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S&S Swan Maintenance - Swan 411, renovating the deck
25 October 2022 - 21:25
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 462

Swan 411, renovating the deck

Luna Menguante until a few days ago had still the original teak deck (45 years old) which now needed renovating.  Teak is now prohibitively expensive and probably not even advisable; I am considering some alternative and would like to hear the experiences of other Swan owners who renovated the decks of their boats.

Besides suggestions on possible materials (someone is even advising cork), I would like to hear how some critical points were managed. Namely:

1) the toe rail used to be flush with the teak; if the new material has not the same thickness of the previous teak there are at least two problems. One is aestethical for the appearance of a step, another is the possible formation of a water pool along the central part of the toe rail for a lack of drainage.

2) the big bolts which hold the rudder system just under the wheel pedestal used to be embedded in the teak; now they stick out.

3) the helmsman seat has got a problem similar to the toe rail. The teak planks were surrounded by an elevated rim designed in the seat made of GRP and a simple paint will not restore the original shape flush.

4) freeing the mainsheet traveler from the deck appears to be rather tricky; anyone did it? Unfortunately there is a lot of aluminum/steel corrosion.

Thanks to whoever has good suggestions.

Daniel, Luna Menguante 411/004


26 October 2022 - 10:03
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1031

Dear Daniele,

don't forget some S&S Swan did not have teack deck when launched (I like the darker, usually grey or light blu, antiskid painting) , and the toerail was higher than the deck of at least 5/8 mm. Yes, you may have some water at the max beam, but not much, and as the boats rolls just a bit it will run over.

Freeing the original main traveller is indeed tricky, but with some patience, and if you kindly try warming the bolts with a direct flame, you should be able to disassemble it.

Any photos?

matteo(47/069 Vanessa)

27 October 2022 - 10:51
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 119

Dear Daniele,

we had Kairos' (Swan 57) old teak deck replaced with a new one in 2021.

While I therefore cannot comment on suitable alternatives to teak or how to overcome the problems you mentioned, I think I'm in a position to comment on costs of teak since you mentioned it's high cost.

Admittedly we purchased the teak itself just before the trade restrictions on Burma came in and teak prices have certainly increased (quite a bit) since then (if you can get any at all, that is).

While teak was a somewhat more expenisve than other materials at the time, for us, the costs to purchase the teak i.e. the sawn planks was less than 10% of the total costs of the deck replacement in the end.

The majority of the cost of Kairos' new deck, as it is often the case, were driven by the man hours required to carry out the work. I.e. to remove deck fittings and old deck, prepare the deck, carve and install the new planks; chalk and sand the new teak deck and re-install all deck fittings. There are also some  potential surprises you may only find once the old deck has been removed (hopefully not too many - we were really lucky). 

I would think you will probably have to do quite a bit of of the man-hour heavy work regardless of the type of deck material you replace the old teak deck with. Believe the labour related to our new deck totalled around 2,500 man hours in the end, possibly a little more ... just to give you an idea.

Not at all saying you should go for teak, and maybe you are planning to do some of the work yourself, but I thought I'd share our experience, which hopefully helps a little bit with what to expect.

Fair winds,


SY Kairos - 57/043

27 October 2022 - 12:09
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 164

Dear Daniel,

I had to remove Vellamo's (then still Age of Swan) teak deck six years ago and can confirm the critical points you addressed.

We used antiskid two-component PU paint on the deck surface, on top of two additional layers of glass. There is indeed a small step to the toerail (sealed with grey Sikaflex), and it does hold small pockets of water -- mostly right next to the stanchion bases, and in front of the center fairlead. I agree that it is an aesthetic issue but not a critical problem. However, sometimes I consider to use filler epoxi and shape the outermost 8 cm of the deck so they level with the toerail, but I haven't got around to it. Probably I'll just start with the stanchion bases.

With the teak deck gone, everything bolted through the deck caused a rat's tail of annoying follow-up necessities. Most of the bolt nuts are glassed over, and the original bolts were obviously cut to length before glassing. While this is an admirable feat of perfectionism, it means that most of the bolts will go in either the exact same hole or at best in one that used to take a slightly longer bolt before, leaving the longest bolts in excess, and leaving you looking for short replacements. Unless you cut out the nuts with a circular saw without a pilot, but then that opens another chapter of consequences.
We also noted that the mast collar now misses the thickness of the teak deck that of course had not been worn at all in this place. So the mast collar came done a bit into the cabin -- not a problem in itself, but the teak cover for the aluminum collar did not fit anymore.
Count on suprises, Daniel. And keep your courage, it's worth it.

Best wishes,
Martin (Vellamo, 48/039)

BTW, we chose the antiskid paint for a couple of reasons, the main ones being:
First, for little money (about 1,000 € for one layer on the deck of the 48) you can do it yourself in about a day with two people.
Second, the paint gets nowhere as hot in the sun as teak or flexiteak. And it does not pretend to be something it's not.

