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Old 24-02-2014, 10:02   #1
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When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

Howdy folks,

My wife and I will likely be purchasing an older mid-40ft offshore competent cruiser in the next couple years. That being said one of the things we know we don't want to a "leaky teaky" so my really general and open ended question is when did the majority of quality builders move away from teak decks? I'm sure most made the decision at varying times and am just curious if there is a general rule of thumb I can use when searching for boats from HR, Hylas, Oyster, Swan, Shannon, Pacific Seacraft, IP, Pearson etc...

At this point I'm less focused on a specific builder and more curious about how to help narrow the search criteria by eliminating teak decks. It seems like most of the mid-80 and early 90s boats had teack decks, just curious when that began to change. Not sure there's an easy way to do that for everyone in a single search but am hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

Thanks,
EB
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Old 24-02-2014, 10:23   #2
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

I have only seen one Pacific Seacraft with teak decks. Almost every Swan I have seen has them.
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Old 24-02-2014, 10:57   #3
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

Check the spec's on the listing. Most boats they were an option. The higher the quality the boat, the more likely they'd have the option. The exception being European high end builders who were mostly stupid and had teak as standard issue. The escalating price of teak more than the maintenance issues made them increasingly rare probably in the '90's. Gluing the decks down instead of screwing it became common practice in Euro boats. That solved the problem of core rot. Unfortunately, that also coincided with thinner planking that reached truly emaciated thinness from some manufacturers. In any case, the teak will have to be replaced eventually.
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Old 24-02-2014, 11:04   #4
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

There is no rule of thumb for pretty much any boat built in the 80's or after it was an option. That said, most HRs and Swans have teak decks, although in later boats they are glued down not screwed down.

The main reason (among several, in my mind) to avoid teak decks when purchasing a boat of that vintage is not so much that it's likely to leak as it is probably reaching the end of it's service life (+/- 25 years) and you'd be looking at $1k/ boat foot to replace it, or probably $10k+ to pull it off and refinish the deck.
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Old 24-02-2014, 12:06   #5
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

All the boats you're looking at are capable cruisers as for teak decks you either want to deal with them or you don't My boats original teak decks were replaced with new teak decks a few years before I got the thing so I'd say I have many years left on them if I keep them up. I was not really wanting a boat with teak decks after owning a HC but the boat made up for them in a lot of other ways price being the biggest factor of them all. Even if I ripped them up the boat would still be worth more than what I bought it for.

As for searching for boats with or without them it's not a search feature I've ever seen on any listing site. So you'll just have to go through the listings and set aside the boats you're interested in the make a list of pluses and minuses for each one you look at and make a decision
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:29   #6
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
question is when did the majority of quality builders move away from teak decks? I'm sure most made the decision at varying times and am just curious if there is a general rule of thumb I can use when searching for boats from HR, Hylas, Oyster, Swan, Shannon, Pacific Seacraft, IP, Pearson etc...

Thanks,
EB
Answer is:

most of quality builders never moved away from teak decks.

Techniques for lay up of teak decks changed, but no HR, Oyster, Swan was or is built without teak deck. This is no option - it is standard.
Once upon a time one guy during negotiations of built contract asked for Esthec deck to be put instead of teak on Swan. He reported after as the answer was: No f&$%in' way!!!
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Old 24-02-2014, 14:03   #7
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

It is interesting to me to read peoples beliefs. I own a 1968 Swan 36 that never had teak decks and about 1/2 of the 36's I have seen never had them either. I'm guessing the more Swan became a luxury brand and not a racing brand it became more common to have teak.

I would suggest that you will not have a real hard time finding good quality boats that never had teak decks depending on when the boat was built, it will have it or not but it should be easy to determine and verify if it did or not.

When I was looking for a S&S boat of the late 60's early 70's I had no trouble finding examples without teak decks.

You may not be looking for boats that old, I have been very pleased with my boat though it has some of the negatives of older designs for most people for me it is just what I want and a great off shore cruiser.
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Old 24-02-2014, 14:22   #8
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

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Originally Posted by taildragerdrive View Post
It is interesting to me to read peoples beliefs. I own a 1968 Swan 36 that never had teak decks and about 1/2 of the 36's I have seen never had them either. I'm guessing the more Swan became a luxury brand and not a racing brand it became more common to have teak.
The OP question was "when did the majority of quality builders move away from teak decks?"
There was not question of when the teak decks were adopted. Most of the builders had a "pre-teak era" in their history, so probably I should add something like "after adoption of teak decks" or words to that effect. Sorry
But I did made a real mistake in my answer. I forgotten Swan Class 42 OD. They are built without teak decks.

