SAIL - - Under Sail -

In the­ory, qual­ity teak needs lit­tle care and may be left to weather to an at­trac­tive sil­ver with­out dam­age. How­ever, in re­al­ity, aboard boats that spend most of their lives near pop­u­lated shores, un­treated teak tends to turn black from air pol­lu­tion. Most of us scrub away the black, but each scrub also re­moves some of the sur­face of the wood. Un­less one is re­ally dili­gent, oil­ing may not be help­ful as the oil also turns black. Un­for­tu­nately, over time scrubbed teak goes rough, then goes away—some­thing I have ex­pe­ri­enced first­hand, hav­ing re­placed a num­ber of pencil-thin handrails and too-thin-to-fas­ten cap rails. Aside from the aes­thet­ics of bright­work, var­nish­ing avoids this loss of wood. For a boat you in­tend to keep, I view ex­te­rior var­nish as a pay-me-now-or-pay-me later pro­pos­tion. Af­ter the ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion of not less than six or eight coats, main­te­nance should be lim­ited to a quick scuff and a fresh coat once or twice a year.

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