To rubrail or not to rubrail, that is the question.

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  • January 24, 2015 9:13 AM
    Message # 3209236
    Our rubrails leak like a sieve.  The backing boards are rotted and the screws used extend over an inch through them making insulating and working on the caprail almost impossible.  I have noticed that often the rubrail is too high to do much good, and I use bumpers when needed anyway.  Do I need them?  If there is a reason beyond looks?  Just wondering if there were any thoughts or experiences on this.   

    We are down to the last six months before our intended cruise down Alaskas inside passage  to Seattle and maddly trying to get the Tyee as waterproof as possible.

  • January 24, 2015 3:14 PM
    Reply # 3209393 on 3209236

    Hmmm... leaks from the rub rail ? That never occurred to me , I thought my leaks were coming from a stanchion or hawse pipe or oh I don't know . I also didn't know the rub rail had a backing board , interesting . I'm going to check for that . Any how it would seem to me the rub rail would be a easy fix ( I'm probably under thinking it )  I'm thinking just remove the board and screws ( replace with shorter ) re bed and screw back on . If the hull is a thru hole and the only fastening is the backing board then you have to fix that or replace the backing boards .   I have never used it but there is a type of beding compound called Butyl tape , you can get it here . . I hear it's good stuff , be sure to counter sink the hole a bit . The Butyl tape might be a little thick so you might want a paste type compound .

    For us we really like the rub rail for it's aesthetic look , actually we have never rubbed it on anything . I have seen a few W32's with no rub rail and no gunnel stripe and IMO I don't think it looks good .

    Last modified: January 24, 2015 3:23 PM | Anonymous member
  • January 24, 2015 9:07 PM
    Reply # 3209478 on 3209236
    Deleted user

    I was looking at your pictures in your members photo. wow man, the one picture with the frost all over your boat looks like some scary si-fi move. Your rub rail problem. Thats what happens when people don't over think it or just take the cheapest way, take short cuts or just think they are doing the right thing.  Just staple it on and crazy glue it. "Thats it for my sarcasm". Don't use wood for backing. Its cheap, cost cutting for builders using leftovers.  I Did ever thing over on my boat about 24 years ago, give or take. My boat is still as dry as a bone. And I check on every thing continually so things don't get to far gone, and in the long run keeps repairs and damage and cost to a minimum.  I installed large SS fender flats with polyurethane caulking, with no wood and no problem. If you think you need some type of material behind the nuts & washers use some kind of plastic. My rub rail it works excellent for my situations. I have some very long "fenders " about 45 inches, so the rail helps them roll of the hull. If you have tied up to concrete walls or canals or rusted metal docks you might think it over "but don't over think it". The definition of a rub rail doesn't mean looks. But if you are going to build something you may as well make it look good. My two cents worth.

    Food for thought : 

    For all the westsailers who recommend using materials that don't belong in boats or to do things the cheapest way doesn't say much for our boats. Remember all this is public domain. And for those wondering why westsails are loosing there value $ are not selling it doesn't help. The market is  anther story.

    Lawrence..May the wind always be in your sail.

  • January 25, 2015 7:17 AM
    Reply # 3209582 on 3209236
    Thanks for the responses. I have been pouring over pictures and I am going to try and remove clean and reinstall our rubrail, with SS bolts and fender washers. I should be able to trim the excess bolt or put a plastic cap on it so that the bulwarks are a little more friendly. I have Butyl tape and use it for temporary plugs in holes, I just removed the teak deck and it helped while I was prepping to epoxy the holes closed. We get three times the rain Seattle does so open holes are a nono here. I think I will use a poly caulking behind the rail and in the bolt holes though, butyl tape is thick and can run a little in extreme heat. I have to wait for a break in the rain to get started. Ill try to post some more pics. The frost is a pain. It is so humid here all the time that when it gets below freezing the frost starts growing. In the right conditions it can get quite thick.

  • January 25, 2015 12:08 PM
    Reply # 3209710 on 3209236
    Deleted user

    Just a point.

