Raritan Holding Tank Manufacturers Share Memories of Past Designs
Raritan Engineering your holding tank suppliers would love to share with you this week some great information regarding the possible end to wood trimmed boats.
Do we still want exterior wood on our boats today? Is synthetic a fair substitute?
When we stepped aboard the 36-foot Island Packet Estero for a test sail, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the familiar teak caprail was gone.
With a teak bowsprit and additional teak trim in the cockpit, IP yachts held the course that most production boat builders had left behind by the mid-1990s. If you see exterior wood on a Hunter or Beneteau these days, chances are its synthetic teak.
There was a time, as some of us fondly remember, when real wood-trimmed cars were the rage. Then faux-grained vinyl replaced the real stuff, sustaining the illusion that a gas-guzzling, eight-cylinder station wagon was somehow consistent with a “back-to-nature” ethos. The faux-wood trend lasted longer than most car makers will care to admit. Beginning with the vinyl grain on the Ford Country Squire station wagon of the 1960s, America’s love affair with faux wood on cars lasted 30-plus years.
I imagine that production boat builders will take much longer to abandon wood. While the functional value of wood on boats has diminished, tradition and aesthetic appeal run deep.
Your Holding Tank Distributors Talk About How the Classic Look Will Always Be a Favorite
Your holding tank professionals share how Maine boat builders like Morris and Sabre have long histories of building with wood, and Tartan still trims its boats in real teak. But wood trim also adds to the bottom line, and there is little practical payback.
I wasn’t surprised to see the new Leadership 44, built by Morris Yachts for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy had only a teak cockpit sole. I almost expected to see no wood below. Then—surprise, surprise—wood trim in abundance, including an elegant fiddle around the head sink, a notorious trouble spot for wood. (I took this as a reflection of Kyle Morris’s commitment to keeping his talented craftsmen working, or perhaps to give the Coast Guard recruits something to practice their maintenance skills on.)
Are we seeing the last of the wood-trimmed boats? Walk the docks in any marina with more than 50 sailboats, and it is a pretty sure bet that there’s a caprail or coaming that needs refinishing. Horizontal surfaces, exposed to the full force of the sun’s UV rays, are the toughest test of wood finishes. Even our best wood finishes from our past tests will wither under these conditions in short order.
Despite the material’s drawbacks I believe there will always be a place for teak trimmed boats—just as there will always be wooden boats. Teak is a beautiful, durable material for boat builders, but the challenge is ensuring it is either reclaimed or harvested sustainably. Although the maintenance of exterior teak can overwhelm an owner who has little time to carry out the regular maintenance, there are few boat maintenance jobs that offer the instant (almost) gratification of laying down a glossy coat of varnish.
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