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Old 03-07-2010, 09:15 PM   #1
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Hi All,

I looked at a 1969 Cheoy Lee 28' today. It was on a trailer. The price was right and the hull looked good, no blisters. So I climbed the ladder and

saw dry, cracked and damaged teak decks. I want to buy a small blue water boat for my wife and I to travel on when we retire in 15+ years. A full

keel and small cockpit were nice to see on this boat but it has water damage to the interior wood and over 1000 holes in the top due to the teak.

So my question is can a 40 year old teak deck be made watertight for a "reasonable" amount of money. What if I tore off the teak and just covered

the deck with fiberglass? Maybe I should just buy a boat without all the extra deck holes.

Thanks,

Alan
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:33 PM   #2
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My opinion, for what it's worth.

I dislike teak decks. In the tropics they are too hot, I'm not very fond of the silvering appearance that teak owners claim is lovely - to me it just looks old and dirty.

Give me a white deck with molded-in non-skid - reflects all light so it stays cooler, easy to clean with a bucket and a brush and even salt water, no need for any strong chemicals. when the gelcoat gets told, you can sand it down and paint it, building in non-skid again.

I've watched people replace their teak, which I am sure would be necessary for that old Cheoy Lee. It's an enormous amount of work, expensive, and you get a result that is, IMO, inferior to a white fiberglass deck.

Did I tell you I don't like teak decks?

Now that I've gotten that rant out of the way, I'm not sure about the rest of your questions. Water damage, if from a leaky deck, might be a huge job in and of itself. A lot of teak decks don't have a true deck beneath them. What is under the teak? Foam or balsa core? You might find yourself having to completely rebuild the deck. Yechh! Do you really want to do that much work? Backyard project boats often sit in the backyard for decades. Buy a small boat you can get out and sail now. Have fun with. You don't even have to think about whether you'll still love it 5 or 10 years down the road.

I'm not opposed to buying a boat that needs a little TLC, but too much work and it is only that - work when you have so many other responsibilities to command you attention, and with the fun too far in the future.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:10 PM   #3
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Hi JeanneP,

Thanks for your opinion. I believe you are right.

I am going to wait for the right boat and not waste my time trying to make this boat the right one.

Besides my wife's closet is bigger than that 28' Cheoy Lee.

How do you spell mutiny?

Thanks,

Alan
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:09 AM   #4
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I'm with JeanneP, especially on an older boat.

I have visited the Cheoy Lee boat yard (when it was in Hong Kong) and I have owned a Cheoy Lee Clipper 33 with teak decks. It was built in '76 and was about 13 years old when I purchased her from the original owner. He had taken good care of her and she was maintained under a full cover during off seasons. I enjoyed her until '96 (20 years old).

Here it comes!! HOWEVER! The teak decks had been scrubbed and perhaps sanded to the point that the plugs were coming out of the screw holes. In other words, the deck thickness had been reduced to nearly the depth of the countersink. That wasn't the bad part, I moved the boat to the Pacific Northwest and soon was having problems with leaks in the lowest areas, near the scuppers. The water wasn't pooling or even puddling, just constantly damp and it was finding it's way thru the seams and screws and even remaining plugs. I don't think the original deck teak thickness was ever more than 1/2", maybe 5/8". (I know those teak "overlayed" cabin sides were only 3/8" thick.)

Here is what I found; The Cheoy Lees are built with a plywood cored deck and this core was absorbing water over the rainy season and would still drip into the lockers during the heat of the summer. Not just water but desolved glue (so much for water proof glue). Looked like pancake syrup. Difficut to locate the origin of the leaks since the water could travel between the teak and fiberglass deck, then along the plywood and then (again) the interior glass.

To the problem of older teak decks, in general. Complete removal and go with glass decks is the most common route. The only way you could afford replacement would be in the overseas boat yards and still they would cost more than the boat of that age.

Many glass boats with teak decks have a molded recess that the teak is set into. This means that you may not have a way for the water to clear overboard. This can be overcome wiht plumbed deck scuppers and leave the original freeing port for tha big boarding wave.

The Cheoy Lee teak decks were fastened down with small (M4X.7) metric machine screws, blind tapped thru the upper layer of glass and part way into the ply core. No matter how they are fastened you have to fill all of these holes. If the deck bedding compound will release without damaging the glass deck or you don't gouge it with tools, you glass work should be minimal. Just some gel coat repair and non skid.

