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  How to repair bimini gunwale fittings

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Author Topic:   How to repair bimini gunwale fittings
peter welch posted 04-05-2000 09:43 PM ET (US)   Profile for peter welch   Send Email to peter welch  
I had a local boat canvas guy install a custom bimini on my 16'7" hull. The problem is that the fittings where the frame attaches to the rail were fastened with self tapping sheet metal type screws that have now pulled out of the fiberglass leaving enlarged holes. I have tried screw anchors with and without MarineTex with poor results. I am thinking of filling the screw holes with epoxy resin, redrilling and starting all over. Is there a better way? Peter
jimh posted 04-06-2000 12:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are typically three points of attachment for a Bimini:

1. The hinge base
2. The forward strap or pole
3. The rear strap or pole

Considering forward motion into the wind:

If you look at the arrangement of forces,
#1, the hinge base is mainly in compression and can be secured without too much strain.

The rear strap, #3, is in tension only at rest, and is probably slack (if a strap) or in compression (if a rod) when underway.
It too can be attached without too much special attention.

This leaves #2, the forward strap or rod, which is under considerable tension as it is resisting all the effort of the wind to blow the top down.

The fittings for the forward strap MUST be secured into an area with wood backing. The thin laminate of the Whaler hull can never provide enough purchase to retain a self-tapping screw.

You might want to look at the article I wrote describing the attachment of a bimini to a Whaler. It is at:

http://continuouswave.com/maintenance-logs/bimini/

--jim

kent posted 04-06-2000 01:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for kent    
Jim. I read the article about installing the bimini and using the hidden wood backing to secure it. I am wanting to fabricate some custom railings for the old (year unknown) pre-73 13 ft. Whaler that my brother and I have been working on. I have been wondering about how to attach them to the boat. The old rails were just the short side rails and were attached with a couple of bolts that went through the hull and into a plate on the outside at each stanchion, essentially sandwiching the hull between the rail stanchion and the plate. I didn't like this set-up as it caused a substantial dimple in the hull on both the inside and outside. I thought that this was rather unsightly. We have removed the rails and repaired the dimples. The new rails will be slightly longer and a different configeration to accomadate our plans to attach rod holders, etc. for salmon fishing, but still basically a 3 stanchion side rail deal. Would the 13's have the hidden wood in them like the 15's do? Would anyone have any ideas on how we could firmly attach the rails? We haven't began fabrication yet, still in the design stage. Any advice would be appreciated.
David Reid posted 04-09-2000 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Reid  Send Email to David Reid     
Have my Montauk rigged with a pair of stainless rail-clamp mounted bimini holders. These are some special hardware that first came onto the market (at least to my awareness) about three years ago. Got mine from West Marine, but Cabellos has them as well.Seems like they cost me about $30 for the pair (can't find the receipt). They were not cheap, and you can't slide the rig out of the way without removing the pins from the rail clamps and actually just stowing the top forward, but it beats the hopeless holes in fiberglass problem. Pre-1991, the only place that hull has wood for a bimini is along the little ridge into which the rail feet are secured. That is where I put the strap ring mounts. Putting the bimini itself there puts the top inside the rails making thinner an already tight beam. So I like the bimini on rails rig. Understand the new guys fixed this problem by putting wood into the gunnel tops but don't know that for certain. Would be about the only improvement they could have made. Good luck.

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