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Forums / Technical / Toe rail bolt replacement  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 24 Apr 2012 at 2:54am
Oregon weather has proven good for one thing: pointing up the leaks in Yanqui's deck hardware. Judging from rust and water pooling, it looks like a couple of the bolts holding the toe rail (and the joint, I suppose) are leaking pretty good.

Has anyone replaced just a couple of these? Any unforeseen issues? I'm expecting to just drill out the plugs in the teak toe rail, then mangle the old, rusty hardware out. The fact that it sounds simple is what worries me...

Yankee Dolphin #197

Posted: 24 Apr 2012 at 7:25pm
Hi Joe

A favorite subject - have you checked out http://dolphin24.org/leaks.html

Marionette has 'finessed' this problem for 17 years now - I have maybe 12 bolts that leak, sometimes, and half of them stain. I use the tiny rolled up pieces of towel paper method (like a small cigarette) jammed in between the bolt end and the hull to stop staining on the hull side, and in the worse cases very small pooling on the hull side/locker top. Almost all the leakers are on the aft quarters and are likely some of the bolts that fasten the genoa track on top of the toe rail - probably because the track gets 'stressed' when there is a big sheet load.

The towel paper is white, and usually dries out, ready for its next tour of duty. The same piece of rolled paper is usually up all season. Unless its stained, (and then I replace it) the little paper rolls blend in and I hardly notice them.

When a given bolt starts to worry me - the paper roll gets really wet, never drys, or I start seeing stain dripping from the paper on to the hull side, I change to a larger "roll". When this process starts to really worry me, in the winter layup period I drill 3-4 small holes in the deck (I have a wood deck) around the problem bolt area, angled a bit outboard so the holes form a kind of half circle around the bolt.

Marionette's hull/deck joint is the infamous Marscot/O'Day clamp - esentially a 2x4 laid in a fiberglass U channel, through which the toe rail and deck (and toe rail top genoa track are bolted. The working theory is that water works its way into bolt hole, eventually rusting the bolt - but maybe also starting rot in the wood surrounding it.

Back to the 'fix', I drip Git Rot into the holes until it leaks out the bottom (I duct tape the holes at the bottom) and keep dripping until the holes overflow. Presumably, the Git Rot has saturated the suspect area and sealed the bolt. Then I touch sand the top of the 'filled' hole and touch paint. I have done this for three problem bolts, that no longer leak, or don't leak much.

My toe rails seem solid, no sign of rot anywhere. If there is rot it is in the deck around the bolt, and/or in the clamp. This is another link that bears on this subject. http://dolphin24.org/clamp_toe_rail_issues.html

We have a couple of case studies where the entire toe rail gets replaced - a nightmare - but I can't recall a fix just pulling out a few bolts and replacing. I'll be interested to see any replies

Marionette, #12

Posted: 15 Jun 2012 at 11:17am
Could you point me to the case studies on replacing the entire toe rail? I'm buying #184 and the current owner has already removed the old toe rail and purchased teak boards for replacing. I seriously doubt I will attempt this myself, but I'd like to gather the collective learning of others before hiring a "pro." (The description that is a "nightmare" is giving me nightmares.) From what I've seen so far, most people steam the teak to bend it. I'm not clear, but assume that is for economic reasons to avoid cutting a pattern curve that wastes much of a board? Are there other reasons (e.g., strength) that it is preferable to steam, rather than cut to pattern?


Posted: 15 Jun 2012 at 7:52pm
Hi David
Did you check out the Restoration / Toe Rail information?

Posted: 15 Jun 2012 at 11:04pm
Thanks, that is encouraging to read.
David Williams

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 at 12:12am
The toe rail challenge is getting the daddo and base to sit flesh on the clamp.
A toe rail can be the source of water leaks which is why I'm replacing all of the screws with bolts, washers and nuts sealed in 3M 5200.

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 at 3:51pm
Clinton, could you please clarify on (1) getting the dado to set flush and (2) your comment that the old toe rail was designed to drain water? I'm getting ready to have a new toe rail milled (coincidentally by my first sailing instructor who also has a woodworking shop). I have a piece of the old toe rail for a template that has an L-shaped profile with a lip to wrap around the edge of the deck. Where is dado, or is that just the channel at intersection of the L-shape?

I have read elsewhere about methods for draining water, including drilling/chiseling out a drain hole at regular intervals. I have not read anything indicating that drain or weep holes were part of the Yankee OEM toe rail, but I'm open to suggestions on how to improve drainage, if it doesn't weaken the strength.

David Williams

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 at 8:51am
Check out Covedweller, Yankee #111. http://dolphin24.org/covedweller.html

The 2nd picture clearly shows 3 toe rail drains -with telltale dark stains on the hull


Posted: 18 Jul 2012 at 11:57am
Thanks, Ron. I see it. Solve one problem, create another? Ah, well . . .
David Williams

Posted: 26 Jul 2012 at 1:46am
Clinton, could you please clarify on (1) getting the dado to set flush and (2) your comment that the old toe rail was designed to drain water?

David, I apologize for not getting back with you sooner. The daddo is a notch cut-out of the base of the toe rail so that it lays flat over the deck and hull joint.

Regarding my comment that Windswept's toe rail was designed to drain water is true but I don't think that it came from Yankee that way because the genoa track bolts were exposed.

FWIW the original clamp screws, now replaced with ss bolts, washers, and nuts utilize for the most part the same holes. All of the toe rail screw holes were filled with epoxy. I'll mark the clamp bolts so as not to drill over them as was the situation with a few of the screws from the factory. Then, I'll use a router to make the drain holes in the new toe rail.

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