We’re getting very close to ending the first phase of the re-decking of our lovely Hallberg Rassy 38 ‘Nadine’. This is the ‘teak deck photo update 2’, all the teak has been laid, and just a light sand and clean out of all the slots and she’ll be ready for the next phase.
Next we prime the slots with an adhesion promoting clear primer, followed by application of the black caulk. These two jobs will take a full day. We are now at day 22 of the project, still a long way to go.
With just a few days to go before the woodwork on the deck is complete, I thought you might like to see the latest photographs in this “teak deck photo update”. Most photos are self explanatory, especially when referenced to earlier posts.
In the next few days, the woodwork will be finished and a final clean up before caulking will take place. Hopefully we’ll catch the moment before they start caulking the decks. Once the caulk is laid, there’ll be no walking onboard for ten days until it has cured.
Here is a video walk around I did this morning. Just the anchor lid and lazarette hatch to finish then the big clean up. I expect caulking will begin tomorrow. Exciting stuff!
Final preparations are being made before laying new teak deck. Today we will look at:
Countersinking holes and epoxy
Sanding prior to laying teak.
Laying the first planks
Once all the old fixing holes have been countersunk they will be filled with epoxy to seal the deck.
There were many hundreds of old holes that were epoxy filled to provide a watertight new deck. The old deck didn’t actually leak which is a testament to the quality of the work done by Hallberg Rassy 33 years ago. The new deck will be held in place by Sikaflex 298 adhesive, which has become the norm in recent years.
The photos of the deck being laid disguises the amount of actual work involved. There are five carpenters working every day. The process is completely hand made, except now of course electric hand tools are used. The carpenters will take up to four weeks to craft the new deck plus two weeks for the caulking to dry, we’ll come to that later.
The first part of laying the new planks is the outside edge of the deck. here a 60mm wide plank 5 metres long is used. The outside planks are made as long as possible to provide a secure base for subsequent planks which will be 35mm wide, as per the previous deck. The inside edge is also being worked on at the same time, which will also have a 60mm wide plank.
The first plank is laid and then cramped in position by short lengths of wood screwed into the deck. These holes will have to be filled again, part of what makes it laborious I suppose. Later they will be glued into place.
Another ingenious and ancient clamping method is the wedge. Two triangular wedges are placed facing each other. Pressure is then applied by hammer to increase the overall thickness of the wedge, producing a consistent clamping force that needs no glue to hold it in place.
It takes about 12 hours for the deck adhesive to cure. The following morning any adhesive that has squeezed out is removed with a chisel ready for the next plank to be laid.
As few parts of a yacht have straight lines, most pieces of the deck will be hand crafted by eye. I watched this corner being cut from a straight, wide teak board and then sanded for a perfect fit. It took more than half an hour for just this piece.
Corners and other shaped areas have their positions marked as the basis for the whole design. Small blocks are glued to the surface which will keep them in position, (which can be easily removed with a sharp hammer blow) until they are ready to be glued down.
Finally the corner is complete. Straight lengths are now prepared to run along the length of the deck.
Slowly the outside edge is completed, each piece very carefully shaped. It seems very slow to watch but hugely reassuring that we will get a perfect looking deck. Any piece that is not right cannot simply be removed and replaced as like a jigsaw every other piece is based on this. If you were building a wall with bricks, any flaw would get magnified as the wall developed.
In part four we will see more of the specially shaped pieces being crafted and the first of the narrow planks being laid alongside the wide outer planks. We will also meet another very useful but heavy device.
Remove old silicon which was sandwiched between the planks and the deck.
Countersink the holes where the screws had previously held down the old deck.
Sand the surface ready for the application of a layer of epoxy resin prior to laying the new deck.
You can see the hatch has not been disturbed as it sits directly on the GRP deck. The two holes at the front of the foredeck is for the windlass. The front hole is so chain can drop into the chain locker at the front. The rearward hole is for the shaft of the windlass. On Hallberg Rassys the motor is mounted in the front cabin behind the bulkhead which keeps it dry and corrosion free.
The side deck and one of the six mast mounting tangs. This is simply a square hole cut in the deck, filled with bitumen mastic.
Foredeck looking aft, you can more clearly see the mast mounting tangs. Later the handholds will be removed as these are being replaced as well.
The aft lazarette hatch looks terrible, but will clean up nicely. Its largely covered in old silicon sealant.
The temporary cover to protect the four carpenters can easily be seen here. Mostly they leave the sides up for ventilation, but it can be dropped quickly as the sun drops or they are sanding which might blow on to another yacht.
Nadine sits quietly at the end of the day, naked without her old deck, but eagerly awaiting her new teak deck which begins tomorrow.
Most of our client’s and our charter fleets owners know the passion we have for our Hallberg Rassy 38 yacht and home, Nadine. We have lived onboard this lovely vessel for more than 10 year’s and still have no desire to go land based anytime soon. If we get fed up with the view of our back garden, we go find another!
