Aluminium toerails

Where can I obtain aluminum toerails? Hi all. I am looking for information on aluminum toerails. We have a teak toerail and it’s in pityful shape. We want to put an aluminum toerail on but don’t know where to start to find one. Are they bought preformed for the Corbin? Do I have to bend one to fit? How would I do that? Thanks. Paul Melanson (s/v #058, #058, Quintana Grande)

a. Cruising World magazine, several issues back, had an extensive article on replacing toerails. Regards. Frank Bryant (s/v #186, Visitant)

b. The Cruising World article is in the September, 2001 at page 104. I will email you a copy if you request it. Lester (s/v #010, Insouciance)

c. Back in about 1981 I designed and had fabricated a set of toerails for the Corbin. I had to order enough for 8 boats (I believe) (500 kg of aluminum extrusions) and all were sold. This was a BIG project. I looked at various toerail sections available and then made a drawing of the required size for the Corbin. The key was the dimension of the deck to hull join and the need for a groove to coincide where the bolts attaching the two parts were installed by the factory. This becomes the caulking groove. Then I had an extrusion mold (die) made by Alcan Aluminum who did the extrusion of the straight rails, each 16 ft long, 32 of them. After the extrusions were delivered I then had a machine shop make the required slots in the vertical web and drill and counterbore for 1/4″ bolts to be spaced between the factory installed bolts (6″ spacing I believe). They then pre-bent the rails with a hydraulic bending machine to my specification. I had calculated the curve of the hull and the two sections of rail per side (one fwd of midships and one aft). I had the rails all bent to the same curve, the average of the fwd and aft sections. For installation the aft section had to be bent more, at its front and back ends while the fwd section had to be squeezed in the middle to straighten it slightly. A special midship fairlead was fabricated to join the two halves of the rails open side. This was done with large c-clamps as the amount of bend was not great with the already curved rails (it would almost certainly not be possible if starting from straight rails). I should mention that after the machine shop bending operation I then had to take all the rails to an electroplating plant. The rails were all hard anodized, some black and some bronze, as per the customer’s requests. The material used was “aluminum 6061T6″ which is good for anodizing and has good saltwater corrosion resistance. Corbin factory never had rails made and did not buy any of mine. They used a teak caprail. This may not help you much unless you can get a group of Corbin owners to join in the venture. The aluminum toerail adds to the strength of the hull and the slots, which were sometimes referred to as C & C rail, provide plenty of places to attach snatch blocks, fenders etc. Regards, David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity)

d. I have an all aluminum toe rail that I haven’t seen on any other Corbin. It’s clear anodized aluminum and stands about 2″ high. It has holes every 1′ to 6” for attachments and fits right over the deck to hull joint. This was bent to fit the Corbin and…I have to say… the fellow that had it bent was very persistent. Generally the curve is smooth everywhere but it starts to buckle a bit at the stern end around the sharp bend. I can try to find out where the builder purchased it for you. Jack Verheyden (s/v #127, Kathrian)

e. Paul, It’s actually relatively simple if you take your time and prep correctly. Most rails come in twenty foot lengths. After removing the teak you’ll need to reglass the old holes and fair the surface evenly. Now starting from the stern, position the aft most end of the rail and drill a hole. Use a halyard to hold the forward end of the rail level and other lines to keep it from moving around. You haven’t bent anything yet. And you’re not sealing anything yet either. With the first bolt in and hand tightened start moving forward using the rail holes as a guide to where you need to drill. I don’t recommend drilling through the predrilled toerail hole but sometimes that’s the only way to do it. Now you start bending the rail as you move forward. Clamp the rail a foot at a time and drill every other hole marking the other holes to drill later. At the aft end you may want to do two consecutive holes at first just to keep it steady. Continue forward like this and you’ll slowly bend the rail to the hull. Once you’ve got the rail bent and your guide holes drilled, remove the rail and drill all remaining holes. Clean-up the mess inside and out and have a beer. Now, sealing is a matter of preference, use what you are comfortable with Life Caulk, 5200, Dolphanite (my preference). I’d run a bead down the deck side edge of the rail and in and around each hole The hull side you want to be able to drain back overboard, but check the camber of the surface under the rail – if it cants toward the deck run a small bead very close to the hull side of the holes but not on the edge. the purpose of all this is to not trap water under the rail. Now reinstall the rail in the same manner as before but this time put all the bolts in as you go. Remember to use a corrosion inhibitor between your stainless bolt and the aluminum rail. When you’re all done, clean up have a beer and invite everyone in the yard to come and look at your handiwork. By the way – you use the same technique to install rubrails. Good luck, Vince Salese (s/v #005, Witch of the Wave )