Aft Grabrail Extension

As we finished closing in our aft companionway we were left with an “empty” area on the aft coach house roof.

We had finished filling in our aft companionway (click here for details) and installing our new aft hatch (click here for details). Our friend Nathan was over looking at our progress and asked why the handrails were different lengths on the aft coach house roof. We knew it was because we had removed the aft companionway with its hinged lid that used to fold back and rest on the aft coach house roof. But it suddenly struck us that someone approaching the boat without knowing the history wouldn’t “know” why.

As we had the full length grab-rail on the starboard side it was rather easy to determine the length, angle, etc. that would apply to the port side. We ordered a teak dowel of the correct diameter.

gelcoat in silicon mold of support silicon mold filled with glass fibre margin prepared for new support new support glassed onto aft coach house new teak dowel on new support
  1. We removed the starboard side grab rail and using a silicon based molding compound took the shape of one of the starboard grab-rail supports. The silicon solution becomes liquid at a lower temperature than water boils. We used a plastic food keeper and cut out the bottom, the remaining sides we sealed to the aft coach house with plasticine. The liquid silicon solution was poured in and set over the support.
  2. After removing the silicon mold, we painted it with a number of coats of gelcoat (photo 1 above). Once they had set we filled the void with an epoxy and chopped mat mixture (photo 2 above).
  3. When this set we had the molding we needed to epoxy onto the aft coach house roof. We sanded the gelcoat off where the support was going so that we could bond directly onto the glassfibre (photo 3 above). To keep it in place while we worked we put 3 screws into the new support from the underside of the coach house (photo 4 above).
  4. The margin was created by sanding away the texture so that the margins on both sides matched (photo 4 above).
  5. Finally the teak rod was screwed into place and the job was done (photo 5 above).

  • Sometimes you can be so familiar with things that you miss the obvious
  • Once we had finished we realised that we may as well have ordered two teak rods as one has had 30 years of wear and tear while the other is brand new

Overall this change was rather minor although we had to learn new skills to complete it. But the end result is well worth the effort. To think we might have preceded to spraying and never thought of making this correction.

  •  Silicon molding compound

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