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Toe rail attachment

Apr 27, 2015
15
Hunter 37 Cutter Perth Amboy
I had to remove a damaged toe rail on my 37C. Is there a torque setting for the tightening the bolts when reattaching?
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,584
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Never have seen a “torque setting”. Note that the toe rail is not holding the boat together. That is done by the adhesive applied when the deck and hull are joined.

Are your bolts going in to a buried plate with threaded holes or thru the deck to nuts?
If buried plate then snug but not so tight that you strip the bolt or threaded hole.
If nuts, then an ooch more than snug. Be sure there are backing washers and do not crush the fiberglass as you tighten the bolt and nuts.
 
Apr 27, 2015
15
Hunter 37 Cutter Perth Amboy
Thank you for your reply...
The tow rail is bolted with nuts and washers. As for the adhesive, I'm using a poly sulfide cmpd to seal the rail. I was just curious because too much pressure can deform the washer and damage the fiberglass. I will be going to heave washers to ensure a solid backing.
 
Jun 8, 2004
888
C&C Frigate 36 St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scoti
The original sealant used by Hunter for the toerail was butyl. It is also the preferred sealant for chainplates. Marine grade butyl tape is a great product. Check out Maine Sail's website https://marinehowto.com/ or search on this web site for more info.
 
Apr 27, 2015
15
Hunter 37 Cutter Perth Amboy
Jim you are correct...
I had bought 2 rolls of the stuff. I said poly sulfide without thinking. Must of had something else on my mind. Sorry for the confusion.
 

Johnb

.
Jan 22, 2008
1,194
Hunter 37-cutter Richmond CA
Never have seen a “torque setting”. Note that the toe rail is not holding the boat together. That is done by the adhesive applied when the deck and hull are joined.
If his is put together the same as my HC37 the bolts most certainly hold the hull and deck together, they just happen to go through the toe rail as well.
 
Jun 8, 2004
888
C&C Frigate 36 St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scoti
If his is put together the same as my HC37 the bolts most certainly hold the hull and deck together, they just happen to go through the toe rail as well.
John, I would agree that the bolts strengthen the hull-to-deck joint but I submit that the joint is actually bonded with 5200 or similar. If you remove all the bolts and the entire toe rail (I have) you will find that the hull and deck remain bonded together. You will find that there are a few screws every few feet that were used to maintain the joint alignment during assembly, but the hull to deck joint is definitely adhesive-bonded.
 
Jun 5, 2010
990
Hunter 25 Burlington NJ
If 'the toerail is not holding the boat together' it's because it's 'sealed' with butyl tape. If you used 5200, it would in fact be holding the boat together.

In Best Boats to Build or Buy, Ferenc Mate applauded our three-dimensional fiberglass flange on the C44s. He noted that, in theory, the three faces of flange (horizontal) and bulwark and hull topsides (both sort of vertical) are all held in compound curves and laminated together so that none of them can become distorted without complete disintegration, which would take vastly many times the load rating of any other structural element on the boat. In empirical fact, I know of exactly ONE Cherubini 44 on which the flange was ever significantly damaged, and that involved a much larger vessel (barge or something) dragging into the C44 during a hurricane and then holding the C44 against a very handy concrete bulkhead to (attempt to) crush the C44 between itself and the bulkhead. The rigging pulled out and the rig came down, but the boat remained floating and underwent restoration at the shop. This is also the only C44 I have ever seen that sustained any puncture or fatigue of the actual hull; and for related reasons.

The three-faced aluminum toerail on production sailboats approximates the function of the fiberglass flange and bulwark. Properly bonded to the hull flange, topsides and deck (and not just sealed to keep water out), this becomes a phenomenally strong structural member that permits incredible holding power for anything fastened through it (like my shroud U-bolts and stanchion bases), prevents hull and deck distortion, prevents leaks, and resists damage due to collisions, groundings, and rather rude close encounters with even stunningly severe and stubborn concrete quays. (Note the words I use: 'phenomenal', 'incredible', 'stunning'. These are known as understatements.) Short of lifting the boat 30 feet in the air and dropping it squarely onto its beam ends, I will (perhaps arrogantly) submit that if you've sustained any bending of the toerail or crushing of your topsides at the level of the deck, your toerail is probably only (tenatively) sealed with butyl tape or (worse!) silicone and not structurally bonded to the fiberglass with polyurethane, as it should be by design. I can't answer for what Hunter did after about 1978; but one reason I bought the particular HIN I did was because after 37 years (at the time) that thing was still structurallly bonded with 5200 and NOT LEAKING (and that still hasn't changed).

Short answer to the question:
  • If you use butyl tape, torque specs are meaningless. You can 'tighten' it as hard as you like and the butyl will just keep squeezing flatter till it's microscopically thin. The bolts will never be truly 'tight'; and in this case lock washers, thread locker and locknuts are a must lest they rattle loose(r).
  • If you use polysulphide, prepare for it to not bond to the metal well. Polysulphide was meant for wooden boats. It does not work well with nonporous surfaces.
  • If you use a hybrid (Life Seal), this is pretty good. Tighten to 'first grunt' using a ratchet of about 6" and let it alone after that.
  • If you use a polyurethane, ditto; but it will provide more strength than Life Seal will; otherwise they are similar in this application.
  • If you use silicone, SHAME ON YOU. :badbad: See the butyl tape answer; but add in the complete inability, when you discover how terrible silicone is in this application, to be able to ever replace it with anything else due to the slimy residue it will have left in this extremely vital structual bond. And it loves mold. And it breaks down in seawater. And... but I have posted on this before -
https://forums.sailboatowners.com/index.php?threads/silicone-removal.189943/#post-1435386
 
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