View Full Version : Cabintop Grabrail Repair Question

07-10-2002, 09:39 AM
Hi Gang,

The forward most atachment point of the grabrail on my cabin top came loose this weekend. When I reattach it, should I secure it from below with a screw in addition to glueing it back down? None of the other attachment points are secured with screws but it seems that this would be a good idea.

The boat is a Cheoy Lee Robb 35 with a fiberglass over wood cabin top.

Any thoughts would be much appreicated.


Alan D. Hyde
07-10-2002, 09:42 AM
How about through-bolting to a backing plate?


Scott Rosen
07-10-2002, 10:04 AM
I would attach it with wood screws from the inside of the cabin. Two screws for each part of the rail that lies on the deck. I wouldn't glue it, but would use a bedding compound. That's how mine have been fastened for over 30 years, and I've had no problems.

Ian McColgin
07-10-2002, 10:05 AM
I can't believe it's not through-bolted and backed. Get that done at each place the rail touches the deck.

Sometimes you'll see a builder saving $$ by making several short rails rather than one continuous rail that has to be curved to fit correctly. If you have this problem as well, plan on a nice project since the rail should be there to be grabbed everywhere. If there's a gap between two bits of rail, that part of the deck will be the last place you pat on your way over the side.


Ed Harrow
07-10-2002, 11:19 AM
Hi Tim! Nice of you to drop by.

I'm with Ian. This is not a piece you want stuck down with duct tape. Do I interpret your statement that they are not held in place with fasteners??? :eek:

Scott Rosen
07-10-2002, 11:34 AM
I don't think I've ever seen a wooden cabintop grabrail fastened with through bolts and backing plates. Certainly there's nothing wrong with it, but it may be overkill unless you are planning to cross oceans with gear lashed to the rails. If you have a one inch thick cabin top and a grabrail with six to ten bases where it meets the cabintop, and on each base you fasten with two #12 X 2" wood screws properly counterset, then you will have anywhere from 12 to 20 fasteners. That ought to be able to hold just about anyone under any conditions. A persons hand will fail long before those fastenings give way. The rail itself is only a couple or three inches high (unlike a lifeline stanchion which may be a couple of feet high), so there's virtually no added leverage when a person grabs on to the rail.

The way I've done it, I cover the counterset screw with putty and paint, so the overhead is uninterupted by fasteners or backing plates. My deck-mounted gear and stanchions are all through-bolted and backed with stainless steel plates.

Ian McColgin
07-10-2002, 12:01 PM
And dingys tied on etc etc.

Bold & Back . . . and Bung the top.

Scott Rosen
07-10-2002, 12:04 PM
Then again, maybe I've just never looked at other people's grabrails that closely.

07-10-2002, 12:37 PM
My house-top handrails were matched by handrails on the inside.
They were secured by bolts through the lot.

Alan D. Hyde
07-10-2002, 02:22 PM
A good plan Jim.

The older I get, the more I think there can't be too many grab rails.

Beats broken ribs, or a swim, as the case may be.


Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-11-2002, 06:23 PM
Hello, Tim. Nice to hear from you.

I wonder if the section that came away might be the only one that is neither bolted nor screwed?

(You would be right in guessing that I am writing from personal experience, here. Change of shift at the builder's yard and it never got done?)

Ours are screwed with 2 x 2" 12's at each "landing"; just renewed them in fact.

I do lash the oars, boathook and dinghy spars to them but NOT the dinghy; I recall reading somewhere, very possibly in "Heavy Weather Sailing", a comment by, I think, "Rod" Stephens, that the dinghy should never be secured to the coach roof that it is sitting on. The gripes should go to ring bolts through deck beams on the side decks. That way if the boat is knocked down the dinghy is holding the coachroof on, not pulling it off!

07-12-2002, 12:47 AM
Thank you all for the helpful posts. I looked at the rail again today. It looks like there may have been a screw fron above the broke. At any rate, I am going to fasten it from below with a countersunk wood screw.

I really appreciate all of your replies!