It's not often that Lulu and I hire someone to do any work for us. Matter of fact I can count the times we have without using any fingers at all. But, we decided to bite the bullet this time.
The Cetol on our caprails and the side trim was looking pretty funky. The rest of the wood looked good enough to just scuff it up and re-apply a coat but the caprails, bowsprit and side trim really needed to be stripped. YUCK! After watching a fellow boater have some local guys do his woodwork we decided to take that route as well.
We hired Luis and his helper Pelé to strip and sand these areas. They worked at it more or less steadily for 4 days, just finishing up today. Was it a bargain? Depends on what you compare it to. We ended up paying $3500 pesos (~$254.00 US) for the job. We provided everything except the scrapers: heat gun, extension cords, masking tape, sandpaper, and sander. Considering the hours they worked and the fact that Luis was gone a lot of the time and only Pelé was working, I figure we paid them about $7.81 (US) per hour. Probably a pretty decent wage down here. So, it certainly wasn't a steal but at least it wasn't a rip-off nor as much as we'd have to pay in the States. Was it easy? It was for us, can't speak for Luis and Pelé. Would we do it again. More than likely.
We've decided to take the path of least resistance strategy for teak care this time around. Basically you just leave it alone. Give it an occasional scrubbing and maybe wipe on a little oil from time to time to make ourselves feel better, but that's it. Bare teak can take care of itself very well, being a naturally oily wood. It'll turn gray like our decks (which have never had any finish on them) but, considering the lack of work involved, we can learn to love gray. That's how the boat was when we bought her. We will still have to apply Cetol to the bowsprit since it's Douglas fir and to the rudder cheeks since they're something else which isn't teak. We've also decided to keep the hatches and other inboard wood, be it teak or not, Cetoled. It doesn't get near the wear that the caprails and rubrail get and the finish seems to be holding up very well.