When we bought Nadine in 2004, she was in generally good order, and we spent a substantial amount (more than 25% of the purchase price) renewing, improving and upgrading her systems for our life aboard. This proved a sound investment as we have had few problems over the years. Several items were serviced but were not replaced as they had a long life remaining. Time finally caught up with these, so we have changed the engine and now begins the teak decks replacement.
Teak deck replacement and maintenance
Maintenance and upgrades are an ongoing part of owning a yacht. Here is a concise list of major works we’ve undertaken in the last ten years. Praise has to be given to Perfect Sailing’s two engineers Huseyin & Ahmet for their care, skill and professionalism for much of this work. We do use outside contractors for certain items (like the teak deck replacement) but this is built upon our core teams expertise.
Two years ago we replaced the ageing Volvo MD21 with a new Beta 50 and four blade feathering prop from Darglow Engineering. Nadine is now faster and has more torque in big head seas, wish we had done it years ago!
After purchase we fitted an ‘in boom’ mainsail reefing system, which we were unhappy with almost as soon as we had installed it. It simply didn’t work as it should have.
Last autumn we extensively modified this ‘in-boom’ system, converting it to a conventional slab reef system with new mainsail. Now, at last it works as a mainsail should, easy to set, reef and stow, no matter what the weather.
We renewed and upgraded much of our two fridge systems this spring, now working well with no pump motors to fail in the future, as they were replaced by keel coolers.
All internal upholstery was recovered last year
New bimini and side curtains, better quality materials used.
Not really maintenance, we upgraded our cruising chute to a ‘top down furler’ system which has massively improved it’s usability and safety in use.
Substantially altered the pushpits, transom swim ladder location and passarelle connection. In part to suit the ‘Monitor windvane‘ steering system we had mounted on the transom.
Following a lightning strike about six years ago we also replaced many of the yacht’s electrical system including:
Mains battery charger & 2000w inverter.
Autopliot system (electronics only).
Alternator & smart charge controller.
Solar panel regulator.
The only item remaining which we knew would eventually need replacement was the teak decks. Teak deck replacement is a major undertaking, even more than changing the engine. Work started this week on the decks which will take around six weeks to complete. This blog section will diarise the teak deck replacement as it advances. If you have any questions on any part of this process, please feel free to comment or email email@example.com
The process started a couple of weeks ago, by moving out! We removed almost all of our personal possessions and general boat stuff. This was followed by bimini, spray hood and sails removal.
Head-linings had to be dropped to allow access to the nuts holding various deck fittings which had to be removed before the old deck can be removed.
Off with the mast!
Once the major items were removed, next was the mast and boom. We moved Nadine 75 metres to a place where the crane could get reasonable access. This was a slightly worry part of the process as the crane operator chose to not avoid the small trees but dropped his jib through the tree which required subsequent removal of some branches. Sadly in my view this was avoidable. I suppose trees grow so quickly here it won’t actually matter, but.
Next was to remove the last deck items. The radar arch was stripped of radar, wind generator, and solar panels. Various antennas were most awkward as their cables traced their way through to the centre of the boat, so took some time to remove.
Nadine was then moved to her temporary new mooring whilst the work is completed. Erection of the sun protection tent began the next morning.
Within a couple of hours the structure was complete.
All that was need now was the sun cover.
So why did the deck need replacement? General use shouldn’t have a big impact on a good quality teak deck.
Premature teak deck replacement results from aggressive cleaning using brushes or worse a high pressure washer. This will pare away the structure of the wood leaving a rough surface and little gullies where the soft grain lifts off. This can easily been witnessed on Nadine, but they are other general tell tale signs. The screws that hold the planks down will lose the wooden plugs inserted to hide the screws, the black mastic which is laid in the gaps between the planks will protrude (as the deck itself recedes). The mastic will then get caught underfoot and start to remove itself from the slots.
If you are intending to purchase a yacht with teak decks, check how proud the fittings are above the deck to calculate how much deck has disappeared. The excess proud caulking from a worn out deck is often pared back with a flat knife, so don’t trust the appearance of the deck caulking. Despite renewal of the deck caulking, inevitably teak deck replacement will be required, which is where we are today.
Our previous HR312 had almost perfect decks where only gentle washing and spending winters in a shed had protected her. The correct way to clean a teak deck is by washing with a sponge across the grain.
You can see in the photo above where the screws have been exposed by missing plugs and failure of the deck caulking because there is so little teak left. What started as 12mm is now down to 6mm, leaving the caulking channels only 2mm deep in places. Teak deck replacement was inevitable and the best solution.
Why Turkey, not Thailand?
Thailand is probably the best known place in the world for this type of work as the raw materials are so close by and labour is very competitive. Few parts of the world still have the raw woodworking skills in these days of machinery and automation to tackle such work effectively. Turkey is one of those places.For example, Turkey was chosen as the venue to build the Nina, Pinta & Santa Maria, for the TV series.
As Perfect sailing is based in Turkey, with the skills and reasonable labour rates. It therefore made good economic sense to do it here, especially as 2016 has been a quiet year for charter.