Your Seacocks Analysts Know That Boat Fenders Do Not Have to Be a Big Problem
Raritan Engineering Company would like to share with you this week some awesome information on seacocks.
My main problem with boat fenders is that they appear to violate the cardinal rule of cruising: any object you bring on the boat should serve at least two purposes (the way your crewmate’s favorite yellow shirt makes a great “Q” flag).
Recently facing a shortage of fenders, I came upon a temporary substitute—heavy-duty dry bags. Filled with air, these simple roll-top bags work just like inflatable fenders.
Someone industrious, of course, could insert an inflatable urethane liner into a more rugged, welded PVC dry bag, and achieve the same result. The outer bag could be easily fitted with web eyes for securing drop lines.
Durability is a question. I’m not sure how long a conventional dry bag will hold up when used as a fender. If they are constructed with a material similar to that used to make the inflatable fendersfeatured in our recent test, they should last several years.
So here’s a challenge: Is there perhaps another fender design that could help it serve two distinct purposes? Or are there more uses for a conventional fender than first meet the eye?
Your Seacocks Experts Offer You Some Great Design Options
Your seacocks specialists know that for those who’d rather just stick with the tried-and-true, here’s a DIY approach to more conventional fenders.
DIY Fender Board
The simplest form of fender board is adequate for most needs. All that is needed is a 3- to 4-foot length of 2” x 4”, 2”x 6”, or 2”x8”. As a guide, I’d start a t 2”x 4” for a 20-foot boat, 2”x6” for a 30-foot boat, and 2”x 8” for a 40-foot boat.
On a larger boat, you may want to use a slightly longer board, perhaps up to 6 feet long. Anything longer than that, however, is likely to take two people to handle, and be a nuisance to store.
A hole slightly larger than the diameter of the suspension or drop lines (say 9/16-inch hole for a half-inch line), is drilled through the larger dimension at either end of the board, about 6 inches from either end.
Next, round the ends of the plank and chamfer all edges. Your lines should be long enough to suspend the plank down to the waterline from whatever stanchions or cleats you plan to use.
After threading the lines through the holes, tie a figure-eight, stopper knot at the bottom of each line, and you’re finished.
You can use your fender board with conventional round fenders, or you can purchase solid rubber cushions made specifically for attaching to 2×4 or 2×6 spars.
The one embellishment you might wish to consider, if you have sufficient time and/or inclination, is a laminated fender board. This board is composed of three layers of 1”x 3” fir, hickory, or ash.
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