NZ Enchantress Refit - Deck & Coachhouse

David & Susan's Adventures
David & Susan Simpson
Sat 1 Jul 2017 20:20

The biggest item on our refit list for New Zealand was to remove and repair our teak deck and coach house. We had been getting increasing leaks in the deck, particularly around all the fittings and we were very concerned at the potential damage to the balsa core. It was over 6 years since it had been refurbished in Bali and it was now desperately needing removed.

The pictures do not show up how thin the teak was in places and the splits in the teak.

It took 6 weeks to remove most of the teak, from mid-November until end of December. Most of the teak was very well glued down with thousands of screws. We tried a number of devices, but in the end found the only way to minimise the damage to the gel coat and fibreglass was to gently and slowly chisel off the teak in bits. Only very occasionally would I get a reasonable sized strip coming off.

All the crew holes then had to be drilled and filled with epoxy. Susan and I tried to do the epoxying, however we struggled to get the mixing right and in the end Graeme and Matt did most of that work. Graeme and Matt are the main boat builders involved in all the deck work. Matt is Graeme’s son and they both work for Seapower in Opua. They are now also close friends.

The black stripes on the coach house shows the glue holding down the teak and all this had to be scraped off. All the deck fittings also had to be removed and this involved taking down some of the wood panelling on the inside ceiling.

Susan did most of the removing of the glue and excess epoxy from the screw holes, scraping and sanding. She is still suffering a bit from sore fingers, 6 months later.

We found in a number of places that there was water coming out of the drill holes and we then did quite a lot of cores through the top layer of fibreglass into the balsa core. Some of what we found was frightening as the core was sometimes soaking wet and the balsa core was completely destroyed.

Some cores cut to establish how far the balsa was damaged.

Removing some top layer fibreglass.

A particularly bad patch with destroyed balsa.

Almost the whole of the back of the deck had the balsa replaced with marine ply and epoxy and then a new top layer of fibreglass.

Matt smoothing the fibreglass under where the Genoa track was removed, before fitting a new wooden block.

Starting the painting. We did 3 layers of International Interprotect over all the deck and coach house.

Yes, we all took part in the painting.

There was always lots of cleaning up to be done.

It quickly started to look like a different boat.

Shoes soon became banned.

After the 3 coats of Interprotect we did 2 layers of Perfection undercoat, then 2 layers of Perfection Mediterranean White topcoat.  We also did 2 layers of Burgundy stripes to match the original pattern.

We then started on the large job of laying the Treadmaster.

We imported the Treadmaster from the UK, at huge transport cost, as it was still cheaper than buying it in New Zealand. We chose Sand White as it keeps the boat cooler than the darker colours and goes very well with the white paint. We took the Treadmaster sheets to Graeme’s boathouse  where he had set up a large work table with a cutting board which was ideal for cutting the Treadmaster using a Stanley knife. I made templates out of cardboard for all the shapes and we had various tools:

-          A long aluminium rectangular rod for making curved edges

-          Various sized tins for cutting round edges

-          Compasses for marking circles

-          Steel ruler, good for cutting against

We practised with some scrap Treadmaster to ‘perfect’ our technique. We tried to cut at a slight angle so that the cuts weren’t vertical, however in the end we found it easier to use sand paper to take the edge off the sides of the Treadmaster.

It really started to look nice when we had most of a side done, including fittings like the genoa tracks.

Each deck fitting had to be treated separately as we has different measurements for how much of a gap to the fitting we allowed based on how it looked, e.g. 25mm between large sheets, 20mm for largish fittings 10-15 for small fittings like ubolts. Note the superb new hand rails on the coach house. These were made by Graeme for a boat that he was doing up quite q few years ago. He sold the boat before fitting the hand rails, so Susan & I benefited.

Matt taking the sharp edge off sheets before fitting.

The Treadmaster sheets were fixed down using the West system epoxy glue with a small amount of filler to give the glue body. We dry fitted the sheets and masked round the edges to stop the glue squeeze sticking to the paint. The sheets were then laid and rolled in place and the glue squeeze cleaned up.

A huge contrast to an old tired teak deck!!

Five months work but a new boat. It was expensive, but a fraction of what a new teak deck would have cost and it will not leak!!!

As part of the refurbishment we removed the coach house windows and Graeme replaced the Perspex and resealed the windows. This was a key part of getting the boat drier.

A rather proud and pleased co-owner!!

The other less obvious part of the deck overhaul is under the deck. Some of the wood panelling was relatively easy to take off and put back on, some would have been very disruptive and damaging to remove. We decide to cut holes in some of the panels to fit for example the new hand rails on the coach house. Graeme is a very talented wood turner and has made many spectacular bowls etc using traditional NZ wood, e.g. Kauri. He, as a friend, turned quite a number of fittings in Kauri to cover the holes we cut and some we already had that needed covering. We now have some Kauri wood that we can look at and admire.

Kauri disc covering an old mushroom vent we did away with.

Small Kauai discs covering grab handle bolt holes and a plate covering the deck organiser bolts.

When we return to NZ and Opua in November 2017, we plan to refurbish the cockpit and ‘doghouse’ as this is an area where we still have leaks. We will also want to refurbish the hull windows.