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sweetdreamyamaha 08-03-2010 09:07 AM

use of toe rail..
I have a Yamaha 30C sailboat and the deck is surrounded by a ring of toe rails. I am fairly new to sailing. What do people usually use the toe rails for? There a lots of holes where I can tie things. I am wondering how much strain the toerail can take. Would it be safe to tie a docking line to the toe rail in the middle of the boat and use it like a mid-ship cleat?

Bump 08-03-2010 09:23 AM

Toe Rails
Toe rails are used to keep you in the boat. The holes are for drainage and should not bear any strain or pull.

nolatom 08-03-2010 10:04 AM

Unless some engineer tells you it's okay, I'd stay away from any heavy loads on it, such as genoa blocks. But I've seen it done, like on some of the C&C boats with the sturdy (say about 1/4-inch thick) aluminum toerail with the holes every couple of inches. I just don't know it that's advised in 'the manual'.

Many folks use them to hang fenders from, and for lighter-load blocks from a smaller sail, like a staysail.

Just as a rough rule of thumb, maybe keep your lines smaller than around 3/8-inch, and you would probably be okay. But I'd really have to see it first.

Trust me, I was an English major ;-)

sailingfool 08-03-2010 10:22 AM

54 Attachment(s)
Alu toerails on most (all?) boats are, should be, pretty tuff. On many boats they are the default location for genoa and spinnaker blocks so you can expect them to carry hundreds to thousands of pounds of pressure, depending on boat size. Dock lines should be no problem at all.

msmith10 08-03-2010 10:31 AM

The only caution with tying a dock line to the toerail is chafing. The edges of the holes are sometimes a little sharp.

Stillraining 08-03-2010 11:33 AM

Mine are teak and are through bolted the deck/hull flange every 4"....My genoa track and cars are mounted on mine...Probably stouter then most of my deck hardware.

Personally I tie mid-ship spring lines to them with out so much a thought ...but would not use them for fore or aft main dock line aplications.

Jeff_H 08-03-2010 11:41 AM

Back when the Yamaha was built, punched toerails were intended as mounting points for sheet lead blocks but not usually for the primary genoa or working jib. Typically lead blocks for the spinnaker guys (twings) were lead to snatch blocks on the toerails. Similarly, preventers and 'short sheets' for the jibs were lead to the punched toerail. That was the norm.

The downside is that the aluminum rails (and sometimes the adjacent topsides) get pretty beat up using them with snatchblocks

Now then, upwind, for the most part, on boats that size, genoa sheets were lead to deck mounted tracks and blocks, and then back to the winches.


CalebD 08-03-2010 11:15 PM


Originally Posted by msmith10 (Post 628161)
The only caution with tying a dock line to the toerail is chafing. The edges of the holes are sometimes a little sharp.

I don't think that is the only caution. I'd use my cleats for most dock lines, all if possible. The constant loading and unloading of pressure a dock line can develop in bad weather could help pull your toe rail out or damage the hull/deck joint, if the rope didn't chafe through on the rail first. For a quick tie up then sure, use the toe rail as well if you like.

As Jeff_H and others have suggested these toe rails were intended to be used for attaching working loads in the running rigging of the boat (the sails).

puddinlegs 08-13-2010 05:13 PM


Originally Posted by Bump (Post 628125)
Toe rails are used to keep you in the boat. The holes are for drainage and should not bear any strain or pull.

Maybe for teak toe rails, but not true at all for perforated aluminum toe rails that the OP was talking about. These became common in the early days of the IOR rule. Like others have said, they are/were actively used to attach spinnaker sheet and guy turning blocks, barber hauler snatch blocks, a boom preventer, etc... No, you can't lift a boat using them, but there's very little you can do that will do any more than maybe make a ding that turns into a nasty meat hook. If used to attach a preventer, the boom will break long before anything happens to the toe rail. Used to do this all the time on an IOR mini-maxi. The only problem with them is if you have crew hiking, you need to use some foam pipe covering to keep everyone's legs attached to their body. :)

GreatWhite 08-13-2010 05:44 PM

you can use it for tying the bottom of the netting down, used to keep kids, pets and sails in the boat.

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