I hope this puts it all into prospective.

Steve
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:10 AM   #5
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"To the problem of older teak decks, in general. Complete removal and go with glass decks is the most common route. The only way you could afford replacement would be in the overseas boat yards and still they would cost more than the boat of that age".

Having owned a 52' Roberts Fibreglass ketch with Teak decks this discussion brings all those days in blistering heat recaulking back

Unfortunately our teak decks were laid over ply and like most other ageing teak decks, either from sanding or scrubbing over the years, many of the plugs had been worn down and fallen out. The deck beneath was constantly wet and re caulking and plugging was a long, hot, dirty messy affair. The answer would have been to pull it all up, seal the ply and lay fibreglass over the deck and then lay new teak. Many friends have taken their vessels up to Indonesia and Malaysia to get this done at a fraction of what you would pay for in Oz although I have no idea of the quality of work carried out there.

Teak decks can come up a treat after a brightner and bleacher is washed over them but in the end - you live with blistered feet from the decks here in the tropics plus a never-ending mountain of upkeep - why would you bother?

Mind you, a couple of years later I did renovate a small trailer sailer and because a client owned the franchise for a cork 'teak look' decking kit (think it was called Teak Dek) I got a trailer load of offcuts as a swap for designing a website. It went down straight over the fibre deck with a caulking compound and came up a treat. It was easy to maintain and replace damaged sections and was both light and cool underfoot.

I notice many motor vessels now use this in the marina.

Fair winds
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:09 PM   #6
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Are they worth it? It depends.

I would not have a teak-over-plywood deck on my boat. No. If I did have a teak deck, I would do it properly/traditionally such that there was NO plywood under it. Even with fiberglass over the plywood, it is only a matter of time before the whole system leaks unless a labor intensive method of gluing down a thin deck using "temporary" fasteners w/washers is used (between each decking strip) and then the temporary fasteners are removed and the holes completely filled. That method of installing a deck shouldn't leak, but because the teak is thin, it won't last a long time either.

The deck is an important structural part of your sailboat. A weak deck means flex in the hull or pumping in the deck while under sail. That takes the wind force and turns it into needless structural fatigue rather than forward motion! Teak decks laid with NO plywood require a proper deckbeam/shelf/knee/stringer and carlin design as well as diagonal cross bracing (usually metal straps) designed into the deck. A "laid deck" --teak or other wood--will eventually leak and require re-caulking and seam compound from time-to-time. But at least if there is NO plywood under the deck it is quick (and easy) to find a leak and quickly caulk it before it does serious damage. Plywood hides the leaks until things are rotting away.

Our boat was originally built with 1-1/8" straight laid teak over 3/8" plywood. The plywood provided torsional rigidity to the deck. Eventually the caulked deck seams leaked, the plywood rotted, the previous owners' removed the plywood, the boat's sailing abilities degraded with the resulting deck/hull flex, the deck still leaked, they covered the whole thing with fiberglass which cracked and leaked because of the flexing of the deck. Ugh. Our boat eventually required a complete rebuild much of which stemmed from the leaks in the deck which were not properly taken care of.

When we rebuilt the deck, because it originally had a teak deck and for re-sale value, we seriously considered installing a 1-1/2" laid deck (Silver Bali or Teak) with proper diagonal strapping under it to provide the required torsional rigidity. In the end, we decided that we just didn't want the upkeep of a laid deck and instead we installed a lovely 3/4" straight laid Alaskan Yellow Cedar overhead with two sheets of 9 mm BS1088 Meranti plywood diagonally laid over the AYC and then "roofed" this structure with Metacrylic (an elastormeric roofing system similar to putting down fiberglass and resin but water-based and flexible) and finally put a traditional painted canvas over the Metacrylic for a traditonal anti-skid.

Knowing that people who like traditional boats (like ours) also really like the look of teak decks, we purposely milled and installed all deck hardware pads, deck lights, deckhouse, etc such that we have an extra 3/8" of thickness/height on them so we can put down a thin teak deck system if desired right before we'd put the boat on the market (at some distant future date). We absolutely have no desire for a hot and high maintenance teak deck. But some people do love the looks of it.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:49 AM   #7
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Great posts,

having had good well maintained (properly cleaned!) teak decks, also badly maintained ones, having helped a neighbour remove teak and the ply underlay from a 60ft Hartley. Can appreciate the negative reviews.

