Toe Rail

I’ve noticed a couple small leaks around the toe rail when a heavy rain storm is underway.  Most are very small and look like drips of water are entering through the hollow rivets.  One in particular is not as small and has really been bothering me so this morning I drove out to the farm and decided to remove the bolts that hold the toe rail down and re-bed them.  Well, I was quite surprised to see there are no through bolts except for where the sail track is mounted.

I started at the bow and pulled out 11 bungs and removed 11 normal screws.  Apparently these screws only function is to hold down the teak cap-rail.  This was a little disappointing.  I don’t know where I got it in my head, maybe it was just wishful thinking, but I really thought the cap-rail was through bolted.  As it turns out the hull to deck joint is fastened with rivets only with the exception of the sail track through bolts.

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After this discovery I decided that I needed to pull the cap-rail and see what was going on under there, these screws were obviously not the source of the problem.  This was quite difficult and involved a lot of patience.  The teak was secured with a very strong, very old, caulk.

Eventually I worked it off in one piece and was once again kinda disappointed with what I found.  The caulk was a mess and looked like it was not applied evenly.  They didn’t even take the time to caulk the hull to deck joint 😦

So, what I found after I cleaned up all the caulk is that the hull to deck joint is 100% fastened by rivets and the headliner is a part of the sandwich.  A diagram explaining the construction (found on the A37 IOA) with my notes is below:


You can see a bit of the construction in this pic:

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After cleaning everything up with acetone I caulked the hull to deck joint with 5200 but I have not decided what I’m going to do about the teak toe rail yet.  I am 90% sure I’m going to add through bolts in place of some of the screws.  I am also contemplating a new teak toe rail since this one is getting a bit thin.


6 thoughts on “Toe Rail

  1. I think it is a mistake to assume that Whitby didn’t build these boats for longevity or even that the fact that the teak toe rail is a weak point. Looks like your toenails needed some attention anyways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As stated above, I think Whitby was a great builder and did an excellent job. 🙂 The whole boat needs attention! Haha This is definetly more of a rebuild than a refit 😉 the boat has not been maintained in 10 years and has been sitting outside the whole time. Everything has to be re-bedded and all the teak is in this condition.


  2. We had a similar issue, our toe rails were maintained with nice varnish but still had small drips coming from the through bolts of the T track. We decided to pull up the T track and rebed everything. The port side toe rail looked in good shape, we sanded it down to the wood and reapplied varnish. We have yet to install the T track. We pulled the starboard side off last week and the teak underneath didn’t look so good. We could peel the wet toe rail up at the worst stop. I’ll be cutting out the bad section, about 10′ or so and replacing with a new piece of teak to keep the great look and ongoing varnishing. I’ve seen some people replace the entire toe rail with aluminum. Hopefully my wood working skills are up to par. We’ll let you know how it goes. Good luck with yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Frank! I’m out here right now and we’ve had some serious rain storms come through. I’m happy to report we don’t have any more leaks!! Looks like we are both on the right track 🙂


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