Season preparation and boat maintenance – woodwork


Clearly lacquered wooden parts – these are often masts and spars, superstructures and cockpit coaming, or the “fish”, ie the lacquered middle plank of a teak deck – should be sanded and lacquered once a year. At least if the paint is still OK.

Once it turns yellow and comes up, i.e. moisture has formed under the paint, or the wood under the paint even turns black, then you have to deal with it carefully. That means sanding down to the raw wood – if possible, do not damage the wood itself and only sand along the grain! – and build up around seven to ten layers of paint. Before the first painting, the wood must be cleaned as well as possible, there should be no more sanding dust or other dirt on the surface to be painted. It is best to wipe clean with a dampening thinner or turpentine, then allow to dry.

Correct dilution

Smaller areas in particular should be painted with a classic one-component paint such as that offered by Epifanes. Apply the first coats of lacquer thickly, i.e. up to 50 percent, with thinner or turpentine, the last coats completely undiluted, with less and less dilution in between. Two to three (thinned) coats can be painted “wet on wet” without having to sand in between.

Lick noses & holidays

After the first two to three coats, the paint must first harden and only be lightly sanded before the next coat. Initially with a 240 paper, later with ever finer grain. Apply the lacquer carefully and evenly and spread it crosswise so that neither “leaks” or “holidays” occur – the latter are stains with no or too little lacquer. One-component paint can be easily applied with a brush, especially on smaller, angled surfaces. So a certain amount of effort that can be avoided or at least delayed by always keeping all painted parts “in good paint”, as I said at the beginning!

A pinch of color pigments

By the way: mahogany will fade a bit over time and lose its beautiful, reddish color. This can be counteracted by adding a pinch of color pigments to the clear lacquer, which are available for this very purpose. You could of course stain the wood, but to do this you would have to peel off all of the varnish except for the raw wood. In any case, you should start coloring carefully and happily at a not so prominent place.

Maintenance of the teak deck

Teak care products & oils

Teak decks also change color because they weather and turn gray over time. This is completely natural and normal and looks very nice too. However, if you prefer a honey-yellow teak deck, you have to put a lot of effort into it. There are teak care products and oils that are supposed to help maintain this fresh color. However, the teak can lose its natural slip resistance, especially when it is wet.

Much doesn’t help much

In this case, it can be better to just do nothing! Because a teak deck actually needs little or no maintenance. Too much care can even be harmful here: intensive scrubbing with hard brushes ensures that the softer areas in the wood are removed faster than the hard ones, which in turn results in a wavy surface. Because where the annual rings are further apart, the wood is softer than where they are close together.

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Fight the mold

However, air pollution in Europe in particular ensures that decks, especially when the ships are little moved (and the decks are rarely walked on), look stained or simply dirty after a while. Washing with a lot of salt water (!) Helps a lot, but fresh water is less good for the deck. There are various teak cleaners on the market for heavily soiled or moldy decks, Bocarol in particular has proven itself. This liquid is simply applied to the dry deck. You can then wait for the rain or, better, sea water to wash it off while sailing, or you can do this yourself after a few days.


By the way, the popular high-pressure jet is an absolute no-go when cleaning teak. With this you will definitely break every teak deck within a short time! As a preventive measure against air pollution, you can cover your ship with a tarpaulin if it is in port for a long time. In inland waters, even moss can settle on the teak over time, but this does not happen on the sea – provided the deck is regularly flushed with salt water.

From the right time

More important than such cosmetic problems is the tightness of the teak deck. If the rubber dissolves in the joints or the wooden plugs fall off the screw heads and they then maybe even rust, you urgently need to do something and renovate the deck. Most teak decks are either laid on plywood (in wooden boats) or on a GRP sandwich laminate (in GRP yachts) and once water penetrates between the teck and the “carrier deck” below it becomes really uncomfortable. It is always better to repair the teak in good time. But that’s another topic…

Care of the interior

Moisture & condensation

The furnishings below deck suffer and wear less than the wood outside, as it is neither exposed to direct UV radiation nor, hopefully, to moisture. Mechanical damage such as scratches or dents as a result of impacts are more likely to occur here. And especially if you like to extend the season into autumn, maybe even sail through the winter or store your ship incorrectly for the winter, you will soon find yourself plagued by mold growth below deck. Moisture, which is mainly caused by condensation in the interior at the well-known “cold bridges” – that is, in those areas of the outer skin that are not or insufficiently insulated, often in cupboards and closets – in connection with stagnant air inevitably leads to the blooming of the mold.

Ventilation and heating are the preventive antidotes here. But even on a well-stored ship, a moldy coating can also settle on the wooden surfaces. If this is not too strong in spring, it can be easily removed with a furniture polish for wooden furniture, for example “Poliboy”. Scratched or sun-bleached wooden surfaces below deck can also be easily restored with such a very simple furniture polish. Simply apply with a soft cloth and polish shortly afterwards with a dry cloth. You can repeat this as often as you like, even during the season.

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