I figure splitting it in half will make it a lot easier to glass in the tower supports, plus I can do the carpet up righteous. The last carpet job was so bad, it was just hanging in the boat (see pitchers!)
Now for the fun part: the painted hull. The prior owner had painted the upper half of the boat with a single stage blue paint. Paint was in pretty shabby condition, and there was some minor hull damage as well. So... off comes the paint. I started with a DA sander at 320 grit... that was no fun. After about 2 square feet I got to some of the decals. I broke out the heat gun and discovered that it took off the decals and softened the cheap-a$$ paint to the point where i could scrape it off with a scraper.
As of this weekend, i've got the transom done, and the port side paint is completely scraped off. There are a bunch of chips in the gelcoat, which I'm noodling over how to repair, and one small impact mark where something hit the boat. I'm going to post some pictures of those bits and ask for advice - gelcoat repair is not something i've done before, but i'm willing to learn.
Anyways -back to the paint removal. After stripping the paint, I started on the transom with 400 grid wetsand, then 600, then 800, then 1000, and finally i put some 1500 unigrit on the DA and used that to do some finish sanding on the gelcoat. Tons of blue paint came with the 400 grit. Wish I hadn't tried the DA with 320 on the paint, it made a mess of the gelcoat underneath (lots of swirls). Fortunately, only a few feet of transom got the DA sander, so just a little more elbow grease to clean that up.
So after taking off just about 2 sq feet of paint, I got out the polisher and hit it with some meguires 49 to see what the finish would look like. The hull below you can see i polished from the waterline to about half way up; the other half is all scratchy (so you can see what it looked like prior to starting).
It polishes up to a nice shine, but i still have a lot of fine scratch marks in the finish - they run left to right, meaning they came from my wet sanding - either i didn't spend enough time with the finer grits, or this is something that i should deal with in the polishing phase.
Those of you familiar with wetsand-compound-polish - at what point do the sanding scratches disappear from the finish?