How to make an older Scot pretty again


I just recently purchased an older Scot. It's in great shape, but the deck is highly oxidized and the rest is dulled from exposure. I plan on deoxidizing it and polishing/waxing it up. But I think it might need something more permanent. Anything to know before embarking on a journey to paint the boat? How much does it cost to paint a Scot? Who does that kind of work? Does it last? Is there another solution that is preferred? New Gel Coat is probably preferred, but it seems very expensive...


Based on advice gleaned from here and other web resources, I just finished sprucing up my 1983 Scot, which sorely needed the attention. Before getting into painting (which I personally wouldn't try, based on what I've read ... but other folks here have done patient, brilliant jobs of it), you might be surprised by how much you can improve the appearance by compounding and polishing.

I removed the non-skid tape on the decks (see other thread here), some of the hardware (see another thread here) and went to work with a polisher/sander. Don't scrimp here ... I tried this with a plastic $40 hardware store appliance I won't name, and got nowhere. I spent $200+ on a variable-speed DeWalt, but there are also excellent tools made by Makita and others. Buy or rent a good one.

Anyway, with the DeWalt, a course wool bonnet and 3M Heavy-Duty Compound, I was amazed at the immediate results ... HUGE difference,quick, and not hard to do even for an un-handy knucklehead like me. The deck went quickly, but my 60-year-old shoulders didn't like working on the hull for more than 30 minutes or so.

Then I went over the whole thing again with a fine wool bonnet and 3M Finesse finishing polish. Personally, I don't know that I would do that again. After the huge difference the compounding made, the extra 5% of the polish didn't do that much more to improve appearance. Your mileage may vary ... like I said, I'm a knucklehead, and I may not have mastered the product or the technique.

I sanded down and then repainted the boot stripe (see other thread here). Then I used Collinite wax on the hull. I applied it by hand with a foam applicator and buffed it out by hand with microfiber cloths. Looked pretty great, but I could see swirl marks from the applicator pad when I looked close, so I sprung for another fine wool bonnet and hit it again with the DeWalt. THAT made a huge difference. It's about as reflective as I would have wanted, and feels like glass when you run your fingernails over it.

Based on advice from another thread here, I did NOT wax the deck for fear of making it slippery.

I polished up the boom and mast with a Miracle Cloth (this was quick and easy, and made quite a difference, although there are aluminum polishing products that would have done a more thorough job.) I applied new non-skid tape from Flying Scot. Now, I'm just waiting for new custom-cut vinyl lettering and boat registration numbers to arrive, and Poltergeist will be getting ooohs and aaaahs at the launch ramp.

It was a worthwile and relatively simple winter garage project. I wish I'd tracked the time involved and could advise you there, but it wasn't awful, by any means. I really think the key is a good polisher/sander, because there are plenty of other acceptable compounding and polishing products you can choose from.

Have fun. But be aware ... my trailer now looks REALLY dodgy by comparison. :-)


I refurbished FS381. The hull had quite a few dings and such so after patching it, it needed to be painted. I really didn't have the $ to have it re-gelled so painting was my only option. I used white Interlux one part poly paint. She came out gorgeous! I used a sponge roller and it self-leveled beautifully. I rolled on the red boot strap and painted the bottom with blue anti-fouling paint. Now my 45+ year old FS381m "In The Air", looks beautiful and is just as competitive as a brand new FS. It's definately worth all the work. Good luck.

BA Smith

Some weeks ago, in response to one of my queries, Bonnie sent me before and after photos of her work. She's one of the people I had in mind when I said "patient and brilliant" above. Her boat looks gorgeous.

So, Graham, the hard choice become how much work and which kind you're up for. But the results either way are worth it.


Hi Kurt,

Thank you so much for the kind words.

BA Smith

For what it is worth, I am in the process of repairing the centerboard, some deck balsa and repainting the entire boat - VC Performance below the waterline & Brightsides on topsides.
You can follow the progress on my blog:

Past experience with Brightside polyurethane in Florida is that it will be oxidizing within 2 years. Lighter colors are better and darker colors fade quickly. If you are far enough North where UV is less it might be a better choice. I will say that when you first apply brightside it looks very nice and glossy, but it is surprising how fast it breaks down.

Two part poly's will hold up much longer.

PS Savage this link about centerboard repair may be helpful;