Late this week I visited our Teak supplier and joinery craftsman to collect some new wooden gratings and other Teak products for our clients. Visiting the workshop of a craftsman is always highly interesting, seeing half-finished projects of all sorts. Our specializes in deck repair and fittings of completely new decks. My gratings are merely a sidekick for him. And so the huge workshop was filled with a colorful variety of more or less finished deck flooring parts: Most of them being PVC-based. Since the embargo of real Teak, the price went up so high that wooden decks are very seldom. The new “green consciousness” of sailors makes for almost 90 per cent of his jobs being synthetic deck floorings. I found this interesting.

A classic Omega 42 with Teak deck

For my Omega 42 I will need a deck too. Most boats are plain white without any flooring or, let´s say, with at least some in the cockpit, but I find especially a classic yacht like Peter Norlin´s masterpiece does ultimately look much, much better when a deck flooring is fitted. Yet, as of now, I am sure that I won´t go for a real wooden deck made of Teak or any other natural supplanting timber. Why? Well, it will be too heavy, too expensive and too high-maintenance. We don´t have to talk about the so-called “green consciousness” in sailing anyway, since most of the materials used in a sailboat are crude oil-based, synthetic and highly chemical, that´s a clear fact. But maybe, over the long lasting product lifespan of a synthetic decking material the energy footprint is equal or even better than utilizing rainforest timber. Anyway, it will be synthetic flooring.

Classic or modern?

Finding the right design is a tough question. The shape of the Omega 42 is pretty radical in terms of length-to-width ratio. She is a very narrow boat with a super long deck. Her round, very pointy, hull (seen from above) would make for a very bend shape of the deck. A classic line, with embrasures and the classy centerpiece, the “fish”, in the middle of the foredeck. But do I want it this way? My Omega 42 is built to be very light, nimble and modern. Down below this can be seen best. I want some of it – maybe very subtle and “hidden” – to be present up on deck too. This reminded me of a very special boat I´ve visited some years ago …

A straight lines-deck

During Boot Duesseldorf boatshow 2017 I saw the Club Swan 50, which I found pretty impressive. Juan K, the designer, is known for very unconventional ways and designs, some of which were present in the Club Swan 50 – and I remember that they went for a pretty nice deck flooring solution: The battens of the Teak decking did not follow the outer lines of the hull, which would be the classic way, but had been oriented all along the centerline of the deck. Just straight “up”. A very dynamic, very modern approach. I liked it very much: No embrasures, no fishes. Just plain, straight, very modernistic lines.

Pointy like an arrowhead …

I tried to do this with Photoshop on a sketch of the Omega 42 deck. I think it looks gorgeous and satisfies the needs of both worlds. The nice, warm and classic look of a boat with a “proper” deck on the one hand, combined with a subtle, yet modern arrangement of the “battens” of the flooring. Indeed, having the pattern running from stern to bow in a straight line is visually elongating the boat even more. The needle-like narrow shape is pronounced, making it appear like an arrowhead even more. I like it very much!

Finding the right supplier

This design approach will also make production of the deck flooring-parts easier (and a bit cheaper, I hope). I start to talk with our supplier craftsman about the project. He walks into the workshop, showing me the process and production step of the deck-parts to later form a whole. It all starts with the raw boards. The material is available in many shades and colors. It´s a plain, soft (but also hard) PVC-ground material that is colorized and treated in a way that it – even in the rawest stage and before any work went into it – looks and feels like real Teak. I went for the lightly bleached or “aged” Teak deck look. I hate those overly fresh and bright orange shining fake teak decks: This looks just too much over, like a frantically rouged up girl …

The big raw plate

In a second step, the design of the deck is put into the CNC computer. Just like he uses his CNC-machine to mill out a Teak grating for example, he will put in the form and desired layout into the machine. The individual “joints” to mock the batten-pattern will then be milled halfway down into the material. When the big raw plate did look a bit odd with the pattern repeating every 30 centimeters or so, after the milling process, you won´t see it anymore. It really looks like it this were real wooden Teak battens.

CNC-milled joints

The CNC-machine can work on raw parts with a maximum size of some two meters. With a sidewalk deck like on my Omega 42, one piece will be some 12.80 meters long. These individual segments are then literally “welded” together by a special tool that heats up the adjoining surfaces of the part´s sides which are then brought together. When arriving to the boat, the segments just need to be glued to the deck, there won´t be any heat-welding on board.

Filling up the joints

Of course, the seams or fake joints need to be filled with caulking. This is Pantera or Sika and it is done the same way they would do it with real wooden deck floorings: Joint by joint. I am not sure as of now if I´d go for the classic black style or – again, I find it very special and modern – for a white/light grey filling. Like I´ve seen on the lovely Solaris 50 lately. This could look absolutely awesome! I absolutely love the “half used – half fresh” look of this deck. Could you tell it´s real or fake?

A deck for the Sweden Express

I guess you agree that a boat like the Omega 42 needs a deck flooring. Going for this lightweight PVC decking is a good plan in my eyes and we both agree to take measurements of the individual areas soon after spring. Right now, back in the workshop, the deck is still placed above the hull so that it can be lowered to check bulkheads and principal installations frequently. As soon as this production step is done and the deck is accessible, we will do it. Which will be an interesting article too.

This is how an Omega 42 should look like!

We also talked about the decking material for the floorboards down below. A few weeks ago I guessed to have them painted in plain white with KiwiGrip, now I´m not so sure. I really loved the look and feel of my EVA-floorboards aboard GEKKO, and my partner offers a similar product: A slightly harder foam than EVA made by Ultralon. I check some showpieces and think I´ve might found something interesting here. But that´s a different story that is coming soon …


Related articles you might find interesting:

Fake Teak decking: How its made

Cork as deck surface?

Iroko deck flooring on series production boats