On the positive side :-

Have seen a Bruynzeel ply deck that was over 40 years old and as good as new.

Have seen ply decks that were epoxy saturated using the 3 coats of W.E.S.T epoxy, then covered with Dynal then covered with Kiaat (Mukwa).

My present deck choice would be W.E.S.T epoxied 3/4" AA - A Bruynzeel ply then top quality anti-UV white anti-slip.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
Great posts,

having had good well maintained (properly cleaned!) teak decks, also badly maintained ones, having helped a neighbour remove teak and the ply underlay from a 60ft Hartley. Can appreciate the negative reviews.

On the positive side :-

Have seen a Bruynzeel ply deck that was over 40 years old and as good as new.

Have seen ply decks that were epoxy saturated using the 3 coats of W.E.S.T epoxy, then covered with Dynal then covered with Kiaat (Mukwa).

My present deck choice would be W.E.S.T epoxied 3/4" AA - A Bruynzeel ply then top quality anti-UV white anti-slip.
I forgot to mention that we saturated the top sheet of 9mm BS1088 with Smiths Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) before doing the roofing system.

I thought long and hard about using WEST with Dynel (which is actually seems to just be a polyester-based material trade named Dynel by the fellow who owns Defender Marine, btw, but I digress...) but decided the Metacrylic was more suited to long-lasting flex than WEST epoxy. Another brand of epoxy called Systems3 has a more flexible epoxy available which we considered but I'd only really worked with WEST and didn't want to get into another epoxy system.

There have been some great painted OR canvased simple plywood decks which last and last--its just that that whole process of putting teak strips over the plywood seems to hold water in rot-prone method
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:05 AM   #9
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There have been some great painted OR canvased simple plywood decks which last and last--its just that that whole process of putting teak strips over the plywood seems to hold water in rot-prone method
Brenda, the worst I have seen was a stainless steel deck on a boat called 'Pegasus'. It was leaking, first they removed stanchions, then pad eyes, then traveller tracks, finally teak decks which revealed extraordinary pitting corrosion. Needless to say, teak was not replaced. The decks were painted with Epoxy, faired and finished off with anti-UV/ Anti-slip.

It must be characteristic of certain species of teak that absorb salt water and retain it.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:25 AM   #10
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Given the statement of pitting,

I wonder how much tannin is in teak wood or other organic acids. There are types of Oak that you do not put near iron or iron alloy's as the acid in it will eat away the metal over time. In the process discoloring the wood and weakening the area.

One of our item is to not have teak decks due to the required increase in maintenance. While they can be very beautiful there is enough other required up keep chores to not be adding to them. Don't get me wrong a boat has less up keep chores than a well maintained house does with the normal attachments of car and such.

But I try to keep an inventory of our house for many reasons.

No Teak is definitely not on the list of need to have or even want to have on the boat.

Michael
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP' date='07 March 2010 - 04:33 PM View Post

My opinion, for what it's worth.

I dislike teak decks. In the tropics they are too hot, I'm not very fond of the silvering appearance that teak owners claim is lovely - to me it just looks old and dirty.

Give me a white deck with molded-in non-skid - reflects all light so it stays cooler, easy to clean with a bucket and a brush and even salt water, no need for any strong chemicals. when the gelcoat gets told, you can sand it down and paint it, building in non-skid again.

I've watched people replace their teak, which I am sure would be necessary for that old Cheoy Lee. It's an enormous amount of work, expensive, and you get a result that is, IMO, inferior to a white fiberglass deck.

Did I tell you I don't like teak decks?

Now that I've gotten that rant out of the way, I'm not sure about the rest of your questions. Water damage, if from a leaky deck, might be a huge job in and of itself. A lot of teak decks don't have a true deck beneath them. What is under the teak? Foam or balsa core? You might find yourself having to completely rebuild the deck. Yechh! Do you really want to do that much work? Backyard project boats often sit in the backyard for decades. Buy a small boat you can get out and sail now. Have fun with. You don't even have to think about whether you'll still love it 5 or 10 years down the road.

I'm not opposed to buying a boat that needs a little TLC, but too much work and it is only that - work when you have so many other responsibilities to command you attention, and with the fun too far in the future.
I really appreciated this rant. I'm a wood guy myself for many things, but being land locked, clueless, and dreaming, this is great info. I enjoy working with wood, but the way you put it reminds me that I don't enjoy fixing wood quite as much.

One more piece of the puzzle in place. Thanks!

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