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How to keep a yacht’s varnished wood trim in good condition

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What is the issue?
Most yachts have varnished wooden details above decks. This degrades quickly under strong sun (ultraviolet) light and/or continual damp conditions and you can lose it very quickly to water damage.

Why address this?
Caring for wooden detailing preserves the yachts appearance. This is not only important for the pride of ownership but also affects the vessel's valuation.

How to address this?
The key to maintaining the brightwork’s varnish is to recoat it with varnish before the current coat fails. This means developing a varnishing cycle every six months, or depending on the conditions, possibly every quarter.

However varnishing is typically not the big task, sanding and preparing bad or damaged surfaces is the painstaking aspect. Once your brightwork has been water damaged it is very difficult to restore it to its original appearance. Water damage stains penetrate deep into the wood grain necessitating deep sanding. This needs to be avoided at all costs.

A little preventive maintenance can eliminate the need for major repairs later. Simply varnish all the brightwork before it needs it by a regular cycle. All that is required when it is in a good state is a rub down with a scouring pad to key the surface for the new protective layer of varnish. The old proverbs of a 'stitch in time saves nine', or 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' speak volumes when it comes to varnish work.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

Further Varnishing Tips

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