    I have sailed without rub rails for 10+ years for which I only had a couple of times which I would have like to have them on, but ? if they would have been at the right height for the operation.

    Without them, I am careful to fender (or fender board) the correct areas.  If I ever were to add them, I would look to epoxy the material (or attachments for the material) to the outside of the hull. (I am not a fan of wood on the exterior of the boat however)

    Please note; I have not done much mooring to pilings and never locked up or down so ? if these are needed in those type of operations.

    Hope this helps

    Last modified: January 25, 2015 12:19 PM | Deleted user
  • January 25, 2015 6:18 PM
    Reply # 3209901 on 3209236
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chris:  Sometimes the factory drilled the pilot hole for the rub rail fastener but forgot to install the screw ... and did manage to install the wood plug.  So it looks like there is a screw but there is just a hole!. 

    Here is an album of leak information. Here

     I'll assume you also are confident that your cap rails are NOT leaking - this is also an issue.  In the members area find Westsail Fixes & FAQ  look for topics on caprail repairs -- do review all the options. 

    Hope this helps.  

  • January 26, 2015 10:09 AM
    Reply # 3210429 on 3209236
    Deleted user

    We removed ours in 05', they weren't leaking, but to replace the chain plates. It turned out the chain plates were still good, but we replaced them as a precaution since they were off anyway.  Reinstallation was just like the factory had done. Screws every 6" and bedded in 5200, although Boatlife would probably been a better choice but we'll never take them off again.  ( that's a statement I've regretted many times)  There's no need for bolts or backing plates.


  • January 26, 2015 10:36 AM
    Reply # 3210458 on 3209236

    Ditto on the bolts and backing plates , that would be like useless over kill . Agree with checking the cap rail that was a big leak for us . It wasn't to hard to fix , I just sealed it up from the out side with Boatlife . Boatlife is good but it dries out fairly quick if left bare , I painted over it with the gunnel stripe , that was a long time ago, and it's still soft under the paint . The inside of the cap rail, that I did at the same time dried out and had to be replaced . To replace it  I used  a product that was a recommended to me ( sorry I forget the name ) . It's a type of caulking for house hold window frames ( non silicone) , anyhow that was about 3yrs. ago and it's still perfect .   

    Last modified: January 26, 2015 10:46 AM | Anonymous member
  • January 26, 2015 7:18 PM
    Reply # 3210953 on 3209236
    Deleted user

    "Useless over kill"  would that be a oxymoron.  Not sure what ditto is in nautical terms. But it sure sounds cute. No such thing as over kill in a blue water sailboat. The reason why most of us bought a westsail is because of its strength. Live and learn. Diagnosis is the key to solving a problem, and thats what separates master tradesmen from internet experts. The most probable reason why you have a leaking rub rails is because it is starting to separate from the hull. The probable cause, factory screws coming loose. The house hold Latex caulking or what ever kid it was, " Or I Forgot the name of it"  is no longer living up to it's 35 year guarantee. But the sales rep at home depot  assured me its the latest thing for house hold widows. And thats good enough for my blue water sailboat. "wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Boy I'm glad i didn't need the internet thirty years ago to help repair a boat. 

    Lawrence: May the wind always be in your sails.

  • February 01, 2015 7:19 AM
    Reply # 3215146 on 3209236

    We are getting Tyee ready for blue water and hopefully lots of exotic ports so overkill and little extra time thru bolting the rub rail cant hurt and it has the potential to help a lot.  I will use 3Ms marine grade sealant but will avoid using an adhesive such as 5200, "devils glue" I have heard it called.  I will take pictures of the process so I can post them.

    My caprail is a different story, it also leaks in several spots.  It is in much worse shape thanks in part to over sanding by a previous owner.  Down to the screws in several places in fact.  I have sealed it up with a cheap and easily removable caulk until I can get time and sun to do this project.  I may wait until I am in the lower 48 and have easier access to materials.  The pictures and posts by several members have helped.

    Thanks again for all the help and suggestions. 

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