All ready for bed after an energetic day sailing and some good food at a local pub in Elk Rapids, Michigan. I found the little Ericson 25 surprisingly comfortable for her size though clearly she is no thirty plus footer.
If you are asking about the wood: We replaced all the original bulkheads and most of the wood interior which helped a lot with getting the smooth finish as I had new marine plywood or wood to start with. The original was rather grainy and rough. For the pieces we did not replace we sanded them down to bare wood and then did a bit of staining here and there to get them to match the darker mahogany of the new wood. Everything was sanded with 220 grit, then put down a 50% thinned layer of varnish with a high quality natural brush. We used Pettit's Captains Varnish and liked it, but varnish brand loyalty is something I would not quibble about, many companies make great products. After sealing we did 4 more coats with a brush, sanding in between. We never really figured out what the secret was as some layers went down like glass, and some not so much, and some horrible and had to be sanded off. All with what we thought was the same technique, temperature, humidity, etc.
That said, if I had to do it over again I would have used all the manufacturers products for each step even with the higher cost. I did a few other pieces where I started with the Pettit Wood Sealer, and then used the Pettit Brushing Thinner for both thinning with each coat and as a cleaner between coats. I had much better consistency and results that way then doing it old school with mineral spirits. Also, I would stick with quart cans. Once opened it seems like it starts changing properties whether sealed back up or not and it is good to use up a small can and then open a fresh one rather than work off of a big can for weeks.
Remember too that although the bulkheads look great, if you get up next to them and start examining them closely you will see little bubbles, a few hairs, some lumps...... They look great, but they did not come out perfect like a coffee table. Which is fine for us, as the first time out stuff got tossed on the the bunk and bounced off the bulkhead..... gear rolled around...... my buddies gear bag hit every one on the way to stowage in the forepeak..... and it was no worries because it wasn't a coffee table.