OrPine Wash & Wax
A couple of months ago, after completing a sea trial on a big yacht that fairly glistened in the sun, I asked the captain, “Hey Frank, whataya use for soap? To keep your boat lookin’ like she does, I mean?”
“Orpine Wash & Wax,” he replied with a grin and more than a little pride. “Been using it for quite a long time too.”
Now, I was familiar with plain Orpine boat soap at the time. But I was not familiar with the Wash & Wax version so, as soon as I got home, I stopped by my local West Marine store, bought some W&W, tried it out, and have been using it ever since with great success. Not only does the product leave a very thin film of après-wash wax on gelcoat, it makes gelcoat look extra-shiny and clean. Moreover, it almost effortlessly removes black streaks and at least some (but unfortunately not all) spider-related stains without damaging anything underneath, like the wax you laboriously apply and buff once or twice a year.
I offer two caveats, though. First, make sure you use the W&W in the proportions that are recommended on the bottle—overdoing the soap-to-water concentration will leave a yellowish soap residue behind even after a good rinse and getting the stuff off is a serious pain in the transom. And second, if you have teak decks like I do, rinse them thoroughly after using Orpine Wash & Wax. No sense risking a slippery, waxy buildup.