New Teak Decking for a Westerly Conway by Geofrey Mills

Back in 2005, one of the decisions I had to make during the refurbishment of my Conway, Weohgi was what to do with the decks and coachroof. Originally it had blue Treadmaster which was past its prime. I decided that had to come off so the options were to replace the Treadmaster, to paint it or to remove it and finish with an artificial or real teak. The first two options were ruled out when we found that, on removal of the old material, the deck was not flat but had been bowed slightly, but visibly around the shroud fixings.

The shroud fastenings (“U” bolts) were replaced as a precaution and in fact some of them were found to have corroded in the between-deck area through. I guess this was crevice corrosion although they looked perfect above and below decks. Similarly, the coach roof grab rail fixings were found to be corroded – and in fact, were brass! Presumably it was one of the boats that Westerly sold for home completion when times were tough.

The bow roller came off as I wanted to fit an electric windlass and a self-stowing anchor. For this, I needed an extended bow roller to allow the anchor to be stowed without hitting the topsides on the way up. Thus, I had a completely ‘fitting-free’ deck to work on.

The undulations in the deck were made good with expoxy which extended over the gel-coated area and not just the area that had carried the Treadmaster. That then precluded painting or re-applying the rubber coating unless I re- gel coated the epoxied areas. Hence, I needed a new surface that would cover everything.

At the time, the artificial teak was not that much cheaper (in relation to the total installed cost) of real teak and so I went for real teak. That was duly fitted without permanent fastenings but temporary fastenings were used in the gap between planks with those holes then filled with epoxy before the gaps were caulked.

I have subsequently (with my son’s Rustler 36) found that similar deck undulations could be more easily be bridged, with strips of timber under the planking to keep the planking even (in my view a bodge job). This did leave gaps beneath the beneath the planking with the inevitable risk of delamination – which my son is now having to deal with. So a real problem in commissioning a new deck – without being there to watch the complete process there has to be a large degree of trust and a bodge job is unlikely to show up in any reasonable “warranty” period.

Weohgi was built in 1978 and, even though the teak decks were laid in 2005, they are still in perfect condition. So, I’m very happy with the decisions made at the time. I treat the decking annually with two coats of Boracol which keeps them a nice silver and prevents mould growth. I apply this with a garden spray on a damp deck. The whole operation takes about one hour.