Catamaran Ariki is 13 Years Old

Catamaran Ariki is 13 years old. The last scheduled repair was 5 years ago. Cracks and flaws in the wood were mostly all removed. Catamaran was ashore for a whole month. Repair proved to be a hard work, boat was ashore and sitting on hot alsphalt in august, the hottest month of the year.

Two years ago we also docked here, in Izola shipyard. For two days we docked onto a floating dock, took down the mast and repainted it. Emil was operating the crane. He is the one accompanying us, ever since we came here, to Izola shipyard, 13 years ago.

Catamaran Ariki is 13 years old

Today here is Emil’s co-worker Matjaž. Emil is on holiday. Despite his age, he is still avid surfer. They make interesting team: Crane operator Matjaž is lifting captain Matjaž and Ariki, who Emil jokingly likes to call »the fastest paddle boat of Adriatic.« from the water.

We are well-acquainted now. Ariki was completed and launched here and all scheduled repairs were done here. This former shipyard in Izola really is ideal for such work. The whole area is fenced and secure. There aren’t any annoying passers-by with their questions and comments.  It is also cheaper than the marinas.

This year, the mast must be sandeded and painted. For this reason, we decided to take it down. There’s also a crack in the cockpit, near the engine frame. It needs to be sealed. For this reason we need to remove the middle crossbeam. Nothing wrong with that, because it needs to be fixed as well.

About Catamaran ARIKI

Catamaran ARIKI is 8,20 m long, 4,60 m wide and weighs just 700 kg. It has almost 30 square metres of usable deck. There’s only 60 cm of it under water, it’s mast stands 10 m tall above the sea surface. Just like entire catamaran, the cockpit is also light. It was never weighed. At the first glance, I would say, it weighs approximately 50 kg. Eventhough it is not heavy, it is quite cumbersome. It is 2,5 m long, 2,2 m wide, and it stands 30 cm tall. To disassemble this huge and cumbersome rectangular »box« we will need help of multiple people. 

General service

Every boat repair, especially of wooden boats, begins with sand blasting. The hardest and the dusties are the first days of work. We need to tackle every little suspicious crack and sand all the gray areas to, healthy and yellow wood. Even if little gray line is left out and sealed with epoxy and paint, it will propagate further. It may seem that the timber outside is fine, without cracks, but it is a disaster waiting to happen, because wood is crumbling inside.

This happened to friend Joe, who owns catamaran Tiki 21. For his crossbeam he used industrial wood of bad quality that he bought in shopping centre. On this five years old boat, he rested with his arm against the crossbeam, when suddenly it cracked and crumbled away.


There isn’t alot of damage to the hull, so we can get ready for plastering and painting.

Damage to the crossbeam isn’t so little. Few pieces of wood needed to be replaced at the last crossbeam.

Epoxy lamination

Ariki’s thickest usable rowing is 220 g/m2. I have never seen anyone work on more difficult gramatures, so I asked a friend, who is also named Matjaž, to help me with the crack near the engine frame. He is professional for epoxy laminating. He strongly enhanched both sides of the engine frame, adding multiple layers of rowings, with grammage of 1000g/m2.

I will make a seperate video about laminating and procedure Matjaž is using. It was something new for me. Maybe it is going to be for you also…

Underwater part of Ariki needs to be prepared for antifoling painting.  On Arki we use the one that’s normally used for big ships. Two layers of paint were enough for five years. We are going to add another two this time.

Underwater part

Underwater part is critical just at the lower part, near the bottom. The first two thirds of the keel are secured with inox cover, but the last two metres in front of the controls are only covered with wood and coating. Ariki  is the type of the boat, that you can safely run aground on a soft underbed. Sometimes we accidentally drive over a rock …  and this causes the damage.

Landing on the beach

I used to land with a bow on the beaches. I no longer do this. It doesn’t cause any serious damage. The antifoiling however, gets scraped off, and as such it is  growing ground for tube worms and shells … The longer you hesitate with renovation, the more damage there is. 

Painting the boat

For painting we two-component polyester paint. First, the suitable basic spread is applied to sand-blasted epoxy, then we add two layers of paint on top.

At first glance it looks like an easy job. But in reallity, it is not at all. There are strong winds in Izola and dust and debris are being blown on freshly painted surfaces. That’s just one of the problems. Another one is strong sun, which makes paint dry too fast. The third, always present problem represent the air bubbles that appear on the freshly painted surface. They are the easiest to fix. You just need to gently go again over entire surface with a roller, and bubbles magically disappear.

Work on the mast

Work on the mast

Painting the mast

So far, the mast has been painted with two layers of epoxy and two layers of clearcoat. Every two years we tear it down, sand it and paint it again, from the scratch. It should be done every year, after two it is already in poor condition.  Epoxy and clearcoat are sadly not UV resistant.  Drops of dew, through which strong sun is able to shine through, are cause of the most damage. Those water drops function like a lens. In the colorless lacquer under them, tiny, to the naked eye invisible cracks, are formed, and they are entry point for the moisture entering the wood. The paint starts to peel off, the wood under it turns gray and mould.

Initially, Arki was mostly made of natural wood. Eventually
we painted the individual parts in white. We also need to paint the mast. It
will not be as pretty anymore, but it means there will be much less work with
it in the future.

Assembling a catamaran

Assembling Arki usually takes two days. We have never managed to do it in just one. For this reason we dedicate the penultimate day for this task. Ariki’s crossbeams are, against one’s expectation, not attached to the hull with the screws. Ariki is modeled after traditional Polynesian double canoes, and it is tied up with ropes. There are 12 bonds attached to 3 crossbeams. On each there are four. It is not an easy task. We have to use the right ropes, arrange them properly  and make them very, very tight.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.