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Old 23-03-2011, 11:14   #1
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A bit of gunwale

In my early twenties I crewed in a lot of races. Being young, nimble, and 140 pounds dripping wet, I was always out on the pointy end.

From that experience I developed the idea that a bit of gunwale is a very important safety feature. (This would be especially so on monohulls that heel.) I'm surprised by the number of boats designed and built as cruising sailboats that have only an insignificant aluminum rail.

I'd go so far as to say that a real gunwale that provides a sure spot to plant a foot is more important than the 18" lifelines that most boats uselessly provide.

Does this evaluation ring true with anyone?
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Old 23-03-2011, 11:40   #2
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Re: A bit of gunwale

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Does this evaluation ring true with anyone?
Yup, we have monster gunwales. 4 plus inches around the whole deck. Molded into boat. also set with monster cleats / skenes either side of the bow and either side of midships. Rails and lifelines are mounted on top of the gunwales with gap to access the bowsprit. We have grab rails all along the cabin top as well. It all feels pretty secure going forward.

The only downside is green water over the bow shoots all the way back like a log flume then hits a slight step, goes up, and lands in the Admirals lap. You have no idea how hard it is not to laugh.
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Old 23-03-2011, 13:04   #3
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Re: A bit of gunwale

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, mhaines94108.

I’d agree that a bulwark can be a useful feature on a monohull; but I wouldn’t totally discount the utility of a perforated toerail.
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Old 23-03-2011, 13:39   #4
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Re: A bit of gunwale

Bulwarks are nice providing there are enough scuppers to drain the deck quickly.
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Old 23-03-2011, 13:48   #5
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Re: A bit of gunwale

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Yup, we have monster gunwales. 4 plus inches around the whole deck. ...
Four inches equal "monsters"? Those are pipsqueaks. Getting real:

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Old 23-03-2011, 14:13   #6
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Re: A bit of gunwale

Well duh you don't have lifelines either Carnival Cruise has those!

Still it's nice to have all you can get in the foredeck. Capt Ron is right. "If it's going to happen it's going to be up there." Nobody else would go either so it's mostly for you.

My drains could no way handle that much.
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Old 23-03-2011, 14:16   #7
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Re: A bit of gunwale

The gunwales on my boat are around 18 inches forward and I like um! Leading ground tackle over them to cleats and the samson post is problematic.
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Old 23-03-2011, 14:33   #8
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Re: A bit of gunwale

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The gunwales on my boat are around 18 inches forward and I like um! Leading ground tackle over them to cleats and the samson post is problematic.
You're in need of a couple of hawse holes.
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Old 23-03-2011, 14:42   #9
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Re: A bit of gunwale

Ya Mark, maybe I am. Just loath to take an edged tool to the boat yet.I've worked out a way to get the dock lines to work OK, it's the anchor line. Something like the picture above with the samson post on a platform might work.
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Old 23-03-2011, 14:52   #10
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Re: A bit of gunwale

My previousl boat had gunnels, current one just has a teak toe rail. Never felt insecure on the old boat and quite easy to go foreward or anywhere I wanted on boat. On the current boat, can't say the same having tried to go through the lifelines when the boat lurched unexpectedly. Worst part about not having the gunwales is it seems like everything I drop now goes overboard. Had almost never a problem losing stuff overboard with the old boat. The current boat is keeping my diving friend in beer. FWIW, sailed in much worse conditions with the old boat than the current boat, so far.
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Old 23-03-2011, 15:01   #11
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Re: A bit of gunwale

A high rail and gunwale combination was one of several criteria used to select my boat. While I had just a bow pulpit and one-inch rail as a teenager changing a headsail or launching/recovering a spinnaker, something more secure is necessary for this senior citizen.
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Old 23-03-2011, 15:23   #12
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Re: A bit of gunwale

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Worst part about not having the gunwales is it seems like everything I drop now goes overboard.
OK, confession time with my gunwales I popped a lens from my eye glasses and it went over board on the first bounce - in the slip. $800.00 (us). Could have been worse. Could have been a dog.

I do have full double steel rails on the bowsprit. It's not a warm fuzzy place to be when it's nasty. The staysail furler is on deck (end of) but the main jib furler is out on the "end" of the bowsprit. No problem for the anchor roller at the anchorage. Keeps the mud off the deck using the wash down hose!

Safety is relative. When I need more, I want more. I really want as much as possible.
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Old 23-03-2011, 15:32   #13
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Re: A bit of gunwale

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
The only downside is green water over the bow shoots all the way back like a log flume then hits a slight step, goes up, and lands in the Admirals lap. You have no idea how hard it is not to laugh.
heh... I bet ya manage it somehow Paul....

; -)
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Old 23-03-2011, 17:06   #14
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Re: A bit of gunwale

Instead of a dinky little fairlead and a sampson post ...
ARITEX - Hawser With Cleats
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Old 25-03-2011, 11:32   #15
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Re: A bit of gunwale

Don't have pics for this yet but to solve the drainage problem I had plates welded onto the stainless stanchions near the base. I will be adding 2-4" pieces of teak to these a la the Pardeys/Roths... near enough to the deck to prevent tool loss provide footing etc. yet space enough for water to run right off be it from rain or from a sea. Up forward working the ground tackle there are 4" bulwarks with big scuppers... very secure right where it really needs to be
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