01 November 2022 - 18:47
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 462

Thanks to everybody for your kind replies and I will make good use of all.

The feat has begun and although it is the first time that I hear the saying about "a rat's tail", I get the idea and I cannot but agree. There is plenty of annoying follow-up necessities indeed.  Here is a first batch; other will follow, I am sure!

I just noticed that the genoa tracks are totally homemade with the upper flat part in stainless steel but the central lower support made of micarta; that was a surprise I did not expect.  Several sections of the central support are cracked and need intervention and I ask for your advice and experience; shall I reconstruct them as the original or go for some alternative?

Still about the genoa tracks; when the teak was there, the tracks were sort of embedded in two sloping wooden walls to save the feet of the crew. If I decide for the antiskid, a way of saving the feet becomes more difficult; any suggestion?

Daniel, Luna Menguante 411/004

01 November 2022 - 19:11
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1031

Dear Daniel,

I would install again the two slooping wooden walls for sure!

Genoa tracks should be Lewmar made (in some older models "lewmar" is carved)  and yes, micarta/tufnol base is what Nautor used at that time, they should be still in perfect condition, correct?.

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

12 November 2022 - 16:46
Join Date: 17 July 2020
Posts: 104

Hi Daniel,

even with the antishid, the teak was always here to protect feet…

Original protection

14 November 2022 - 12:36
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 462

Thank you Matteo and Algol, at this point there is no doubt that I will add the wooden rulers to protect the feet.

Regarding the central supporting element of the rails, the yard suggests stainless steel instead of the original tufnol and I really do not know.  The original in tufnol was ruined while dismantling and a new one is needed; I believe that ss might be too expensive but I will appreciate your experience and advices.

Daniel, 411/004 Luna Menguante

14 November 2022 - 16:04
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 164

Dear Daniel,

I may be wrong about this but as I recall the tufnol strips below the genoa tracks simply work as a long spacer, without carrying much load. The load is taken by the bolts which go through the deck. However, the spacer is needed for the genoa cars as they grip around the rail sides.
I have replaced damaged tufnol by cut lengths of PE (for instance for the companionway sliding hatch). The material is very easy to work, so you could have it cut/ordered in the appropriate dimensions and, if necessary, drill the holes for the bolts yourself. If you order an number of partial lengths that add up to the total length of the rail, the material will sufficiently fit the curve of the rail (as did the old tufnol strips which were straight as well, if I recall correctly). Should you need it, I have a supply source in Germany.
The only part I am not sure of is if PE is adequate (I am not an engineer), but so far I have not encountered any problems.

Best regards,
Martin & Vellamo (40/039)

14 November 2022 - 16:45
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 462

Dear Martin, both you and Matteo are advising a composite material as in the original project and it is going to be so also in Luna Menguante! I will need to argue with the yard but I will positively win.

For curiosity I looked at the origin of the name Vellamo which I never heard before; very original and pretty choice indeed, my compliments! :-)

Daniel, 411/004 Luna Menguante

14 November 2022 - 16:47
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1031

Dear Daniel,

give me a call if your yard is not able to find Tufnol!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

21 December 2022 - 14:47
Join Date: 07 October 2014
Posts: 74

Hi Daniel,

I was facing same thing than you.

Luckily my wife took care of removing the teak.

I can tell you my experiences and things i had to work out.

Removing the tracks was qiet hard. The yard just cuted the bolt and glassed it over.

The tread has a "kinck" and the bolt struggels with the nut to come off several times.

In that case i used a chissel and went trough the fiber down below to stop the nut of spinning. A second person unscrewed than the bolt.

All the pertinax / tuffnol... under the tracks broke in thousands pieces too.

I used black pvc stripes about 1,2 meter long. I did not put back the side stripes from the tracks. I am walking mostly barefoot and the only concern i have, i am hitting sometimes the genoa car - that hurts ;-)  the tracks are fine for me.

When i installed them i left about 2cm distance to the next one, so water can drain easily off.

For the toe rail i was kind of happy to have this recess.

I am catsching rainwater when on anchor. On the deepest point i glued a pipe in.

It is in the aft cabin and a ball valve can close this one. On top it is the diameter of a wine bottle and a kork can added to, even painted for less visibility on deck.

Verry happy to have this in the carribean, where water is sometimes not easy to get.


For the non skid i made differnd tests: the powder from interlux - when wet it was verry slippery. I endet up with using quarz sand from guiana. I sived it twice, first the big grain out and then with a diffdrent sive the small grains and the dust. On the end all grains had similar size. This i poored over my first layer of epoxy primer. After it cured i cleaned it well and painted with two component paint over.

Now i am using it for allmost 4 years with living on board and i can not complain and would do it in same way again. I never slipped and it does not keep to much dirt.

I put new teak in my cockpit and on the bridge deck.


If any question comes up, or you need details i would be available.

Fair winds and a good progress, stefan

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