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Message board > Care & maintenance > Alternative to wooden rope fender rails?

Message 10 of 10
Posted by member Regent on Sunday 24 March 2024

Hi Kate,
I can be contacted at mebackhouse@clara.co.uk.
Kind regards,

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Message 9 of 10
Posted by member Kate on Saturday 23 March 2024

Hi all, I’m not sure having anything other than an original rope support would devalue a boat- not like when restoring a classic car to original spec.
Boats always get upgraded over their lifetime, from fittings, to electronics, engines etc.
We did consider the stainless steel and anodised aluminum route but these have no flex and if ‘bumped’ might cause more damage to the hull.

So, the uPVC is not a plastic and as such won’t go brittle or suffer with uv degredation for many many years- after all, these are used in home windows and doors for many years.

Wood- yes we’d rather keep original if we could- Martin (Regent) you mentioned you had some available and we would be interested for sure.
But, we couldn’t find you in the members pages(?)
I did email a Martin, but it wasn’t you- so apologies to that gentleman (sorry).

Regards, Kate

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Message 8 of 10
Posted by member colin and angela on Tuesday 19 March 2024

Nice looking boat Martin, see the support rails but no rope fender? Indeed sealant should always be applied in applications like this.
Just put the 4th coat of teak oil on our wheel house and cabin roof handrails and it has turned them from silvery to a rich colour, took a lot of preparation first though, indeed if only owners treated their wood trims regularly, they would last much longer, I am assuming these rails are the originals and the boat was built in 1986, so not too bad. I diont know how much longer they will survive though, I have been looking at replacements in stainless steel!


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Message 7 of 10
Posted by member Regent on Tuesday 19 March 2024

I forgot to mention…a few coats of teak oil. And when fitting, be sure to put a little sealant on the screws on the inside of the hull. You need to peel the carpet back to access the fixing screws. Martin.

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Message 6 of 10
Posted by member Regent on Tuesday 19 March 2024

Dear All, If you look at the threads from July 2022 backwards, I had sets made up by a local joiner according to original specifications (see my posts August and September 2019). I have a spare set for sale if someone wants them. You will see them fitted to my boat Regent ( see boat for sale listing ). Send me a mail or call me if you’re interested. The originals lasted 20 years. Martin.

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Message 5 of 10
Posted by member Robert Sneddon on Monday 18 March 2024

Hello Kate
Before jumping in regarding alternatives I would suggest pricing up new wooden supports to see how much it would cost from a local (wooden) boat repairer to make. After a few years of repairing my Pilots handrails I got four new ones made up using Oroko. They will last for many many years. I also fitted a synthetic fender rope from Rope Services and in my opinion you would not visually notice any difference.
Kind regards

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Message 4 of 10
Posted by member colin and angela on Monday 18 March 2024

Hi Kate and Anina,

As far as devaluing the Hardy, some may argue that, whereas others may argue that a Hardy without a rope fender and supports is already devalued, I think I may be one of them!
I am personally not averse to thinking 'out of the box' if I can see a better way of doing things.
Our Hardy MS18 came without rope or supports and it's on the list of things to do.

I don't think the pvc angle will work for various reasons, fitting a straight 90 degree angle to a curved hull, will inevitably result in the distortion of the plastic and stressing of the corner, over time, that could result in failure.

The suggestion of a firm knocking up some plastic equivalents of the wood supports isn't likely an option as the plastic resin wood composites usually only come in 'standard sizes' and anything outside that is unlikely and would be costly. The type I have used in the past has a wood grain affect finish and once cut, this is lost and the composite structure revealed. It could be that a suitable sized piece could be cut at an angle to replicate the shape of the originals, then the cut side could be fitted to the hull leaving the wood grain effect on the outsides.
Normally the original supports are fixed through the hull from the inside of the hull into the supports. My experience of the composite materials is that this type of fixing would/could fail over time and it would be better to 'fix through' the hull and support with suitable stainless fixings.

The wood/resin composites can be obtained in many colours including white but my preference would be the teak colour, (correctly done, it would look identical to original from a distance) in cold temperatures they can be brittle and will shatter if dropped on a hard surface, normal wood has a fibrous/cellular composition and wouldn't do this, don't ask me how I know that!
I had thought about resin/wood composite for our Hardy but I have come up with a different solution using stainless steel (marine grade) cable clamps fitted onto the hull with stainless fittings. The MS18 rope fender is in my opinion just a cosmetic feature and will just be there to hide the rather untidy deck/upper hull interface.
The fore and aft supports were I believe attached through the upper deck edge using rot proof string/cord, mine still has the holes and I believe these were original. Long stainless steel zip ties could also be used but wouldn’t be my preference.

I will be using the rot resistant 'Hardy' hemp rope rather than the natural hemp rope as it will outlast the original by up to 4 times as long, at least..
Again, I don't want to upset any Hardy 'purists' but it's our boat and this method will look better for much longer and in my opinion is a better job. I am not suggesting to anyone how they should resolve this issue on their Hardy, just how I propose to do ours should I ever get around to it and I would stress that this is not a ‘cheap’ option and will likely cost more than the original!

Cheers, Col.

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Message 3 of 10
Posted by member Annina on Saturday 16 March 2024

Can you find a plastic firm that will knock you up a replica few lengths of moulding, plastic right angle good way to devaluing boat. Also not sure how that plastic trim is going to stand up to UV in a few years

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Message 2 of 10
Posted by member Kate on Thursday 14 March 2024

* We were considering a upvc angle.
We’ve got a white hull so can use white but there are other colours available.
We just don’t want to be doing this job again in a few years.
Apologies to any purists ????

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Message 1 of 10
Posted by member Kate I Dance on Thursday 14 March 2024

We have just removed a rather sodden/rotten rope fender off our (new to us) Pilot 20SE and are looking into getting a synthetic replacement.
However, all four of the wooden support rails are somewhat 'soft' and need replacing too and we we wondering if anyone has used a non-rotting alternative?

And if we do have to go with wooden support rails- what type of preservative should we treat it with?
Any help truly appreciated.

Many thanks,


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