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Project: Sole Panels


Because the Catalina factory did not varnish the bottoms of the teak/holly sole panels on (some? all?) C34s, they are vulnerable to water damage should the bilge overflow. If your sole panels are stained, here's how to replace them.

sole-panel.jpg (5060 bytes)This picture doesn't begin to do justice to the beautiful results of this project - the rich, deep, glossy teak makes the boat look brand-new.

You can get 4 x 8 panels of 3/8" teak with holly stripes from a number of marine teak suppliers (such as Yukon Lumber in Norfolk, VA).  The C34's sole panels are designed to be cut out of exactly two 4 x 8 sheets.  Remove the old panels and use them as templates for cutting.

Because the edges need to be cut with great precision and also need rounding, you should not attempt this project unless you have the necessary skills and equipment. I hired a master woodworker who charged me $300 for the job.

NOTE: Be sure to finish the bottoms as well as the tops. This will help prevent unsightly water damage.

To finish the sole panels, I did the following:

  • Applied one coat of semi-gloss marine varnish mixed 50-50 with mineral spirits to both sides.
  • Applied three additional coats of semi-gloss marine varnish to top, with each coat followed by wet sanding with 600 sandpaper.
  • Final coat wet-sanded with 600 and 1200 sandpaper.
  • 3 coats of polyurethane applied over varnish (both sides).

At the end of each sailing season, remove the sole panels and store them away from the boat. This will prevent water damage from a bilge that overflows while the boat is unattended.

Important: The opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors to this page, and not those of the Catalina 34 National Association or Catalina Yachts, Inc. Additionally, this material has not been reviewed by Catalina Yachts, Inc. for technical accuracy. This page's maintainer cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information or the desirability of suggested modifications or upgrades. Please obtain assistance from a competent marine mechanic or boatyard prior to making any significant modifications to your vessel.   


Last modified by Phil Imhof, Wednesday, August 11, 2004 . Copyright 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.