Technical Article: #017

Title: Synthetic Teak Replacement Cockpit Locker Tops
Date Added: 3 January 2014
Article Author: Andy
Boat: Hustler 30 – Hariette B

Synthetic Teak Replacement Cockpit Locker Tops
The Locker Top Challenge
When purchasing Hariette B there were a few jobs that I knew needed doing.  One of these jobs was to replace the Cockpit Locker Tops. Why? For some reason a previous owner decided to use decking. Yes that’s right decking for the cockpit locker tops.  We tried this arrangement for a while and I can confirm that prolonged sitting and kneeling on decking hurts your legs and leaves wonderful ridges and the odd splinter in all your crews legs regardless of wearing trousers or shorts.  These things had to go otherwise I’d have a mutiny!


Mutiny beckons with these lids Cap’n

The Search Begins
As Hustler owners past and present know our Hustlers are all unique in one way or another. I think of the unique points of my hustler is the depth of the cockpit locker tops. They are all 20mm thick. For reference here’s the dimensions of my locker tops (clockwise looking aft):

  • Fwd Starboard locker: W 72.5 cm x H 2cm x D 41.5 cm
  • Aft Starboard locker: W 72.2 cm x H 2cm x D 35.4 cm
  • Aft Centre locker: W 50.8 cm x H 2cm x D 41.5 cm
  • Aft Port locker: W 72.4 cm x H 2cm x D 35.4 cm
  • Fwd Port locker: W 72.5 cm x H 2cm x D 41.5 cm

A set of panels was needed that I could replace the custom cut decking locker tops with. I set about trying to source teak replacements (knowing this would be expensive but needs must as a mutiny was on the cards!).

I enquired around a variety of teak suppliers and surprisingly there was nobody at the time willing to entertain the challenge. There was one exception and that was KJ Howells. However, they mentioned that maximum thickness they could supply was 6 or 9mm as this was the standard size. I re-measured and realised that even 9mm thickness would just look odd.

I thought I was stuck with the decking until I visited the Southampton 2012 boat show.

Whilst browsing the different supplier stands I happened across the Permateek stand and noticed some of the demonstration applications of Synthetic Teak.  This step was the example that sparked the idea.
The seed of an idea

This was what my locker tops needed!

If they could fabricate a step maybe they could fabricate my locker tops? It turns out they could. Permateek not only supply the Synthetic Teak but they also have a range of edges and nosing’s that are unique to their product. By mounting the Synthetic Teak onto waterproofed, PVC backed ply panels and applying the edging they are able to create what looks like to me a very solid piece of teak.

Now not everyone likes Synthetic Teak. However, I couldn’t be fussy about this. The facts were; nobody else could supply what I needed to my dimensions, I wanted something maintenance free, something that looked good and stopped injuring my crew! I wasn’t sure whether this would work as I’ve not seen any other boat of the Hustler vintage with Synthetic Teak so this was a shot in the dark as to whether it would work or not.  I pondered; I looked at my crew looking at me…. Mutiny Cap’n…. This was the answer!

Post Southampton boat show I contacted Mike Jordan from Permateek who supplied me a quote for what I required.  To supply all the cockpit locker tops to my measurements in traditional colour Synthetic Teak with black caulking he quoted 480GBP including VAT.

Once pricing was agreed, quotes sent etc. It took Mike around 5 weeks to make the panels and during the build he sent me photographs of the work in progress.
Lid work in progress

Work in progress after 4 weeks

As I’m on the East coast Mike was able to bring the panels round on his way to another job (The Permateek guys are very busy).  I was absolutely delighted with them. They were perfect.

Fitting the Synthetic Teak Panels
For this job I waited till around April, 4 weeks prior to launch as I wanted to increase my chances of working in dry (preferably sunny) weather. I would be removing the cockpit lockers.  The last thing I wanted was rain when I was trying to put things together.

1. Remove The Locker Lid
In order to remove the lids I had to open them, hold them open and unscrew the screws. This is when I found that my locker hinges had intermittent missing screws along all the hinges. Why? Was there a shortage of screws? After unscrewing a few of the screws (to make sure they weren’t odd sizes) the local Chandler relieved me of some more pounds for lots of replacement screws.


2. Remove Old Decking Strips
Fresh from the Chandler I set to work removing the old decking strips. This involved unscrewing just four screws behind every locker lid. Inserting a sturdy screwdriver under one plank and tugging at the first plank. The old Sikaflex (I hope it was that) just ripped away with the plank. I then cleaned the locker lid and scraped away any remaining Sikaflex.With the lids cleaned I offered up the replacement panel against the lid to check it would fit in the space that was left. I also offered up the panel to the cockpit locker space to check the dimensions were correct.


3. Check Alignment & Drill Holes to Attach Panel to Locker Lid
I drilled holes, where holes already existed in the locker lid into to the panel (Note the random nature of the placement of some of the original holes!), I also drilled new holes into the panel and the locker lid where required for extra strength. You can see from the photos I didn’t need the underside covering with Synthetic Teak, due to screwing the panels down to the locker lid.I screwed the panel down to the locker lid first to ensure that the panel was straight, my drilling was correct and it would hold securely after applying Sikaflex. The last thing I needed was to have Sikaflex everywhere and the panel askew.


4. Attach Hinges & Check Fitting
I then attached the hinges to the panels with much longer screws than was originally there. I then conducted another dummy fitting to make sure all was straight with the hinges and that the screws would screw in correctly.Satisfied it all fit together I unscrewed everything for now it was time for the Sikaflex. At this point the Sun decided it wasn’t going to stay out and rain beckoned – Typical! No matter, the work continued I was too involved to stop.


5. Apply Sikaflex & Screw Panel To Lid
I applied plenty of Sikaflex, as I wanted to ensure these stayed down for another 20 odd years. I then carefully offered the panel up using the screw holes as a guide. Injected more Sikaflex into the screw holes and tightened everything up.


6. Re-Attach Locker Lid
I attached the locker back onto the boat and there it is, a replacement Synthetic Teak cockpit locker lid ready to go. It should be noted that when putting the lid back on it does get very heavy when trying to balance the lid, screw the bracket on and keep everything straight simultaneously. I found crew assistance at this point was essential (thanks to first mate Angela there!)

I repeated this same process for all the other seats over the course of a couple of weekends.  It took roughly two to three hours per seat depending on how much needed to be cleaned from the locker lids. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep checking what your doing. Measure, check, fit and undo repeatedly for each stage. It’s a bit laborious but the results are worth it and it saves you a lot money by doing it yourself.

The Finished Result
As you can see the difference is night and day.  I love the feeling of the Synthetic Teak, it’s so much better than the decking and I wouldn’t hesitate to use Synthetic Teak again.  I have no affiliation to Permateek other than being a very satisfied customer and I found there service second to none.





Hariette B view from the mast

View from aloft

2013 Season Update
It was our first season with the replacement cockpit lids and they were perfect. They were warm and comfortable no matter what the weather. They stood up well to all the rigours of daily life on board. The locker lids were sturdy and no special care was given to them as it’s a working area. I managed to spill Red wine, BBQ meat juices, Diesel and Sun tan lotion on them (I sat on a bottle of lotion that exploded all over the cockpit) and they didn’t stain at all. They look great and they really set the cockpit off and most important of all I have a very happy crew.
HOA NOTE: The article above is related to works that the author has carried out to their own boat at their own risk. This article is intended to share the authors experience with other readers only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive step by step instruction guide. Anyone choosing to do any work as a result of reading this article do so at their own risk. If there is any doubt about whether to conduct work on your own boat call a professional to assist.