Turtle Chaser is out of the water and being prepped for her trip to FL.

Well, she’s out. After a good washing we can get started on the projects that need to be done while she’s out of the water. I have to get the DC shunt installed to monitor our DC apms, install the tank senders and get them wired up, re-bed the chain plates, put the new Mantus anchor and chain on board, find the ^&R^% leak in the cabin top window, etc., etc. We expect her to make her journey around the middle of November. Then its sailing all year round!

Semco Review

So, after some time working with this product I’m able to now say it’s great! First the sheer ease of application makes it a dream. No sanding, no stripping, nothing. Simply wipe it on with a rag.

Now, we’ve made use of two of the Semco products…the Clear or Natural and the Honey tone. As you can see below, I’ve redone the toe rails with the Honey tone to bring up the honey color of the teak. The rails appear to be a harder teak and, as such, didn’t honey up as well as the cockpit seats using the Clear/Natural. The Honey tone made them look perfect!

Toe rails with Honey tone Semco

When we take the boat south, I’ll be able to give a comparison once we are in a saltier environment but I can say, in the Lakes, this product is fantastic. Oh, there is one other color it comes in called Classic Brown but I’ve not seen it in use anywhere yet.

Before and After

I thought I’d throw up some before and after pics of the cockpit seating. As you can see in the first pics, the Cetol was on pretty thick. The basic process is to use a heat gun and a scraper to remove the crud. This is a time consuming grind but not difficult to do. Once you have all the crud off, it’s time to sand. This step is what’s going to make or break your project. Teak is a wonderful wood! Just about everything you see, digs, chips, white spots, etc., will sand right out. I used a vibrating palm sander as its an imperative that you sand with the grain! I used a 200 grit paper so as not to take too much at once. Take your time and make the wood look perfect. Now, with our boat, the previous owners were less than diligent when applying the crud. We had crud all over the sikaflex! The sikaflex does not like to be scraped but it can be sanded hehe. Use your scraper to get the heavy stuff off and then gently sand it to remove any remaining crud. Of course, if your sikaflex is ratty you can always replace it. I’ll not go into that bit. Once you are happy it’s time to protect your work. Or you can go ahead and let it weather naturally. We use a product called Semco. This is a uv protectant and conditioner. It is NOT a top coat. It doesn’t cover the wood like Cetol. You wipe this on with a rag, like you are staining. This product can be reapplied as often as you’d like. No sanding required between coats. That’s it. As you can see in the after pictures, we used a clear coat to keep the natural color.


I’ve been teaching myself weaving so I can do some little projects on Turtle Chaser. Recently I learned the basic Turks Head knot. This is a great knot that can be used for a variety of things. I am using it on the new folding wheel to mark the rudder center. The Turks Head knot looks a little like an Irish knot but is simpler to construct. It only took me a few hours and endless You Tube videos to get it down. Once you have the pattern the knot flows easily. Don’t be discouraged! I found that by getting into the flow of the knot it was much easier than trying to learn the steps. The video that finally got it to click for me was this one: How To Tie A 3L 4B Turk’s Head Knot With Paracord.

The next knot project is wrapping the ladder handle on the transom for a better grip. I think I’ll go with a Spiral Hitch aka French Hitch. There are a lot of videos at You Tube that show you step by step how to do this.

Stupid steering wheel!

Well, last weekend I decide to right a wrong on Turtle Chaser by aligning all the steering components. Why you ask? Good question…I mean, does it really matter? Not usually when you have a regular, round wheel. However, recently we purchased a Lewmar folding wheel to replace the stock wheel. The folding wheel allows for easier maneuvering in the cockpit when anchored, moored or docked.

Now our version of the Lewmar wheels have a small key that aligns the wheel with the steering column. On a normal, round wheel, where the key is doesn’t matter because the wheel has no ‘top’. The ‘top’ is simply where the wheel rests when the rudder is straight. Now, let’s say that we have a wheel that really does have a ‘top’. When the wheel is folded, you want the folded portions on the sides so the wheel looks like an hourglass. Not having the rudder, steering column and wheel aligned will leave the rudder turned when the wheel is set properly for folding. Having your rudder turned when at anchor or moored will cause the boat to swing in the current…not good if you want to be still.

The Beneteau steering consists of a steering column with a toothed cog. A chain goes around the cog and attaches to a cable that goes down through a set of pulleys, through a tensioning box and around the quadrant. Simple right? I mean, all I have to do is to release the tension and lift the chain off the cog to move it. Well, no. Our steering system was lacking the all important tensioning box. In order to get everything aligned I had to remove the cable from the chain, – an easy thing to do as the chain has a removable link at each end – rotate the steering column, put the chain back on and reattach the cable. Of course, all of this while keeping the rudder aligned straight. The thing they don’t mention is that the cable is still under tension! I only spent about 2 1/2 hours trying to get the chain and cable end realigned! Sheesh! Take my advise and don’t try this at home! I eventually got everything aligned so the wheel will sit correctly while the rudder remains straight. If only the gang at Beneteau had been thoughtful enough to make sure it was all aligned at the factory.

Projects and more projects!


Well, it begins…

The new mount is built for the A/C pump and is ready to be reinstalled.  I’ve started stripping 1000 years of Cetol from the cockpit seats.  As you can see, it really is a beautiful teak underneath.  I’ll be finishing these with Semcoat instead to keep that gorgeous color.  New magnesiums are ready to install as well.  It appears that the boat has had the original, factory zincs on board.

Projects and more projects

Well this weekend was all about the toe rails on Turtle Chaser.  Candy and I spent all weekend stripping the layers of Cetol off, sanding and applying 2 coats of Semco.  The heat gun was a godsend as it allowed the Cetol to lift right off with a scraper.  Still, backbreaking work.  Even with the whole weekend, we still have 2 sections of the rail to strip, sand and finish.  The wind was up and we didn’t want all that crud going into the water around the boat.  I have to say though, the portions that are done look fantastic!  Yeah, hard work but worth it in the end.  Next, the cockpit seats…grrr.