In rough conditions the distance from the cockpit to the first handrail on the roof of the coach house is a very long distance. There is no straight forward hand grasp for crew going forward on the lee side.
Years ago we saw an Aphrodite 37 called Unicorn which had fitted a grab bar around their sprayhood and windscreen. They had used 25mm stainless tubing and the lines blended in nicely with the lines of the boat. Then in 2009 we found that a sister boat had done the same in 50mm tubing.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, the concept of the grab rail is not overly concept as the diagram below shows:
|phase 1 – greenphase 2 – yellow
phase 3 – red
For fitting purposes we divided the work into 3 phases. We initially made a template for the aft bar (green in the diagram) – this took 2 people 10 hours. Striking a curve that blended in with the boat lines, avoided fouling any previous system (ropes etc.) and was functional as a handhold took a lot longer than anticipated. That curve was then fabricated in 25mm stainless (although we recognised that 50mm would be much stronger we felt that it looked too “heavy” against the lines of the boat). Another visit was required to get the angle of the mounting pads adjusted and away it went for welding. Once it came back we could then make up a template for the forward braces (yellow in the diagram). This was the most time consuming fitting as the side braces had to match each other, their pads needed to mate with the forward molding, they needed to parallel the lines of the glass work. We wanted the feet on the forward braces to attach to the forward side of the cockpit molding, we felt that if they were on the side then they would reduce the already limited width crew have to pass forward. To fit the mounting bolts we had to cut out a service panel in the GRP under the large teak shelf on the starboard side above the companionway, the port side we could reachthrough the cutouts for the speaker. Once we had it fitted we were glad we had gone to the trouble of moving the feet inboard as the already narrow passage up the side of the cockpit was not reduced any further. Also the lines seem to blend in with the exisitng glass framing etc.
The first 2 phases were to be permanently mounted on the boat while the third was to be removable. The third phase was to support the bimini and therefore be removed when the bimini was not in use. For this reason we had the forward bars fabricated so it mounted onto the side bars with bolts and broke in the middle for stowage when not in use. The bimini is described on another page (click here for details).
- due to the complex angle being fitted many fittings will be needed
- making a template for the something like this takes an immense of time but is really the only way if the metal work if going to be done off site
From the moment the aft hoop was temporarily fitted to the cockpit coaming for fitting this structure blended in. Everyone working on it started using it as a grab point immediately. When the side bars were fitted this become more the case. There has not been a moment when it seemed out of place or inappropriate.
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