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Deck Tips: Teak Nemeses

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When you first begin yachting, it seems everything is novel and no job is too much of a chore.

Polishing stainless? Let’s get this shiny as!

However, after a couple of seasons you learn that certain things can induce sudden rage, and that these tend to be the things you absolutely cannot control.



In 3rd place: Sun lotion.
More specifically, sun lotion on teak. I've been informed that to achieve 'all over coverage', an aerosol lotion is necessary. The invention of this product was a sad day for those working on superyachts. The end result is oil absolutely everywhere.

The only remedy for oil on teak is k2r, and anybody who has used k2r knows that you have to wait for guests to vacate the offending area, then leave big white splodges all over the deck for ages (which is unsightly in itself) and hope the guests don’t come back before you’ve had time to clean it off.  

Sadly, aside from banning guests from tanning, there’s little you can do prevention wise.

2nd Place: Dew, Soot and Red Rain. 

teak 300Every morning dew greets you. No matter how clean the boat is, you will be shammying as soon as dawn breaks. If you're lucky enough to be in a sooty port - preferably one with a car ferry- the soot will stick to the dew! In especially dewy spots you may find yourself going over the same spot approximately six times because our good friend dew is very persistent. Grab the shammy and away we go. 


Red rain. The instigator of full wash downs and ruiner of lives. Aside from painting your entire boat red, a wash down is the only solution. The sirocco wind comes up from Africa, bringing with it wet red dust and depositing it over your lovely clean vessel. 

None of the above, however, gets me riled up like my arch nemesis:

seagullIn 1st place- Seagull poo.

On one particular boat, we shammied down every morning, even in winter. This was on a 60m motoryacht, and the seagulls used to sit on the forward mast. We tried a number of things to deter them: 

-seagull and owl 300Plastic owls. Not only do these look ridiculous, they simply do not work. Regardless, what owner wants to arrive at their 40 million euro yacht and see a tacky plastic owl on the top?   

-Dangling shiny things around. CDs are particularly popular. Although on one vessel, we were called a 'gypsy boat' for sporting these delightful additions to the deck. We might as well hang our washing over the capping rails. 

-Cable ties on cap rails. Tied them pointing upwards and it's supposed to be sharp enough so the seagulls don't land. Wrong. I've seen a real big fat one fly down, wings up, wiggle it's bum between them and push them to point down, creating further space to sit. 

-Horns. This is the standard for scaring them away. Loud enough, and it works, but temporarily. You can't have your horn going all day long- the noise is tremendously annoying. 

-Squawking bird sounds. I've been in shipyards where they play a continuous track of loud squawking birds. The first three days I thought it was dying seagull that needed to be put out of its misery. I didn't see a seagull, but I did see a lot of disgruntled crew who had been there a while. 

cat in porthole 300The one thing I haven't yet tried is a deck cat. I thought it would be a great idea. It unfortunately got shot down because apparently cats don't like water. And there are rules against these things.

Sadly all of these methods have their pitfalls and it's impossible to watch the bow of the boat all day. These buggers would circle and land immediately after we'd shammied, and sit there all fat and smug, and leave little presents behind. It would bake on the paintwork all day, ready for us the next morning. The only way to get it off is elbow grease. Scrub scrub scrub. Lovely.

Everybody is different and perhaps some have more patience for sun-worshipping guests, car ferries and seagulls than I. However, I haven’t met a deckie yet that doesn’t share my hatred of seagull poo and red rain. 

Does anyone else have any things that drive them mad? Or creative solutions to make a deckie’s life easier? Leave suggestions in the comments below!

boat george seaplane 

*Images courtesy of author and A Dovey via Flickr (CC 2.0)
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