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Old 17-09-2010, 01:31   #1
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Worthwhile Plating the Bow?

Is it worthwhile adding sheathing (such as stainless-steel plate) to a boat's bow to protect it from floating ice, jetsam, flotsam, or an "errant" dock? I've never seen such an installation except for my father's boat after ramming a dock.



(Seal on ice in Alaskan fjord)
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Old 17-09-2010, 02:39   #2
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I did...sort of!
When I built my new bow roller assembly I included a bit of a "bumper" for the bow.
It goes just below the water line, and is more for protecting the bow from dings then anything else...I also thought it would look cool.
It was a big job...I actually made a mold of the bow...then a plug (from fiberglass) in order to get the shape right.
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Old 17-09-2010, 02:55   #3
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Twixt wind and water?

One of out Members (can't remember who) suggested that small amounts of stainless steel welded on below the waterline was fine, but as the amount went up the potential problems increased.

Makes sense to me as stainless is more noble than steel in a few marine scenarios and your anodes need to be able to handle this.

Where stainless is nice on a steel boat is above the waterline. Anywhere the paint can get chipped or abraded. I'm thinking under where the anchor chain runs, where the anchor swings, where people board (stern and side), where mooring ropes chafe (keep it smooth, no sharp edges here), along the bottom of any doors and along the sheer where it can rub against pilings. The stainless might not be that expensive, but the labour would be horrendous.

In a perfect world I'd love a stainless bilge (kept dry) and some stainless plating where the anchor chain drops into the locker. May be asking too much.
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Old 17-09-2010, 03:00   #4
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Gee whiz

Wow! James. That's a very professional and elegant job. I'll classify you as "artisan/craftsman."
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Old 17-09-2010, 03:08   #5
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Yup. James, that looks amazing!
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Old 17-09-2010, 04:52   #6
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James,
Give us a break!!!

YOU are a hard act to follow
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Old 17-09-2010, 06:15   #7
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You could add several layers of Kevlar covering the bow area above and below the waterline. It would be hard to get it faired in properly and looking good. But it would be bulletproof. (For that matter, if you have clear access to the inside of the bows, you could add the Kevlar there.)
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Old 17-09-2010, 08:06   #8
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In the '60's it was not uncommon to see boats in the northwest with thin sheets of stainless or bronze shielding at the bow although these were commonly wooden hulls. These daze, I think the Kevlar suggestion, above, has much to recommend it although the hull would also need some energy absorbing material on the inside to minimize damage in the event of a collision. Andy Copeland injected dense foam into the space below his anchor locker, in front of the foremost bulkhead on his First 38, Bagheera, that proved it's worth when he and Liz banged into a UFO on their trip through the Med. The Stem was damaged and that might have been avoided with shielding.

FWIW...
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Old 17-09-2010, 17:47   #9
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James I am extremely impressed with the way you formed that stainless! Would be interested to hear more about techniques used. Regards, Richard.
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Old 17-09-2010, 18:16   #10
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Very impressive workmanship.

I favor a steeel strip down the front of the bow. I have already had a hole knocked in my bow one time, and it might have been preventable if there was a stainless steel strip there.

When I was sailing through tsunami debris in the Indian Ocean, I would not have needed to install protective oars on my bows if I had stainless protection down the front of the bows.







GLOBAL TSUNAMI - EXIT ONLY SURVIVES GLOBAL TSUNAMI WITH BARELY A SCRATCH.* PRIVILEGE 39 CATAMARAN.
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Old 17-09-2010, 19:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Is it worthwhile adding sheathing (such as stainless-steel plate) to a boat's bow to protect it from floating ice, jetsam, flotsam, or an "errant" dock? I've never seen such an installation except for my father's boat after ramming a dock.
A friend of mine had a river jet boat we frequently used to go up fairly wild rivers, including class four rapids. He put on a 1/2" sheet teflon to guard against the rocks.

We were never punctured, and the bonus was that if we ever ran into a shallow sand bank, it was MUCH easier to get off as compared to trying to drag the aluminum skinned boat.

I would suspect teflon sheets may be easier to install then any type of steel, with the added bonus of no galvanic action occurring.
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Old 17-09-2010, 20:09   #12
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Old 17-09-2010, 23:07   #13
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Originally Posted by boden36 View Post
Would be interested to hear more about techniques used. Regards, Richard.
A bit of a disclamer...my SS welding is rough, I have a friend with a shop that does the final welding and is a big help with special tools like a hydraulic break.
The polishing is done by a guy with a small shop that only does polishing.

Most of it was simple flat stock (some 4mm some 6mm) the face of the nose is actually flat bar bent through a roller, the cheek plates (sides) were the only hard part, the curves were a little bit bi-lateral. I used the break to shape those sides.
If you look closely at the "blown up picture", you can see the break marks.
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Old 17-09-2010, 23:15   #14
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I'd be more than happy with such 'imperfect' work! You can also take pride in a very elegant bit of design. Hats off to you.
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Old 17-09-2010, 23:44   #15
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Thanks...I really like these type of projects...believe me...they don't all turn out well, and I only take pictures of the good ones!

Dave...I really like the oar idea...thats what I call elegant engineering....good one!
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