I notice that we're talking very generically about Cetol when, in reality, it's performance is a function of several major variables.
Personal aethestics aside (not everyone agrees on what is 'butt ugly'...), all these teak treatments can seem to perform well when conditions are benign but they quickly show their limitations when the boat is more heavily used, when they get fewer fresh water
rinse-offs, when the wood sees a bit of chafe, when humidity climbs, and certainly when the boat's location changes and U/V exposure increases (or the temperature drops).
A friend invested much effort & time in doing the two-part varnish-like application (similar to Honey Teak) and found it quickly cracking once he got into hotter, more tropical environs. Still in denial, he invested $$ this time and had the job redone in Trinidad, only to find it failed again in short order. Wood expands at different rates between joints, water
works its way in, and there we go. Yet two-part coatings are very, very hard and so much tougher to remove and replace.
I was a big Cetol fan - sealer, then gloss - and found I only needed to treat our teak once a year while in Florida
; got lots of compliments, too. The owner of a Hess-designed BC 28 Cutter
stopped by one day while I was doing my maintenance coat and really dissed Cetol. BC 28's have lots of wood and he'd gone down to bare wood twice, doing the 3 + 3 regimen, only to have it fail within 6 months. Strange, I thought...at first. Later, when we found Cetol wouldn't last a year in the Caribbean
- and we were using the boat regularly, where wear is relentless - I thought about this some more. Both his applications were done while out cruising, and they probably didn't have enough fresh water to clean up the wood before application. Salt
must be a problem. I went back to fresh wood in Trinidad (at a marina with unlimited fresh water), then recoated 3 + 3 but found it didn't last more than 6 months...and wondered if the environment
alone (humid, salty, damn hot while we sailed across the breadth of the Caribbean) was part of the explanation, along with heavy use and lots of U/V.
When we left for Europe
, WHOOSH's trim looked great. After 6 more months, it again looked badly & I simply gave up and went back to the 'Scandanavian look', at least for now. (Clean, bare teak, occasionally lightly scrubbed and lightened with a light treatment of oxalic acid). This time it was the reverse climatic circumstance: much spottier weather
, colder temps and so difficult to get the coats down properly, lots of wet conditions (from the skies and the sea), and again regular and so heavy use. E.g. rafting over here is very common (2 boats are outside us as I write this) and it's quite difficult to keep the lines and shoes from taking a toll on the bright work (which most boats don't have, and so owners are 'unenlightened' on this subject).
Overall, I find Cetol to be a good product and suitable for most boats' teak simply because most boats are not heavily used. But let's see what Jon, Sean and others think after they've worked their boats down South for an extended period. IME heavy use and bright, shiny teak are a tough combination to stick with, altho' charter
boats with active professional crews certainly pull it off.