Monday, January 13, 2020

Grab rails

Safety Grab Rails on the Dodger

I'm sure that every sailor that heads back to the cockpit after working forward at the Mast or Bow in any kind of Sea has their hands reaching for something to grab and stabilize themselves.

On Eximius, Safety is the top priority just above having fun, and I drool over some of the grab rails I see on other similar sized boats. Having almost finished our new Dodger, I was looking for a way to prevent anyone grabbing at the canvas or planting their hands on the new Dodger Window.

Here's what I came up with:-

#1 Horizontal grab rail between the two dodger frame tubes.

It's basically a SS tube with 316 Stainless Steel Top Cap 1" on each end. Held in place with a 4" SS Bolt and a couple of ABS spacers (1" x 1/2"diaand 1/2"x1"dia) and a nylock nut on the inside where the bolts come through the frame tubes.

There's a 3" leather reinforcement patch sewn to the outiside of the dodger canvas.

#2 Diagonal SS tube with a cap end at the top and bottom.
The bottom end is attached to a 16 Stainless Steel Angled Deck Hinge With removable pin, the hinge is screwed to the cabin top juat aft of the cabin top side wooden hand rail.

The lower end of this rail is inboard compared to the top end that is attached to the top bolt. To enable that angle, I re-drilled the hole in the top end cap at an angle. It turns out that not only allows the tube to align with the deck hinge, but it also adds to the rigidity of the Dodger frame.

This provides a sturdy grab rail that's easy to get to before the horizontal rail is within reach. And it reduces the temptation to try and grab or lean on the window or canvas.

The new dodger side windows provide less shade for our Solar Vents above the head and aft berth, so they are running more frequently.

#3 Rear support tube. This is another 1" SS tube with end caps top and bottom.

The top is attached to the aft Dodger frame using a 316 Stainless Steel Rail Mount Hinge 1" and the lower end is secured to the Coaming top with a deck hinge.

This rail is easy to grab when boarding, the lifeline gate can be seen in the picture. It's also a handy grab when leaving the cockpit.

It has a benefit of reducing the temptation to grab the Dodger side windows, a issue that affected our previous Dodger side windows.

The last thing I have to do to complete the new Dodger is replace the zippers on the front window. I had sewn them on and cut them off several times while trying to get the dodger window to lay flat (still got a bit to go) and the window zipper has stretched quite a bit. That's part of the cause of the current 'bumps' or 'Buckles' in the front window Strataglass. New zippers are due to arrive this week.

Here's the parts all available from

Stainless Steel 315 End Cap

I drilled out the hole in the end tab at an angle for the forward top attachment to the Bolts thru the Dodger frame tubes.
316 Stainless Steel Rail Mount Hinge 1"

I could have used Top Slides but didn't want to take the Dodger frame apart

These can be used Mid tube rather than being slid over the end of a tube.

316 Stainless Steel Deck Hinge With Removable Pin

These were used as the attachment points for the lower ends of the forward grab rails.I already has two of them with bolts which I used for the aft support tubes

I have SS rings and will fit them next time at the boat.

I purchased the 1" SS tubing from Sailorman in Fort Lauderdale and Boat Owners Warehouse in Deerfield Beach.

It's been too long since our last sail, there's a need for a pump out, so we're looking for a weather window and suitable tides to get the boat out. Today is a grey day, but we're keeping an eye on the weather.

See you on the water.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Got questions or suggestions about our boat, our sailing or our adventures?
Leave a comment.