Bow rail bend fix - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 44 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Bow rail bend fix

Looking for ideas of how to bend the bow-rail back to shape... All you clever members please throw out ideas.

I was anchored and a buddy came up to side-tie. His sailboat has a much higher freeboard than mine and his bow cleat caught under my bow rail, denting a little bit mostly bending it up a couple inches. It was a mutual idea to side tie, he's a buddy, I'm not going to open an insurance claim. A new rail replacement is between $800-$1000 from what I can find online.

So... Has anyone ever used a machine shop, or a hammer and a 2x4 to flatten it out, or anything?

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post #2 of 44 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Bow rail bend fix

Very odd. The last trip down to my boat I discovered my push pit rail was bent down an inch or so. So I'm watching this thread with rapt attention. I had considered using a halyard and pulling upwards, but the pull would be in too far forward of a direction. I think one would be better off with a strong slow pull as opposed to a shock from a hammer blow. Next time down I'll set up a hydraulic jack from deck to push upward, but I didn't have time this trip (went sailing instead). Could you make a rope loop from the rail to a cleat and 'tourniquet' the loop tight enough to pull it down?

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Re: Bow rail bend fix

I have straightened several but everyone is different. pictures might help decide how to fix it.

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Re: Bow rail bend fix

For the one that's bent down, I would think a hydraulic jack would push it back into shape. One that needs to be pulled down would be harder. Maybe set the jack on top of the rail and chain it down to a deck cleat or something, so it pushes down instead of up. I don't think a hammer will do it, you need slow pressure not impact, and you might dent the tubing worse than it already is.

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Re: Bow rail bend fix

Whatever is done, is it better to remove the whole rail from the boat? I think that enough pressure to bend steel could potentially transfer down to the deck and further damage the boat.

I'll try to post a picture, I keep being there at night and unable to get a decent photo.
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Re: Bow rail bend fix

Right, if you can get it off that would be better, but sometimes they bury the nuts and bolts so bad you can't get to them. Working upside down up in the pointy end is never fun.
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Re: Bow rail bend fix

Maybe get an electrician's "hickey" designed for rigid conduit or an emt bender. A 1" (maybe a 3/4")emt bender or a hickey used very carefully might well work.
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Re: Bow rail bend fix

A "Spanish Windlass" might do the trick.
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Re: Bow rail bend fix

Ideally, you'd take it off the boat, then heat it and bend it back to shape. You could also cut the damaged piece out, and weld a new one in.

Think of this as an opportunity to renew the bedding sealant, and drill and seal the holes in the deck with epoxy.

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Re: Bow rail bend fix

If it's bent down, put a halyard on it and winch it with a buddy cranking while you watch the bend. Do it slowly and over bend it a smidge to compensate for springback.

I wouldn't remove it except as a last resort - you will require a machine shop at that point and it's unlikely the bolt holes will ever line up again meaning filling and drilling is required.

I've done it both ways - a good machine shop can cut out sections and repair them invisibly but unless the tubing is kinked you shouldn't have to go that far.

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