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Old 23-12-2009, 16:17   #1
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How Strong Is My Toerail?

I've seen people put all kinds of loads on aluminum toerails, and don't know if they're being stupid or taking advantage of a useful tool. How strong are these? What should I be careful NOT to put here?

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Old 23-12-2009, 16:40   #2
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On other boats I've raced on we've mounted snatch blocks on the toerail whenever we needed a different sheet lead. No ill effects were seen in the two years I was on that boat (J37)

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Old 23-12-2009, 16:56   #3
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My experience is the toe rails can be pretty tough when pulling straight or almost straight up. I have seen several rails damaged by loads pulling more horizontally sideways, for and aft along the rail is ok. The aluminum can be surprisingly stiff and the load is spread out fairly well. Like a lot of things common sense applies, if you think you are overloading it you probably are. Hope this helps

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Old 23-12-2009, 17:35   #4
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I think the difference between a racing boat and a cruising boat may come out here.
We mentioned toe rails in another thread and it got me to thinking.. Mine has the aluminum toe rail with holes - a Beneteau 393 a cruising boat. But I notice all the new beneteau range have a solid wood toe rail without holes.

On my boat we have only the furling line blocks on the toe rail.

On a racing boat, generally, people put on blocks that are not permanent.

So all spinnaker kit should be on proper pad eyes. The one that takes most force is the Kicker (Down haul, fore-guy) for 2 reasons: when sheeting on people forget the kicker! When broaching the pole end tries to go up. That bit of string holds down one hell of a lot of strain, and as Sailvayu notes, its the direction of the pull thats most important. The foreguy should be attached to a padeye close to the center of the boat under the forestay so it can exert the max down haul when the spinnaker is set shy. Thats when theres most chance of broaching.
Putting the block for the kicker/foreguy/downhaul on the toe rail puts it too far outboard and increases the sheer angle on the toe rail.

Another time people often use the toe rail if for the Mainsail boom preventer. Often a jury rig with some spare bit of rope lashed or clipped to the boom and then down to the windward toerail so as to stop an accidental gybe.

Main problem with it:
People almost universally do not have a light line that can break in a accidental gybe knock down.
Our has a line that would break about 500kgs (Also its turning block is the amidships mooring cleat).
Get some rated line and don't forget to calculate the double ups and knots.

So 2 problems with Preventers on the toe rail:
a) Accidental gybing! That put a sheer force about 90 degrees from the vertical on the toe rail!
b) Sheeting on without easing the preventer. You're winching the toe rail out!

I would check with the manufacturer to see what your toe rail is designed to actually do

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 23-12-2009, 18:11   #5
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Also, look at what's holding the toerail to the boat. On my Irwin, it's self tapping screws. I don't plan to every use the toerail to mount hardware.
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Old 23-12-2009, 18:20   #6
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Hey Steve we have the same boat, well close the interiors are different. You'd be surprised how tight that toe rail is down with those screws, and they come in from the top and side so sort of locks it in. I know I had to replace mine on the port side it did not volunteer to come off lol.

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Old 23-12-2009, 19:21   #7
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My genoa sheet blocks are on the toe rail, have been for who knows how long and never a problem. Did hear somewhere, could have been this forum, someone was attaching the parachute anchor to the toe rail. Not sure if that would be good.
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Old 25-12-2009, 14:59   #8
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This is the toerail system on a Cascade. On the 42 they use it to attach shrouds and don't have regular chainplates. It is through bolted every 8" on the top and 8" on the sides and attached with 5200 as well. It is very tough.

Checkout aluminum toerail on the search engine after my signature.
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Old 25-12-2009, 17:32   #9
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If it can take the side load of a 200lb blob sliding across wet decks then it is strong enough for me.


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