This page was stolen from: http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostsecret8.asp

I stole it because the information on here is a God send for anyone with a HC/UP 36, and I would never want this to get lost. But please don't think I was the one who wrote this or did this awesome research; I'm just trying to give credit where credit was due.

History of the Union 36 and others:

Originally conceived in the early 1970s by the founder of Hans Christian Yachts, a Long Beach, California high school teacher by the name of John Edwards, a design was commissioned from Bob Perry for a thirty-four footer to be built at the Union Ship Co. in Taipei, and marketed in the states as the "Hans Christian 34." Before the first 34 was completed, Edwards wanted to stretch it to a 36 footer, so he had the yard build a second set of molds, adding about a foot in the center and a foot aft of the cockpit. A small number of HC 34's were built and it's believed some 10 or 12 HC 36's were built and sold before 1975 or '76, when Edwards had a falling out with the Union Ship Co. and took his business to another Taiwan yard. When Edwards tried to move the molds to the new facility, he was advised by Union that they held ownership of the molds and would continue to build the boat and market it themselves as the "Union 36." It's fairly clear that Perry received very little in the form of royalties from either the 34 or 36 - Chinese business practices being sometimes referred to as "broken promises" and "double-dealing." Edwards went on to build the HC 38's, which suffered from poor quality control, and the better managed HC 43's and Christina's.

Union Ship Co. built a few 36's before changing their name to Union Yacht Co. and entering into various distributor arrangements on the west coast where the boat was marketed under names chosen by the importer. HC 36's can be identified by a hull number beginning with XSA and Union 36's with a hull number of USC or UYC. It's believed that approximately 160 36's were built after the exit of Edwards, with the last boats being sold in late 1987 and early '88. The following note from Bob Perry is considered to be in the public domain as it as been posted to several websites and passed around among Union 36 owners, and is reproduced here with the acknowledgment of it's authorship.

Message from Bob Perry:

I'll just tell you the story and let you pass it on. I've only met one 36 owner who actually had the story right. (I questioned him at the dock without telling him who I was!) Before I designed the Valiant 40 I designed the Hans Christian 54. HC battled with the yard and that boat became the CT 54 and over 100 were built. Shortly after that project began, I was asked by HC to design a 34'er. I did. Time went by and I heard nothing of my 34'er but I was getting consistent reports of a Robert Perry "36'er" being built in Taiwan.

Finally, I called HC in Taiwan and asked what was going on. They told me they used my drawings for the 34'er and expanded them into a 36'er. I said great and told them I was looking forward to the double royalties. HC informed me that I would not be getting any royalties on the 36'er. (At the time (1973) I was working for another designer and bringing home $173 a week. I said, fine screw me over, but I'll be back. I came back with the Tayana 37 design aimed directly at the HC 36 and I think you know how many TY 37's they built, over 600! I had my revenge.

 Meanwhile, as usual, HC (actually a Long Beach shop teacher named John Edwards) had his typical war with the yard and he lost control of the HC 36 project. The yard (Union Yacht Co) went on to continue building the boat but they marketed it under whatever name the individual broker wanted so that's why you find the same boat with so many names. It's all the same boat. They even tried to pay me royalties in order to get me to lay claim to the design, but it wasn't true so I told them they could say "based on a hull design by RHP." My arrangement with the yard did not work as they did not want me to tell the correct story. I remained friends with the yard, Bengt Ni was the yard owner, but we never did business together. His son Eric marketed the boats in San Francisco for some time and continued to connect my name to the boat and even paid a few royalties.

So there you have it:

Hans Christian 36
Mariner Polaris 36
Union 36
EO 36
All the same boat.

Mao Ta 36 is a variation on the same hull but built by a different yard. I know this boat well. I made a point to get acquainted with it when my name began to be connected with it. It's a very good boat and in every way very similar to most of my early double enders. It's a bastard child of mine and I will continue to feel like the father.


