Sundeck Rail Brace

mcc_railbrace1On North Star (NT32-154) the aft end of the sun deck rail is not welded to the ladder as it is on newer boats. Since it was not braced in any way, it started to get wobbly, in part because we fly a 24” x 36” flag on a three foot staff from the rail. I had a local stainless steel fabricator make up a brace which, at its lower end, is bedded and fastened to the sun deck through a round base plate with three screws.

I determined the angle using a piece of plywood with a flat edge which I placed vertically on the sundeck in a forward/aft direction adjacent to the last leg of the rail package. I marked the rail leg on the plywood as well as the location of the base plate. He welded the tubing to the base plate at the correct angle, flattened the other end of the tubing and drilled it for a bolt.mcc_railbraceclose

To attach the upper end to the rail, he used a fitting which clamps around the rail and is bolted to the brace (see photo). The fitting is key since it can be opened, albeit with some difficulty, to fit around the rail without removal. I don’t know where to get these but I suspect your fabricator should have no trouble procuring or making one.

mcc_railbrace2The brace has strengthened the rail which no longer wobbles. During the installation, I removed the sun deck rail leg, cleaned up the old bedding, and overdrilled the holes. I also overdrilled the holes where the base plate of the brace would land. I filled the holes with epoxy thickened sufficiently that it would not drip through the holes. When the epoxy cured, I drilled the correct size holes for the screws and reinstalled the rail leg and the brace with bedding.

The cost of the brace, including the fitting for attaching it to the rail, was $65 which seemed quite reasonable, especially since stainless steel welding is well beyond my capabilities!

Jim & Mim McCrea
North Star – NT 32-154
mcc272@aol.com

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