Hallberg Rassy 38, teak deck replacement in Turkey, Part 1

Teak deck replacement in Turkey


Nadine – Teak deck replacement in Turkey, Part 1

Teak deck replacement
Hallberg Rassy 38 Nadine sitting at the dock

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.

Work begins

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 info@perfect-sailing.com

Teak deck replacement
Hallberg Rassy 38 Nadine sail removal

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.

Teak deck replacement
Old deck with sail track and filler removed

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.

Teak deck replacement
Nadine’s mast just clear of the deck
Teak deck replacement
Cant see the wood for the trees!
Teak deck replacement
nadine sat alongside the new Malabar feeling naked

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.

Teak deck replacement
Hallberg Rassy 38 Nadine sitting at the dock

Tent building

Nadine was then moved to her temporary new mooring whilst the work is completed. Erection of the sun protection tent began the next morning.

Teak deck replacement
Woodworkers start building the tent

Within a couple of hours the structure was complete.

Teak deck replacement
Deck tent to protect workers replacing teak decks.

All that was need now was the sun cover.

Teak deck replacement
Nadine’s deck tent completed. Radar arch now devoid of radar, solar panels, wind generator and antennas.

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.

Teak deck replacement
Teak deck well passed it’s best.

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.

Tomorrow removal of the old planks begins.