Rubbing Strakes / Gunwales replacement – Help
21/10/2019 at 9:38 am #19360
I’ve recently bought a fibreglass GP14 which has been exposed to the elements
The rubbing strake has rotted and needs replacing
Think its a teak section of overall dimensions 1 1/4″ x 3/4″ – (see diagram) held in place by rivets through a metal strip around the top.
I’m wondering where the best place to source the replacement wood is ( or should I be looking at rubber/plastic?)
Any tips on replacement please
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21/10/2019 at 10:00 am #19363
I am tacitly assuming that strict compliance with Class Rules is not an issue for a boat of this age. However if you intend to compete in Championships or major Open Meetings then you need to check against the Rules (available on this site, in the Members’ Area).
On that basis:
If you decide to replace with wood it will potentially look great, but it will require ongoing maintenance. That would be my own choice, and I would willingly accept the burden of maintenance, but that is not necessarily everyone’s choice.
Robbins of Bristol http://www.robbins.co.uk are the headline suppliers of marine timbers, with a very wide range available, and they will supply by carrier to anywhere within the UK. You may perhaps be lucky enough to have a local supplier, either in the form of a timber merchant dealing with marine hardwoods or in the form of a boatbuilder, but that is a matter of where you happen to live, and your own local knowledge.
Rubber or plastic D-shaped fendering strip is an alternative option (but may not necessarily be compliant with the Class Rules, not least for reasons of dimensions). It will never look as good, but it will require less maintenance, and it is arguably more functional because it is less vulnerable to impact. A quick internet search brings up a number of suppliers:
Hope this helps,
21/10/2019 at 12:06 pm #19366
I’d contacted Robbins and the quote was around £240 which I though a little excessive in comparison to the value of the boat, hence seeking alternatives. I was hoping others may have done the same repair and be able to share their suppliers info – but I now suspect its a rarer operation than I thought.
I’d best look at the class rules too
21/10/2019 at 2:32 pm #19367
Around 15 years ago I was in my erstwhile local chandler, and happened to comment that I was spending more on chandlery than I had paid for the boat. That is not an unusual occurrence, at least in my life, but I liked his reply; “Welcome to the world of sailing!”
One low-cost option if you feel the value of the boat is only very little might be to use cheap timber (preferably hardwood) from your local DIY store, protect it as best you can, and regard it as sacrificial. Replace it again when necessary.
Rubber or plastic D-fender seems also to be expensive.
21/10/2019 at 2:55 pm #19368
Do not look at me, my restoration of Spark probably cost me twice what I paid for her, and that was $2000 USD for a boat built in 1964. I am not known for my sound financial decisions, I own a land rover, two fiats, and four boats.
21/10/2019 at 4:01 pm #19369
> I am not known for my sound financial decisions, I own a land rover,
Too true; but if you need to be able to tow a couple of tons on any surface, including beaches, muddy harbour bottoms, and slippery slipways, as well as on roads, there are few vehicles better. I own a trailer-sailer yacht, therefore I drive a Land Rover.
05/11/2019 at 8:47 pm #19428
Sorry to be so late joining the conversation. With all due respect to the craftsmen commentators, the expression about sows’ ears and silk purses comes to mind. An old fibreglass boat is unlikely to be restorable to become the object of beauty that is a wooden dinghy. If you also accept that the gunwale is a protective and thus sacrificial component, there’s no need to spend excessively on appearance. Finished to a profile to comply with the rules, coated with epoxy all over before fixing, and bedded in a suitable sealant to prevent water ingress behind, even a cheaper softwood could do the job adequately.
12/11/2019 at 3:27 pm #19443
I was once advised to use Ash as a rubbing rail. It’s a hardwood, it’s cheap, and it can be left oil rubbed. Yes, it rots, but that is what the oil is for,
As for value, boats are a terrible investment. If you think of any boat as such, I am not going to take stock tips from you. Basically, do what makes you happy, life is too short to think in dollars and cents.
14/11/2019 at 9:35 pm #19446
You could try taking a piece of your old rubbing strip to your local timber supplier. They may be able to shape you lengths of a matching profile. Ask for sapele if you want to coat it in epoxy, iroko if you want to oil it.
19/12/2019 at 9:38 pm #19576
I replaced my rubbing strakes last winter on my plastic GP. I used oak 25mm x 15mm from B&Q, two lengths on either side bevelled together about the fair leads. I bedded them on 2mm rubber strip from eBay (glued) and fastened with brass m5 nuts and bolts (eBay). A real pig to reach the bow. I held it in place with screws into the fibreglass as temporary measure. A hole and plug tool makes a decent job of covering the bolts.
I tried a repair previously with iroko but found it very difficult to bend with my drainpipe/steamer method.
I don’t worry too much about class rules on my 1970’s boat just like it to look presentable and not splinter my backside.
I keep reapplying the oil and it looks fine.
The boat has to live outside so I’ve covered the rubbing strake with the grey pipe insulation foam under the cover to help it over-winter. Not keen on varnishing much.
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