Losing The Teak Decks

Like the majority of Taiwan-built boats from the 70's and 80's, Secret O' Life was delivered with what many refer to as, "a forest of teak," due to the great use of the wood: All interior joinery, the cockpit and combings, cap rail and bulwarks, and the decks. While certainly esthetically pleasing, the wood requires a high degree of maintenance and in the case of the weather decks, can be a source of frustration due to potential and actual leakage. (To anyone owning a teak planked overlay decked boat who says, "My decks don't leak!", I only will respond: "You just haven't seen the leaks yet.") After owning and living aboard for a number of years in the Pacific Northwest, and then cruising in the tropics for two seasons, I had reached my level of frustration and decided to take what many would suggest to be drastic action. After all, the choices were clear: either succumb to the constant maintenance (and still be unsure of the integrity of the decks) or remove the teak decking and restore the original fiberglass beneath. After my year 2000 voyage from Mexico to Hawaii and San Francisco, I was determined not to undertake another long offshore passage without first insuring that the boat had an absolute minimum of leaks. Offshore voyaging guarantees the topsides, weatherdecks and coachroof will be constantly drenched with seawater, and once out of the dryer parts of the tropics, squalls and rain add to the exposure. I had made up my mind and was determined to forge ahead.

Typically, these boats (and I include almost all the many different fiberglass boats built in Taiwan or Hong Kong) were constructed of a molded hull section which was then mated to a molded deck and coachroof section with a continuous joint at the sheer line. While this joint is ofttimes a source of concern, I am satisfied of it's integrity on my boat as produced in the Union yard, so my main concern was with the decks. When the deck/coachroof section is removed from the mold, it has in place a nicely designed, slightly raised nonskid pattern embossed in the weather decks and the coach roof, complete with colored gelcoat. It seems a shame, but the next step in finishing out the deck area (if the boat was spec'd to have teak decks, which almost all were in the years mentioned) was to grind the surface of the embossed nonskid with approximately 40 grit abrasive and then lay teak strip planking in a bed of polysulfide caulking and fasten with screws about every 12 inches. Now, the teak strip planking will vary from yard to yard, and I can only speak of what I encountered on S O' L, but the strips were 1 3/4" wide by 3/8" thick (I surmised that new, 14 years ago, the thickness may have been slightly more than 7/16") and were milled with a caulking groove to one side about 3/16" by 3/16". The fiberglass deck lay-up consists of the top surface of gelcoat, then glass cloth and matt, followed by an approximate 1/2" plywood core and then a final lay-up of cloth and matt to create a deck structure of about 1" to 1-1/4" in thickness. Naturally, the screws fastening the teak penetrate into the core section as well as any fasteners for deck hardware. Items such as deck fills and deadlight prisms obviously penetrate the entire structure of teak plank and the deck beneath. I won't go into more detail as I'm sure anyone can get the picture: a perfectly watertight, structural fiberglass deck on a boat intended for voyaging any ocean of the world has now been compromised with numerous screw holes and through holes. But I had decided to remedy the situation and further, that the job would be done on the hook in the bay at Zihuatanejo, Mexico during the dry season.

Where to begin? Many boats have a substantial amount of deck hardware fastened on top of the teak - I was fortunate in that the Union 36 has a minimum since the lifeline stanchions and mooring cleats are mounted to the bullwarks and stand above the decking. I had only the bowsprit irons, 3 deck fills, 4 hawse pipes, 2 winch bases and 5 prisms to remove prior to lifting off the teak. Well, in addition there were approximately 800 screws to remove from the decking itself. I started there by first chiseling out the plugs - 'bungs' - that were covering the screw holes. Since I didn't intend to preserve or reuse the teak, I was not particularly careful chiseling the plugs. After a small section of plugs was cleared I would begin removing screws. Some backed out easily while others were covered with a thin layer of epoxy, used to adhere the plugs, and I would first need to clear the Phillips slot of this epoxy before removing the screws. An alternate method would have been to simply start at one end of a plank and pry it up, breaking it off at the screw and then proceed to pry up the section to the next screw and on in this manner, returning later to back the screws out with a driver or vicegrips as necessary. This seemed to me to be a cruder and more messy method, and particularly since I was at anchor I was trying to maintain a fairly clean work situation on deck. Anyway, I continued with the method I'd started and was frustrated more than once with Philips slots that were difficult to clear, but in the end, all the screws were removed and I began to pry up the planking using a common flat bar, trademarked under the name "WonderBar". It was interesting in that some planking popped right up with little adhesion from the bedded caulking, while other pieces resisted to the point where I was lifting splintered pieces of only six or eight inches. Eventually, all the planking was removed and labor hours to that point tallied 20. Working in the tropical climate at 17 N latitude, I found I could put in about 3 hours of steady work per day and although I could have worked a few more hours by starting earlier, I felt I had plenty of time over a six week period to complete the entire job.

