like every other big job in life that you want to do right, it ends up snowballing and metastasizes till you think you are going to go crazy! You can’t correct one thing without fixing everything. I ended up doing a lot of little gel coat repairs, replacing striping, removing old worn out decals and logos. It all seemed never ending! I spent two weeks just alone sanding out and polishing the aluminum rub rail that goes all the way around the boat! All that and many more other little “side” jobs! But eventually I did finish and the results are, well, STUNNING and are said to last for years unlike waxes that after 2 months you can hardly tell that you did anything. Although these are not live links that you can click on, for those of you interested I encourage you to copy and paste these into your browser and check out these links to appreciate what all I did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzKoP5tLke0 Keep in mind that in this guys video this is all being done to a boat that is already in very pristine condition and did not have to go through all of the sanding and extreme buffing corrections that I had to do to to get it to a flawless mirror like surface. Also, here is a link to Gtechniq and their product line: https://gtechniq.com/ After finishing my coating job I realized that they also have a specific marine line of products but basically both the base coats and the top coats for each do the same exact thing whether it be automotive or marine. So that about does it. Oh, and as always, we did some other fun and cool things to “The Trophy” but you’ll just have to come out to see the rest of everything else in person and to see how fabulous the old girl really came out! And now it’s time to fish.|
*If anybody is interested in a weekend date I still have next weekend available, Saturday & Sunday May 14th & 15th. Come spend a fun filled day on THE TROPHY while she still has that new car smell! Lol!