Keep it simple Page 2

The decks on Horizon, our Hans Christian 38, are 20 years old and have seen the full spectrum of weather conditions—cold and rain for weeks on end in Alaska and constant sun and heat in the tropics. No matter where we are, our maintenance strategy is the same: keep it simple and keep it silver. As with anything boat-related, proper maintenance now is always much easier than an extensive
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Replacing the caulking between the deck planks is not a major project if the deck is well maintained. Often just a small section of caulking will fail. Begin by removing the old caulking and cleaning the area carefully; tape the deck surface and apply new caulking. We use Teakdecking Systems SIS 440 polysulphide compound.

There are many products designed to preserve teak and keep it from turning silver. In our experience, some solutions make the deck slippery (which is not good for safety) or they discolor the wood. If nothing else, preservatives cost money. Once a preservative is applied and you decide you don’t like it, you have just two choices—either you remove it (which means lots of sanding or using a harsh chemical remover) or you live with it until it wears off naturally. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for these products, but you should know what you are getting into.

Warm weather presents a great opportunity for inspecting your deck. If your deck has bungs check their condition. And if it will help the deck’s appearance, a little sanding never hurts, unless you have a modern deck with a thin overlay. Once your tune up is complete, a regular washing routine of the sort I’ve described will go a long way towards keeping your deck in top shape all year.

Suggested reading:

Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood, By Rebecca Wittman International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press

The Brightwork Companion: Tried-and-True Methods and Strongly Held Opinions in Thirteen and One-half Chapters, By Rebecca Whitman, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press

Marci and Joseph Paravia have sailed more than 30,000 miles aboard Horizon. Now in their home port of San Diego, they are preparing to set out on another Pacific adventure.

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