Rub Rail Riddle

Dinghies, day sailers, world cruisers. Many small sailboats make ideal rowboats or low-speed power boats.

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Rub Rail Riddle

Post by pburlingame »

I am in the final stages of construction of my first boat (Saboteer). I've been struggling with the problem of what to use for a rub rail for the past several months. The boat is made of doug fir plywood and white oak. The inside is two tone (stained plywood and natural oak) and the outside is nicely painted. I know the best looking, most traditional would be wood rails.

Another part of me knows that I'll be sailing the battens out of this thing. This part of me would prefer something that could take some abuse during docking / transport without having to be re-varnished often. From what I've found online this means a Taco Metal flexible vinyl rub rail. Along with looks, the other downside to this option is the cost. Those kits run from $200-$500 (a lot of money for a 10' sailing dinghy).

Any suggestions on other materials or methods out there??

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Rub Rail Riddle

Post by Bill Edmundson »

I used solid vinyl on a small boat. Seems to work well.

Mini -Tug, KH Tahoe 19 & Bartender 24 - There can be no miracle recoveries without first screwing up.
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Re: Rub Rail Riddle

Post by tsmitherman »

On my Bo-Jest, I bought some "UV resistant" plastic electircal conduit at Lowes, in 3/4 and 1" size. I marked a straight line on each piece and set up my bandsaw to cut exactly in the middle of each piece. Then I screwed and glued the halves of the 3/4 pieces on. after the glue was set, I backed out the screws and placed the halves of the 1" pieces on top and glued and screwed them down on top of the first pieces, countersinking the screws to be flush.

This makes a strong rubrail and only cost a few bucks. The main cost is for the screws, which I put about every 6 inches. That may have been a little overkill.

I also painted the top layer black before screwing it down.

So far I've had no problems with this rubrail, and it was certainly a lot cheaper than the commercially available ones, and it was much easier to install than a solid wooden rubrail.
36' 1969 Willard Aft-Pilothouse Trawler

Knot-So-Fast (BoJest) SOLD

"It's amazing what one can do when one doesn't know what one can't do." - Garfield

Rob Myran
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Location: Viroqua, Wisconsin

Re: Rub Rail Riddle

Post by Rob Myran »

How about rope?

I just made a Gunter sail for an old 12 foot sailing rowing boat of unknown origin. The rub rail was mahogany with a groove in it to seat a length of rope. The rope was held in place with screws buried into the twists. The ends were a decorative coil. The rope can easily be replaced periodically.

It is something I am thinking of doing on my Minuet.
Another fine mess I've gotten myself into!

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