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Old 22-10-2013, 12:22   #1
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Bow protection

Okay, here is a Newb question.
Why have I never seen a fiberglass hull reinforced at the bow with even a thin plate of metal?

I would imagine even a relatively light and thin cover below the waterline extending upwards of a foot to either side of the bow would offer significant protection. Could anyone set me staight on this. Otherwise, I might give it a try on my boat.
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Old 22-10-2013, 12:45   #2
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Re: Bow protection

There are plenty of these in the Mediterranean - especially amongst charter boats (which I think puts a few owners off doing this to their own boats!). Nearly always stainless steel and nearly always starting above the waterline and finishing below the bow rollers.
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:14   #3
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Re: Bow protection

My assumption would be the weight to benefit / (actual protection) ratio. how much weight and balance are you willing to sacrifice for a system that would most likely fail in a decent collision anyways.
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:23   #4
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Re: Bow protection

I've seen it for bouy, anchor protection. Not seen it for collision protection. If you are going to hit a submerged container at sea... hard to predict where it will hit.
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:26   #5
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Re: Bow protection

There's a lot more forward looking surface area than just the bow. For a boat with a 10' beam, that's 5' of horizontal plane on both sides.

There's a tremendous amount of wetted surface area that is exposed to an object in the water. To cover it sufficiently you need a steel boat.
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:35   #6
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Re: Bow protection

I was thinking that the harder hitting impacts would be across the bow, while the sides would 'deflect' the impact. I have no idea what is likely or if such a thing would help. Just curious. Thanks for tall of the replies.
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:39   #7
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Re: Bow protection

The closest thing I've seen to that on a production level is that Hunters reinforce the hull with Kevlar from the bow to the keel stub and Catalina's have a collision bulkhead behind the anchor locker. These are nice assurances but rebel heart is right that is just a small area of potential impact it would be impractical to try to protect everywhere
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:43   #8
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Re: Bow protection

I know a fellow Valiant owner that glassed in some kevlar along the front of his boat when he had it hauled and was going some hull work. Not sure what the actual coverage was, but I know that it was at least along the leading edge. His thought was that while it would not protect against crushing force, it would conceivably limit penetration and hole size and make a holing incrementally easier to address at sea.

One potential downside of a plate is that it could in fact make it *harder* to deal with holing. It could force in a larger area of the hull, and obstruct efforts to plug inflow. It's really hard to predict how any of these things would help, or whether they would in fact hinder you in various predicaments.
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Old 22-10-2013, 13:53   #9
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Re: Bow protection

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestrowilldo View Post
I was thinking that the harder hitting impacts would be across the bow, while the sides would 'deflect' the impact. I have no idea what is likely or if such a thing would help. Just curious. Thanks for tall of the replies.
Not necessarily. The bow of most boats, even unreinforced, is usually one of the strongest points and due to the angle of most boats can tend to ride up over an object that it impacts.

An impact along the side is actually more dangerous. First if you're talking about a 10-20,000 lb boat hitting anything significant in the water neither is going to deflect enough to significantly reduce the force of the impact. Also, it is more likely to slice open a long gash in the side and make a bigger hole that is harder to block. This is what sank the Titanic and the Costa Concordia. Not a head on hit but a slice down the side.
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Old 22-10-2013, 14:08   #10
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Re: Bow protection

In retrospect that all makes sense. I guess, like I read elsewhere, if you want a tank it will float like one.

I recently started reading a book on sailing written around 1920 or so. In it I have seen everything we have today mentioned except those that require new materials. It's showing me that sailing boat design is a very mature science/industry. I guess if it were as easy to reinforce a hull it most certainly would be common practice.

Again thanks for all of the comments. It blows my mind how helpful everyone is to spread their knowledge and experiance.
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Old 22-10-2013, 14:14   #11
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Re: Bow protection

I see frequent use of stainless plating to protect from anchor dings like my own added plate....


....... I rarely see any larger protection along the entire stem and I agree that it would have questionable function.
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Old 22-10-2013, 14:19   #12
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Re: Bow protection

The reason you probably haven't seen many is that there are quite a few but they are painted and faired into the bow. I've seen them on Piver tri hulls and thin bronze or stainless strips down the stems of International Folkboats. Older wood boats often had long bronze external forestay chainplates that extended a few feet down the stem. A lot of protection there too.
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Old 22-10-2013, 16:24   #13
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Re: Bow protection

Our boat has:

- SS pipe 'bowsprit',
- SS strip running down the stem.

I have seen the same kind of protection on countless boats.

So I do not know where you were looking if you did not see this.

b.
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Old 22-10-2013, 17:21   #14
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I have a steel yacht with a ss bow plating extending half way to waterline to prevent anchor chain abrasion. The new one not quite launched has a ss bow plate extending down to the wl for anchor chain abrasion and minor collision dings. Cosmetics i guess.
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Old 22-10-2013, 18:57   #15
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Re: Bow protection

The boat's builder describes it as "Stainless bow plate for ice," but it is more useful to me to protect the paint from the anchor.

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