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Old 02-07-2013, 03:33   #1
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Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

Hello Cruisers,

We have a hefty timber rubbing strip, with a good solid stainless steel band on the outside, at just the right height to take the brunt of my manouvering mistakes. But the timber is getting pretty tired (not my fault! Really!), and after looking at it carefully I decided it is not worth trying to restore.

I could just go and find some suitable replacement timber but the admiral remarked that a black rubber rubbing strip would be both functional AND aesthetically pleasing. (I don't THINK she was having a subtle jab at my manouvering skills...)

I measured the current timber strip and it is pretty hefty, at a good 70mm high and 60mm proud of the boat. On a more delicate lined boat I suspect it would look too big, but on the Swanson it really looks just right so I would like to stick with the same general size.

Looking at what I could find that was designed for the job I could not find the nice straight lined profile we wanted (the strip makes a good additional step getting on and off the boat) or the size we wanted. (most seem much smaller) But I did find "docking rubber" (used to protect trucks when reversing up against loading docks) in just the right profile. (See picture attached). This profile would allow me to reuse the existing stainless strip on the outside too, which I think would look very nice in an "industrial" way.

The stuff is not cheap, but if it lasts, it should work very well and look terrrific. But will conventional rubber like this cause problems in a salt enviroment? Does the black colouring "run", that would look pretty horrid after a while, and are there problems associated with possibly trapping moisture behind the rubber against the gelcoat?

Matt
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:58   #2
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

I've been rehabbing my 11' Boston Whaler dinghy and I have been having the exact same thought. I actually saw it used on a pump out Whaler in a marina in Florida, which is what got me to thinking that way.

When you start getting some wave action and chop, there is no such thing as too much rub rail on a dinghy, IMHO.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:01   #3
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

G'Day Matt,

Interesting idea! I've seen similar stuff used on workboats, but never paid much attention to it. Don't think that salt would much affect it, but sun exposure might well do so. Of course, "rubber" might be natural rubber, synthetic rubber or some sort of plastic, and the UV degradation characteristics very different. I've had the black "rubber" bits on an inflatable leave big marks on our hull when they aged a bit, for instance. Probably doesn't bother truckies very much, but having it come off on your feet when using it as a step might foul your decks (like some black shoe soles do).

Another issue might be your s/s trim strip being bent when you bump something (like a piling coming alongside). The rubber gives a bit, the s/s bends in and then does not recover... could end up looking daggy, I dunno...

On the good side, having a rub strake that had some give to it would be useful. OUrs is incorporated into our perforated toe rail, and not only has it gotten a couple of dents in it, but it really transfers the thump of contact to the hull when I make an error in approaching something.

I'll be interested in what you decide, so keep us posted.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:26   #4
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

I've been using black rubber rub rails for the last forty years as the original design on my last two boats.





I do use the common silicone sprays that are sold in automotive shops for auto tire application. Wiping the rubber rails with these products keeps them from UV damage and prevents running black stain from the freeboard. I have also used the product "Armorall", but I like to use the rail as a step and this makes it slippery. By the way, the chainplate in the first photo is being removed for maintenance and not in it's normal functioning state.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:29   #5
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

Did ya check with Taco Rails? They should have what you need, with a sacrificial rubber insert that is easy to replace when it gets worn.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:36   #6
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

You might also want to look at the online catalog from Griffith Rubber Mills in Portland Oregon.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:51   #7
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Going through the same issues with my 1978 Morgan 452. 35 years of using the rub rails had really chewed them up. We decided to replace them with heavy duty PVC from Hamilton Marine. We chose a clam shell design - 791-F - because we can insert 5/8 inch line into the slot as a sacrificial material. When that wears out, we can pull it out and use it for other noncritical uses.

The biggest problem we had was finding something that would lay flat against the hull. Most rub rails are designed to cover the hull to deck joint and are not symmetrical top and bottom.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:19   #8
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

Some products degrade badly in the sun.... I would assume the docking rubber would not but you might ask.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:20   #9
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

Hamilton Marine, Portland, Maine carries a wide range of shapes.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:30   #10
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
I've been rehabbing my 11' Boston Whaler dinghy and I have been having the exact same thought. I actually saw it used on a pump out Whaler in a marina in Florida, which is what got me to thinking that way.

