Baggy Wrinkles

Baggy Wrinkles
S/V Nautica, Hull #614, Built at Whitby Boatworks Ltd., Ontario, Canada 1977, one of the most recognizeable Carl Alberg designs. A masthead sloop displacing 9000 lbs, keel hull, Yanmar 15 hp diesel, LOA 30.27 Beam 8.75, Draft 4.29, roller furling headsail, tiller, berths for 4, interior teak bulkheads, teak cap rail and cockpit teak coamings, 12 volt lighting, aluminum mast support, Harken self tailing winches, in its day was designed for customers as a Cruiser-Racer, the Alberg 30 remains a Classic design of the modest Alberg inventory.

Pageviews since the BaggyWrinkles blog started:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


We all love the look of varnished teak on a classic boat but few of us have the tenacity to keep at it in order to sustain that look. You've got to be in another state of mind to want to jump into this problem.  

Photo below is what my coamings and cap rail looked like last Summer when this Alberg arrived chez-moi.  Simply lack of proper care for the wood.  Once it was stripped, sanded and revarnished it shined beautifully again.  But sometimes the task seems overwhelming and I winced a bit as I saw, while sailing the past few times, that some sections of my teak had need of attention.  So, with a few dry days ahead of me I began the process again while in the slip.

Condition of the teak coamings aboard Nautica upon arrival.

Soldiers of the Teak Army ready for the assault

The brightwork made the cockpit of my BaggyWrinkles gleam with renewed life. 
For the past 4 years now, I've been using Epifanes' products, first on my Cape Dory Typhoon, and then on my Alberg 30.  When I took possession of the Alberg, I had an enormous task ahead of me with the teak refurbishment.  I chronicled this last Fall when I did the unthinkable, I removed the teak coamings and hatch appointments and sanded them down completely to initiate my teak regime.  I did the same thing for my teak cap rails.  Painstaking is not the word, it is more like loathsome.  Once done however, it provides that classic appearance we all love to admire from a distance.  
Last Fall's initial teak refurbishment went well.  After lots of winter sailing it is time for some additional support to continue the protection of friction points and the intensity of summer sun in the south.

It is part of the distinctive look of boats from the Alberg collection and at that time in the boat's history.  Teak is a beautiful balance to the white deck and a dark hull.  But as nice as it looks, it comes at a price.  That price is doing the updating!  

So this past week our weather switched to a drier pattern, so I headed out to the club with my sandpaper to make corrections.  In this phase my goal is to remove the greying areas on any teak surface and to rough sand all the teak.  I will start with a recommended thinned coat of gloss so the varnish will penetrate the bare wood areas and will provide a start surface for subsequent layers of varnish.  

This is what I was seeing while sailing.  After re-examination, I think the cause may have been the matte finish itself.  It is not as hard as gloss although it has a gorgeous finish, it is not as durable.  The gloss is first applied thinned to nearly 50% in order to seep into the teak and coats thereafter are increasingly thicker.  
The problem was in the matte finish I believe--it is not as durable as the gloss.  So I decided to go with gloss this time and see if it maintains better over the next year. 

Overall, my coamings have held up fine.  The friction points are the only places where the varnish was rubbed off.  Sanding everything by hand was the next step.

Epifanes has the unique quality of being able to be recoated without sanding up to 72 hours after application!  Therefore, once the first thinned coat is applied, one can return 12 hours later and apply another and then another.  3 to 5 coats of thinned gloss before the matte finish application because the gloss is tougher than the matte.  The base has to be hard and seeped into the wood.  The matte does not show imperfections in the wood or the final coats.  If you've ever seen drips and drabs on teak, you know what I mean!

The project will take the best part of the next couple of weeks.  I'm using an animal hair brush I got from Sherman Williams, Epifanes Thinner, and a pint of Epifanes gloss which I got from West Marine.  I'll leave these items aboard so I'm prepped and ready to go at reapplication time. 

Sanding by hand with 250 or 300 grit helps to provide adherence.  Once on you can add additional coats without sanding.  If you're in the market for a gleaming product you will want to sand and use a tack cloth all over.  My requirements were not of that nature.

Thinning helps to get this gloss on the coamings quickly.  It also dries quickly in this warm climate.
My scope of work was to do this while the boat was in the slip.  I relied upon the life-lines for security and held the brush carefully.  Inevitably I had a couple of spills, once on the lazarette seat and another right into the cockpit.  Demoralizing sure, but it is going to happen.  Having a quick recovery is critical.

 Barefoot, I always begin at the taff-rail and work clockwise for some reason.  Habit I suppose...

 It happens.  And it occurs when you least expect it.  Quick clean-up on that mess. 

Once complete the entire situation looked better.  My intent was to get this varnish refreshment done so that it did not interfere with any sailing days.  The results below are good yet I will have to wait and see how normal wear impacts on the tops of the coamings and the cap rail. 

So too, I removed the tiller during this project.  There was a bit of wag in the device and I  wanted to shim or somehow reduce this effect.  So while the rain had drenched things for a couple of days I proposed a fix for my tiller-wiggle by taking what I think is a simpler solution first.  If this works then I save time and money from having to re-engineer something the designer of the rig meant to function just fine.  

  Previously, I had stripped and re-varnished the tiller itself, so this was a final project for it.  The fix I proposed is putting two large and thicker washers between the starboard side of the tiller and the tiller arm and then getting a couple of new longer bolts that I capped off on the port-side with locking nylon washers.  As long as this "stick" is tight in the arm, the only other bit of wiggle is in the base connection.  If that appears too worn and doesn't allow for a direct push - pull reaction from hand to rudder, then I may have to look at a re-engineering of things.

After reconnecting the tiller, the initial affect is direct and steady.  I will have to get her in the wind and work it for a few hours to see if it is a good fix or a temp fix.