I have a boat with teak deck and this is enough for me to wish not to have one
Personally I think sticking to teak by upper level brands is just part of brand image and have nothing to do with real quality of boat.
I would prefer Esthec deck any time, but there is really not much choice left for the boats built after 1980 or 1990.
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Old 24-02-2014, 14:46   #9
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

While I wouldn't say there is a move away, there are basically two reasons for boats not to have teak. First is cost. Second is owner preference which is based on maintenance generally.

I'm personally surprised there isn't more synthetic teak used. It's certainly more practical in some areas and looks nice. However, those who want teak seem to want teak and only teak. I think they look great and I think they require a lot of maintenance.
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Old 24-02-2014, 14:53   #10
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

Thanks folks, given the responses so far, which I appreciate, it sounds like I should change my original question.

Maybe a better question is when to builders start moving away from screwed teak decks to glued decks? I definitely don't want the hassle of having to replace a leaking deck or deal with the damage that results from those leaks. I guess I'm not completely apposed to teak decks as long as they don't leak and won't need to be replaced any time soon.

Is the expected lifespan of a well cared for teak deck 25-30 years as someone posted above?

Is there an easy way to tell if a particular boat was built with glued vs screwed deck construction when working through listing on-line?
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Old 24-02-2014, 14:59   #11
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Quote:
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Is there an easy way to tell if a particular boat was built with glued vs screwed deck construction when working through listing on-line?
Bungs on the deck planks would be a good indicator that they're screwed
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Old 24-02-2014, 15:11   #12
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
Maybe a better question is when to builders start moving away from screwed teak decks to glued decks?
Is the expected lifespan of a well cared for teak deck 25-30 years as someone posted above?
Is there an easy way to tell if a particular boat was built with glued vs screwed deck construction when working through listing on-line?
  1. There is no easy answer. To have real peace of mind You need to look at teak vacuum bagged on epoxy base. This is in general thing of the years after 2000, but technique was adopted in different yards in different time. I believe the first vacuum bagged teak decks on non custom boats appeared not earlier than in nineties. Some internet sites of the builders have quite detailed descriptions of older models, so browsing can reveal which models were built with vacuum-bagged decks. It was a developement, so the builders were keen to deliver this info in detailed specifications at least.
  2. No easy answer also regarding expected lifespan, as it depend not only on on the care the deck was given by previous owner(s), but also on the thickness of teak used. The vacuum bagging allowed for the use of much thinner wood - typically 9 mm (but sometime only 6 mm) vs 12 mm (even 19 mm on bigger boats). Bordeaux 60 have a vacuum bagged teak deck, for example, but it is really quite thin, so will not last so long as thick planking. HR, if I remember correctly, use 9 mm for smaller boats and 12 mm for bigger ones. For the same thickness vacuum bagged teak deck should last much longer than a screwed one, as most of the problems with old planking is around the screws. You may assume that for 12 mm planking vacuum bagged on epoxy the expected lifespan should be well over 30 years, and for 9 mm the 25 years can be still quite cconservative figure.
  3. I think it is not other way to know while browsing, like to know that particular model was produced using vacuum bagging. May be if close up photo reveal the screw plugs in planking. I doubt if the technique was changed for any given model during the production period, but I can be wrong, of course.
  4. By the way, even with vacuum bagging some yards used the plywood covered by very thin teak stripes. This should be avoided, as the expected lifespan is relatively short, screwed or vacuum bagged. On the other hand i believe no quality builder used this technique.
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Old 24-02-2014, 15:13   #13
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Bungs on the deck planks would be a good indicator that they're screwed
Yep in person that's easy to tell little more tough from a web listing. Keep in mind I'm at the early stages of trying to narrow the field to potential models that check our current search criteria. Initially I wanted to completely eliminate teak decks, but in the boats we like so far, that's proving tough to do, so might expand the search criteria to glued decks but not sure how to best do that with an Internet search. Is it safe to say that most boats built since the early 90s would no longer have screwed deck construction? If so does early 90s mean 91 or 95?

Agreed that any real search will include walking through and hopefully sailing several makes' models. Just trying to narrow the field at this point.
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Old 24-02-2014, 16:28   #14
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

ErBrown, if "IP" in your search list means Island Packet, they do not have teak decks. In fact, I've never seen one that did have a teak deck. Just my 2 cents, but I would stay far, far away from teak decks. Oh wait a minute....Hans Christians are the exceptions...
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Old 24-02-2014, 16:52   #15
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Re: When did manufacturers move away from teak decks?

Of the heavier cruising type boats that commonly had teak decks, I would say the trend to move away came late 80's or early 90's.
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