Lots of high end boats, never see anything but a floating dock
A friend and I installed Barbour plastics R1033 hard plastic half oval rub rails on a Kurt Hughes day sailing charter
The good news about rub rails, is if you work in and out of your slip initially without them you'll find out exactly where they need to go, and how much tumblehome you have in the topsides to figure your projection.
Anywhere there is tide, if you've got slab sides or tumblehome... Coming back to your home slip on a falling tide the furthest out barnacle will reach out and touch you.
Barnapole scrapers help, but it doesn't take much of a kiss against a piling to leave a mark.
How we did it:
We drilled countersunk holes in the face using the centerline as a guide and a stop jig that was a screw pointing upward in the bottom of a board clamped to a drill press. The screw keys into the last hole you drilled, and sets the distance and spacing for all the rest.
That boat had a wooden shear clamp, so we drilled slightly oversized holes for the 1/4 inch machine screws through the clamp, and filled the holes with thickened epoxy
, to epoxy
pot the fasteners, blind... With no fasteners penetrating the clamp, and no void to track water
into the fir clamp.
The next day we came back and drilled and tapped the epoxy filled holes using the rub-rail as a guide. Once all the holes were threaded we buttered the screws with epoxy and installed them with a clutch
set on a drill motor
, and cleaned up the boat.
We scarfed the joint between the two pieces amidships at a 45 degree bevel, by installing one extrusion, and removing enough screws to bow it out of the way. The scarf landed between screws, and we tacked it down with a small screw just into the rail its self. The bow and stern ends of the rub rail were bullnosed with a mini-grinder, roughly to the curve of a sticky back 6 inch sanding
The plastic extrusion is heat formable, so we made a jig and did most of the forming for the rear steps over the jig, and then sweatened the curve on the boat with a heat gun and a thin plywood
guard to keep the paint
from being scorched.
3 days turn key, off a floating dock
to do both sides of a 38 footer.
Rub rails make life a lot easier, anywhere there is current
or you have to work off slips that have fixed docks. We were docked up in morehead city
, behind sugar loaf island with 3 1/2 knots of current
perpendicular the dock, and twin 25 horse outboards to scoot her in and out. 6 feet per second drift sideways, with a 25 foot wide boat in a 30 foot slip a few times a day without rub-rails was a bit exciting, and much more relaxing to know we weren't going to rub the vinyl decals off the side every time after we had rub rails.