Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tying Stuff Down without using Padeyes, U-Bolts, Eyebolts, etc.

Tie-down at the front of the cabin to help secure the dinghy.
Last year when it came time to install a few tie-downs on the boat's cabin top we tried something a little different. Instead of resorting to toe-stubbing stainless hardware, we embedded loops of rope into the cabin top using epoxy. The approach has many advantages over the installation of standard fittings. It's quick and cheap and the results are waterproof and plenty strong. The tie-downs are also easy to replace. You just need to drill them out.

Today I made a few tie-downs to keep our solar panels in place when we go offshore. To make six tie-downs, I used 100 cm (40 inches) of line and 15 ml of epoxy. I could put the tie-downs exactly where I wanted them. And the job was done in an hour. No need to take down interior ceiling panels, seal off bore holes with epoxy, or seal fasteners with caulking.

  1.  Drill a hole: the cabin tops and decks of most fiberglass boats have a wooden core. Drill through the top layer of fiberglass and through the wooden core, but make sure to stop when you hit the bottom layer of fiberglass. On the cabin top of the Mason 43, this will leave you with a hole that is 20 mm (3/4 inches) deep.
  2. Insert the loop of line.
  3. Fill the hole with epoxy using a syringe.

Positioning the tie-downs. It's worth noting that the pretty piece of hardware in foreground costs USD 77.00 at West Marine, sans fasteners.