Teak Decks and Florida Sun

I just returned from sixteen days in the south Florida sun, fourteen of which were spent mostly on my knees working on recaulking and sanding the teak decks of a Viking 72 Sport Cruiser motor yacht.  It was a great escape from an unusually cold winter here in Mississippi, and the opportunity to do some hands-on work keeping my yacht carpentry skills sharp was refreshing.

I’ve done teak deck work, both repair and new installation off and on occasionally since 2001, when I first met David Halladay of Boatsmith, Inc. while cruising south Florida on my sailboat.  Before that, I’d been building boats since 1994 and doing custom residential carpentry even longer, finding it a great way to fund further adventures upon return from my long distance kayak trips.  I love the challenges of working with wood, and especially high-end woods like teak.  Doing any kind of work on yachts costing well in excess of a million dollars requires care and attention to detail, and I’ve missed boat work in general since selling the last boat I built in 2012.

The first photo below is a view of the stern of the Viking 72, showing the teak on the swim platform. There is also teak in the cockpit, on the side decks, the flybridge and all the steps leading between the various levels.  To do this job in fourteen days, I had a crew of five every day and somedays two to five extra helpers.  The work involved removing every inch of black caulking from the seams between the teak planks, sanding and cleaning the grooves, recaulking with pneumatic caulk guns and then sanding all the decks to new wood.  I will post a more detailed explanation of the process on my Scott’s Boat Pages blog.

Here is the finished result.  The teak will only stay this color for a few weeks before the subtropical sun bleaches it gray again.

I’ve always found woodwork and carpentry to be a good creative complement to writing. For the past year or two, I’ve been so bogged down in book contracts my tools have gathered dust.  This year I plan to find more of a balance between crafting with words and wood.  This job was a good place to start and the change of scenery, latitude and pace will surely be beneficial as I dive back into work on the current novel.

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