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TRADITIONAL, DURABLE, LOW MAINTENANCE AND VISUALLY PLEASING ARE ALL WORDS USED BY CREW WHEN DESCRIBING TEAK DECKS ON YACHTS. BUT WHY ARE THESE WORDS USED? DO THEY STAND UP TO SCRUTINY AND ARE THE NEW ALTERNATIVES ANY BETTER OR ANY WORSE THAN THE NATURAL PRODUCT THEY SEEK TO EMULATE? HERE ARE THE TOP TEN TEAK FACTS FROM FRANCES AND MICHAEL HOWORTH


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REAL OR SUBSTITUTE There are many good reasons why teak is the popular choice in decking material on board superyachts. It is extremely durable, aesthetically appealing, reasonably low maintenance to say nothing about being hugely traditional. It is easy to clean providing you do not want that orange


look of new decks because all it needs is the dousing of fresh clean seawater to do the job. Fact is; the new guys on the block are now challenging all of these qualities. They are the ones who are manufacturing synthetic teak and the strides forward in technology are making their products look attractive.


Bob Steber has supplied premium quality Burma Teak to the yachting industry for more than 40 years. Fronting up Ginnacle Teak, he believes you cannot compare genuine Burma Teak decking with any of the synthetic products saying, “It’s like comparing a Rolls Royce with a scooter, in terms of beauty, durability, and fitting in with the fellow yachters.”


Richard Eikhoudt created Gemini Teak and has years of experience as a traditional carpenter. He has worked with some of the


bigger, best known super yacht builders in the Netherlands, describes himself as Not too enthusiastic about synthetic teak decks. He says, “Until now most alternative decks have been created using chemicals: polyurethanes or PVC`s. While I must admit it answers more and more to the demands of `decking`, it will never have the appearance of real fine high quality teak. This may be personal I am after all a carpenter! On the other hand; together with one of the major players in chemicals worldwide we plan to come to the market with a new product but at the moment our plans for that must remain secret. Alaska yellow cedar is mentioned as a real wood teak alternative every now and then. Its nice but not strong enough and only available in smaller quantities. Right now we are testing thermally modified woods to see if they can match up to teak but we are in the early stages of testing and it is too soon to say if we will be successful or not. We`ll have to wait a bit longer.”


Reinier Waardenburg of Easy Tek in Holland has a very different take on the matter. “There is,” he says, “No real argument to suggest that real Teak is in any way superior in quality or lifespan. The modern synthetic decks are every bit as good and have


134 | SUMMER 2017 | ONBOARD


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