The Skipper's Blog

Ask The Skipper
Views Counter

How to Prep Gelcoat for a Bootstripe


Hank Greer asked:

What would I use to remove VS721 from fiberglass? I need to remove it from where I want to put a boot stripe on my fiberglass boat. I know I’ll have to sand where the new gel coat stripe will go but I need to get the VS721 off first or I’ll just be grinding it into the glass
and that doesn’t give a good result. Same thing happens when the mold release on a new hull is sanded INTO the glass instead of being
removed BEFORE sanding. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Do you sell a product that will “wash” the old VS721 off?


For your convenience, I’ve highlighted the hyperlinks. Click on the hyperlink to get more information about the selected product.

VS721 can be removed with Boat Scrub. After, wash the area with acetone. After you do your sanding, you should wash the area again
with acetone prior to spraying the new gelcoat.

It’s good to hear that you are taking the time to properly prepare before you apply the gel coat. Most guys, even professionals that should
know better, just scuff the surface and PAINT. Many don’t even bother to scuff the surface. Then they wonder why they have so many problems
in the future. Of course their shoddy workmanship is always the fault of the boat builder 😉 Congratulations on doing the job right.

Captain Aurora
Richard Kittar


I absolutely love VS721. I finished off a new 32 Holland (my second one for the harpoon category for Bluefin and launched in May of 2011) and could not bring myself to sand off all that gel coat (it’s thin enough as it is) to apply paint. I was looking for something faster and easier to apply and totally “green” and fast in the water. It’s all about speed down here; for fishing AND for fun. Anyway I sponge off the bottom two times in a three month season and then when I haul it in September I hose it and sponge it off and wash with a hose and the hull still looks like the day it popped out of the mold. Gonna put a small black boot stripe this year just for looks.

The other guys keep telling me to paint the bottom (they’re jealous. I’m fastest) but the VS721 is slippery and easy to clean and I feel it absolutely protects against osmotic blistering. No barrier coat and time, temp and humidity limit paint jobs. No poisons in the water. Nothing stays attached at the end of the season after haul out when I wet it down and sponge it off. I pressure washed it the first year but found that a regular hose and coarse sponge is way faster and, as I said, the hull looks like it just came out of the mold.

I know I’ve read on different forums that some people say it’s not a magic bullet or replacement for bottom paint. Well I’ve proved to myself that it is. The boat might sit for a week or two at a time if the weather’s no good for harpooning. I get a little green slime but it doesn’t slow me down at all and it’ll wipe off with a sponge or brush and of course some slides off when you’re steaming. I love the stuff and I’ll never go back to bottom paint.

Only problem down here is all the old traditional ways of doing things are hard to change. I was the first one in the harbor with a v-drive. Now there are four stick boats with integral v-drives in this harbor but it took 20 years for them to come around. Some guys are still painting over their gelcoat every year as if they still had wooden boats. Hopefully more people will use it. Very good thing for the environment for sure.

Click Here to Visit the Aurora Marine Shiny Boat Gallery to see a picture of Hank’s down east style boat rigged for Harpoon Fishing.

The Skipper Recommends:
More Info
More Info
More Info