“Walking towards the yacht, you notice her oiled teak decks ”, or so said the line from the ad on Rendezvous Charters’ website anyways, the sad reality was that sure, once upon a time the teak decks were…. But now the seams had come open, fastener heads were showing everywhere, and the rain had been comin on in! So, the first thing to do was to peel off the teak and see if the surveyor was right in his guess that there would be a reasonable amount of damage to the deck below the teak, or if I would get lucky!
I started out trying to remove the screws first, then the plank by way of cold chisel, pry bar and hammer! This worked for a while, but got old real quick… with a screw every 10” along the 3” wide strip of teak, it would take me forever to take up the entire 500 sq ft deck! So I skipped the taking out of the screws and just started tearing it up with the pry bar.
I had no idea when the teak was installed, could have been new, but was most likely during Sea Raven’s extensive refit sometime around 1990, so far as I can tell from the drawings that came with her. Whoever had put it down had done a great job, the deck was made of ply, which was covered in a thick layer of epoxy and then fibreglass, followed by more epoxy which was used to bed down the teak, up until this point they had it sorted! Then some rocket scientist figured it would be a great idea to screw through the entire sandwich of material and create a potential water entry point and literally thousands of leaks. Admittedly I’m no expert on teak deck installations, only the de-installation, so this may well be the way its done, all I do know is that screws or not, that teak put up a fight before it came off the deck, taking most of the glass and epoxy with it.
With that done, it was time to drop the stick, well sticks, being ketch rigged. The crane was bought along side, and the line secured around the main mast, with tension on it, all 11 pieces of standing rigging holding the main mast up were released and the deck step undone from below. I guess the guys at Napa had done it before, I won’t say they made it look easy, it’s a 60 foot mast starting at least 10 feet above the ground, but they made it look like they knew what they were up to! After the main was down and laid on the trailer to move, the mizzen was next, less standing rigging, only 8 stays/shrouds on that one, but with the stainless dodger in the way it took a couple of attempts to get it out. While the crane was there I also got them to haul the 8kw diesel generator out from under the foredeck, alotta weight and a lot more power than I would ever need on board, well hopefully anyway.
I thought all that would be the hard part! HA! Then the sanding begun!
Initially it was just the remnants of epoxy and glass, smoothing out the edges and making it look a little smoother. At that point I stood back and took in the damage, surprisingly, hardly any. The cut out that was over the huge diesel generator needed to be replace, no big deal and another square was added where I had to cut out the old windlass that had frozen itself to the deck and the only other problem area was a small section of one of the bows, pretty lucky over all considering the state of the decks to begin with. So with the patches in and the dry Napa air working its magic on the damp spots, I got back to sanding, and sanding and sanding some more! In order to re-glass the decks, they need to be as close to fair as my sanity would allow them to get, which turned out to be pretty close! With a lot of patience, a set of headphones and a grinder with a sanding disc attached I was at it for a good couple of weeks, occasionally mixing it up a little by adding some filler here and there, and doing the rounds of the work yard, seeing how other guys and gals were doing on there projects, offering each other a welcome distraction for a few minutes, and a shoulder to cry on if needed. To be honest, the yard was maybe the most enjoyable part, it got so it was impossible to walk from the store to the boat without running into someone and losing half an hour talking boat in some form or another. Add to that the fact we were right inside the gate so that everyone who came in or out had to go right by us, and lets face it, we don’t exactly blend in, we met plenty of curious, nosy and helpful people over the year or so we were there. Some wanted to know about the boat, others about us, and the odd one just had to share their opinion about what we were doing and why we should be doing it their way… the old saying, “opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one”, rings truer in a boat yard than most places!