Starboard cap rail

The exterior teak requires annual varnishing to protect the wood and keep it looking nice. This is a view of the teak on Phoenix’s starboard cap rail after two new coats of varnish. The cleats and other hardware have been removed for the varnishing project, so there are visible holes where the hardware will be reinstalled.

Our recent days have been filled with the annual maintenance of exterior teak…varnishing. Our boat’s exterior teak consists only of a cap rail around the decks and an eyebrow trim piece around the flybridge. Doesn’t sound like much, but the sanding, taping, and application of the varnish takes several hours for each coat…and we try to put on three coats each season.

We’ve been doing marine varnish for many years, and every year we learn something new. We’re currently using Pettit Z-Spar Flagship varnish, as we like how it looks and how well it lasts throughout each year. We like applying the varnish with a badger style brush (we use Corona Europa Badger brushes). Of course, everybody who does varnish has their own preferences about varnish type and brushes. It’s a very personal thing.

Alice varnishing the teak eyebrow trim on the flybridge

Alice applies a fresh coat of varnish to the teak eyebrow trim on the flybridge.

Varnishing is a challenge in the marine environment. Not only do we need dry days, we also need appropriate conditions for the varnish to flow and dry properly. And, it’s virtually impossible to maintain the optimum temperature and humidity, due to dealing with sunny days, cloudy days, humid days, windy days, calm days, hot days, cold days, etc. Even on the same day!

The varnishing is now our top priority, and we are setting aside any other activities if the morning looks like a day when we can varnish. As in previous years, we’ve been challenged by the weather…too many rainy days! But the past week has given us a few days without precipitation, and we have now completed two coats, and have the third coat yet to do. We hope to finish this week so we can start preparing for our trip back to Bend the second week of August.

Alice takes a break varnishing the eyebrow

Alice takes a break for the camera as she applies a fresh coat of varnish on the teak eyebrow trim on Phoenix’s flybridge.

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