I bundled the teak planking, saving out a few of the better looking pieces for future boat projects, and took it ashore near where the cruisers deposit their garbage, and it seemed to disappear over the next few days. At this point I went to work with a scraper and a broad chisel, removing the bedded caulking that remained adhered to the fiberglas. It came up fairly easy, and I bagged it as garbage; time involved, about 12 hours. At this point, I swept and vacuumed the deck and examined the situation. It was evident from staining around screw holes as well as obvious channeled water stains near former caulked seams that the teak planking had been leaking for many years, probably starting within months or the first year following application. It takes only the most minor defect to begin water intrusion into the planking and it's almost impossible to determine the source of the leak from within the boat - similar to those pesky roof leaks on a house. Since I didn't want to contaminate the screw holes with more dirt or dust, I decided to fill them first before beginning to sand the decks. Using a penetrating epoxy, I dribbled the liquid into each hole until it was full and then watched as it mostly drained out, the epoxy obviously seeping into the core plywood and/or other voids in the deck structure. Even though, I continued with several applications of the liquid epoxy as I felt it was doing a job of sealing areas within the deck that I had no access to. I probably spent only 4 to 6 hours on this step before moving on.

Now that the interior of the holes were assumed to be sealed I used a countersink bit to drill the surface and chamfer each screw hole slightly to provide a fair and larger surface area for bonding of the filler I would use next. Even though there were 800 holes, this step went quickly and I began to fill the dimples with a thickened fiberglass surfacing putty. Using a flexible knife, it was still difficult to fill each hole proud for sanding, so over half the holes required a second filling. The filling with epoxy and the putty added another 6 hours to my time. Now it was time to sand the surface and see what further work would be required.

Since there remained a slightly raised pattern of the original nonskid areas, with adjacent depressed waterways, I wanted to preserve this pattern to use in the final finishing scheme. I began sanding these raised areas with a random orbit sander and 60 grit paper, which both leveled the filled screw holes and removed any remaining caulking in fairly short order. Since the holes were now filled, I could clean the decks by washing down, which I did with seawater, easily revealing any dimpling of screw holes or other imperfections in the deck. Primarily I found a number of places where the original grinding of the nonskid, in preparation for applying the teak, had gouged into the surface and needed to be filled in order that the deck be fair. This added another step of puttying and as I did this I also puttied any evident dimples at screw holes. This was followed by a session of sanding with 80 grit and I could begin to see the fairness in the deck. After a washdown and rinse with freshwater, I used a spray can of cheap red paint to apply a fog coat over the entire deck area. Following this with a sanding with 80 grit revealed any remaining flaws in the fairness and it was a simple matter to decide which spots were severe enough to require one more application of putty. This was done, followed by yet one more sanding with 80 grit followed by a session with 100 grit. Screw holes that had penetrated into the waterway areas were done in the same manner, sanding by hand rather than with the machine and ultimately followed up with 400 and 600 grit wet sanding since the paint scheme would be different there. I didn't keep an accurate record of my time involved in all of this fairing, but I imagine it totaled at least 30 hours.

As I had progressed through this project, I was constantly considering the final scheme of finish. My objective had been a complete job and to do this would mean painting the inside of the bulwarks, the deck areas exclusive of the raised portions, and possibly the outside of the cockpit combing and the coach house sides up to the eyebrow strip with a gloss polyurethane - then masking off the raised areas and painting with a nonskid product. While this would be my ultimate goal, I had come to the realization that it was no job to attempt while at anchor in Zihuatanejo. I had also been working on some other small projects and had encountered engine problems, putting me without a substantial source of electrical power for two weeks, which resulted in the deck project taking several weeks longer than originally anticipated. As my visa was expiring and hurricane season approaching, I needed to have the boat ready for sea in a short time. I chose then to proceed with masking of the raised portions and applied two coats of a latex based, rubber particle nonskid paint by Evercoat Co., a gallon of which I had brought from the States. This was followed by removal of the masking and reinstalling/bedding the deck hardware and deadlights. Add another 8 hours for these tasks and the total labor time is approximately 82 hours.

I hope to find a spot in the near future where I can do a proper painting of the remaining portions, but until then, the decks are watertight, the lighter color (very light gray) is much cooler in the sun and I estimate S O' L is 500 pounds lighter, based on the teak planking soaking wet on passage. I'm going sailing !!! Fairwinds