When you start getting some wave action and chop, there is no such thing as too much rub rail on a dinghy, IMHO.
I use clear reinforced hose for the rubrail on my 13' whaler. There are two ways to do it - either drill holes through one side at intervals and stick a lag bolt through the hose and into the rub rail or cut all the way along the hose and then bolt it through the rub rail top to bottom. I use the latter system and it works a charm. The hose goes opaque after a while but it works beautifully and doesn't leave any marks on anything. It's also a lot cheaper than getting stuff that's designed specifically for rub rails and a LOT more durable! 7 years of abuse and still going strong. Not sure if a similar system would work for a yacht but if your existing timber is even in reasonable structural shape it wouldn't be too hard to screw or lag bolt some hose directly into it. Aesthetics might suffer though......
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:30   #11
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

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I use clear reinforced hose for the rubrail on my 13' whaler. There are two ways to do it - either drill holes through one side at intervals and stick a lag bolt through the hose and into the rub rail or cut all the way along the hose and then bolt it through the rub rail top to bottom. I use the latter system and it works a charm. The hose goes opaque after a while but it works beautifully and doesn't leave any marks on anything. It's also a lot cheaper than getting stuff that's designed specifically for rub rails and a LOT more durable! 7 years of abuse and still going strong. Not sure if a similar system would work for a yacht but if your existing timber is even in reasonable structural shape it wouldn't be too hard to screw or lag bolt some hose directly into it. Aesthetics might suffer though......
I've found it to get gooey and sticky after prolonged exposure to sun.... you havent experienced that?
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Old 02-07-2013, 16:08   #12
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
G'Day Matt,

Another issue might be your s/s trim strip being bent when you bump something (like a piling coming alongside). The rubber gives a bit, the s/s bends in and then does not recover... could end up looking daggy, I dunno...
Yes Jim, it does end up looking a bit daggy. It has got a few dings in it now, even the yield in the timber is enough to produce that problem so the rubber would be worse.

My plan to handle this is twofold.

1. Stop bumping into things.
2. Hammer it straight again when needed, making/keeping it relatively easy to remove when needed by the right choice of fittings.

P.S. Just discussed this with the admiral and it turns out she was not planning to keep the stainless band... Rare disagreement on this matter, as I think the stainless band would look much better, with due regard to the point you make about bends. Sigh... don't worry, if it comes down to the wire, I know she's always right. But I do like the stainless band, it's really... tough lookin.
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Old 02-07-2013, 16:16   #13
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
I've been using black rubber rub rails for the last forty years as the original design on my last two boats.
Very neat. Is that whole black band a rubbing strip or is the top flange rubbing strip while the vertical band is gelcoat/paint?

Matt
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Old 02-07-2013, 16:19   #14
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

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. Aesthetics might suffer though......
Might at that.

Technically what I am doing is an aesthetic exercise anyway. The current timber rail is structurally sound, just scruffy looking and letting the boat down.

I have an early photo of the boat, when she was only 20 years old, and she looks superb. It is my source of inspiration for tackling this stuff.
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Old 02-07-2013, 16:48   #15
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Re: Docking rubber as a rubbing strip?

I have had docking rubber on the bullbar of my 4wd for a few years now as a bump stop. No problems with rotting or going sticky. I think the issues you will find with it is that it is not available in long lengths, is very rigid and difficult to conform around a curvature and is $$$ to buy.

Being from Aus, you may be interested in this catalogue of rubber odds and ends: http://www.purplepig.com.au/files/bz...r-Products.pdf

I found this online recently searching for a similar thing for my aluminium dinghy; as even though 90% of my dinghy is protected by oversized pool noodles, it is possessed by some evil spirit that causes it to continually ram the remaining unprotected part into the side of my boat
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