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post #1 of 35 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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40 yr old teak decks

I always told myself I'd never consider a boat with teak decks. Now a boat has come on the market I'm interested in. It's nearing 40 years old, a Bob Perry design, 45ish ft LOA. Its priced well below market value. It looks to be well maintained and the owner says the decks have no leaks. Being that I'm 2000 miles away it would probably cost me $3,000 to see it; haul out, survey, flight, hotel, car rental, etc.

Even if the teak is at the end of its life it would leave me enough money to sail it to Mexico (boat is on the California coast) where I could have the teak replaced or simply removed and fiberglassed over for a reasonable price. Let's say $10k US

So my question is would the teak decks make this an automatic no or would you consider it?
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post #2 of 35 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

As someone who owns a 40-year-old teak decked boat I would not make this an automatic no. BUT, I would not necessarily take the sellers word for it. If these are original decks it would be something approaching a miracle if they had zero problems.

But if this a well designed and well built boat, a leak is not the end of the world. It just has to be dealt with.

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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

I think your estimate of the cost to remove and glass over the deck is very much on the low side. Some teak decks can be very hard to remove due to strong adhesive, broken screws and so on. And the level of detail required to re surface the decks can surprise you. I recently fixed teak cap and rub rails on Island Packet 35 and it gave me a sobering view of teak decks in general. Not a deal breaker IMO but a serious cost factor. I would tentatively double your estimate.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
I think your estimate of the cost to remove and glass over the deck is very much on the low side. Some teak decks can be very hard to remove due to strong adhesive, broken screws and so on. And the level of detail required to re surface the decks can surprise you. I recently fixed teak cap and rub rails on Island Packet 35 and it gave me a sobering view of teak decks in general. Not a deal breaker IMO but a serious cost factor. I would tentatively double your estimate.
Thanks for the replies so far. So I have a friend with a Baba 40 and he had his teak taken off and decks fiberglassed for $7k. That was in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. He was very happy with the work. That's what I'm basing my estimate on. You could very well be right though.

Of course the common saying for any boat project is double the budget and triple the time.
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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

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Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
So I have a friend with a Baba 40 and he had his teak taken off and decks fiberglassed for $7k. That was in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. He was very happy with the work. That's what I'm basing my estimate on. You could very well be right though.

Of course the common saying for any boat project is double the budget and triple the time.
Sometimes you get lucky but itís hard to count on that. Best approach would be to get an actual quote from a local company. Which of course we know that can be hard to get. But you definitely have a point of reference.

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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

In 15 years of cruising, I have seen several boats with old, failing teak decks and I have seen the disasters that can lurk beneath the teak due to 20-30 years of leaks:

Rotted deck cores, plywood or balsa,
Chainplates that crumble because of crevice corrosion,
Internal bulkheads, that support chainplates, rotted out.

Keeping a mast vertical when a chainplate goes and you are out in a storm can be challenging.

Usually, there is a reason that a boat is priced well below market!

Good luck, you might need it! The only way to know is to go and see!

Last edited by Yorksailor; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:31 AM.
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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

I love teak decks, if it werenít for the cost and maintenance.

There are love them and hate them folks out there. Not unlike an inground pool. Something to consider is whether any of those boats were made without teak decks. If not, yours could look bastardized.

Replacing with non-skid is no easy endeavor. Removing all the glue, caulking, screws and ultimately refinishing the glass to be smooth is time consuming. Iíve seen a poor job of this and it really looks bad.

If you had to replace, Iíd consider Teak Deck Systems. You send a pattern, they send you a deck. But thereís still way more to it.


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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

The OP didnít mention the brand of the boat. Iíve got a 1982 Norseman 447 with teak decks. The deck is arriving to the point where something serious is going to be required. In terms of deck leaks, the only ones after 20 years of ownership have been around the chain plates where the original installers left the core open.

Getting rid of the teak decks is a bigger job than it looks like. I just ripped up the teak on the seat area of the cockpit. It was a very small area, no more than 7í x 8í outside dimensions with a seat maybe 16Ē wide. I could do it all sitting down, not kneeling. It took two days to get all the old teak off with a circular saw and a big chisel. Another day to get out all the screws. Another day to drill out all the screw holes and fill with epoxy. Another two days to sand, smooth and finish with gel coat.

Thatís just the cockpit seat, a small area of maybe 30 square feet with excellent access and easy working conditions.

To do the same thing on the actual deck would first involve taking off all the overhead panels in the cabin, which is a big, inconvenient job. Then you remove everything thatís set down on the deck: cleats, winches, tracks, windlass, etc. Each of those can be a challenge because in my case then weíre all attached to the deck before any of the interior was installed. So often the nuts and any backing plates are now blocked with bulkhead, electrical wiring, etc. I could imagine at least a weeks work just getting all the liners down. Youíd have to label them and get them all off the boat to have any space to work.

Once everything is off the deck, youíll have to get all of the teak removed while youíre on you knees. Then drilling, filling and sanding all the holes in the entire deck. I did this once on a 41í boat and stopped counting at 4000 holes. This assumes you had nothing else like a leak somewhere to fix.

Then you need to figure out what youíre going to put back down. Will you use the old stanchion bases? Are all the fittings, tracks, blocks, etc. still usable? Should you reengineer the backing plates.

Then you have to refinish the deck. Painting with anti skid is probably the cheapest way, but takes a lot of labor to sand and mask. A synthetic surface is probably easier but costs maybe $30/square foot before installation.

Then you reinstall everything on the deck.

Then you reinstall all the interior panels.

If you can get that done for $10k, Iíd like to know where.
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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

We came very close to buying a Peterson 46 with the original teak decks.

I was pretty paranoid and went to the effort of bringing a good friend who is an experienced shipwright along with me and doing a thorough assessment of the state of the decks. Bottomline they weren't leaking and while cosmetically they weren't an amazing asset to the boat, they were still alright. There is I guess though that thought that one day, some day, sooner than later you do have to do something about them.

However aren't boats in general just basically all made up of several bits that are leaking, failing, corroding ticking timebombs? I guess Teak Decks are just one more thing and many folks don't wanna bother.

So why didn't we buy the Peterson? Turns out while I was being paranoid and pondering my offer, a guy came along and offered the seller 10k less than I would of and bought the boat out from under me. He has replaced a couple of teak plugs and went sailing.

So no for me not a deal breaker. Go into it with your eyes open and have a plan. It sounds like you are and you do. Best of luck.
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Re: 40 yr old teak decks

teak decks can and do leak when they age... and a new laid teak deck is very spendy.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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