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Rub Rail Separation

Questions and Improvements on Key West Boats Hulls, Parts, Hardware and Structural Components

Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by MuskyBill » Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:02 pm

I am having a problem with my black rub rail separating when I put my 2 month old KW189FS up on my boat lift. Friction from the slings seem to grab the outer rub rail and cause is to separate from the underlying rub rail layer. I realize that the outer layer can be popped into place when the boat is lowered, but I am concerned about long term damage or deformation to the rub rail, particularly during cold weather. I have considered gluing the upper rail into its channel, but was wondering if there is a better solution or if others have had this problem. Any advice would be welcome.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by Stonyloam » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:10 pm

It kind of looks like because the lifting points are a lot wider apart than the the beam of the boat, when you begin to lift, because of the wide angle the strap moves upward against the rail as it tightens (the sling tightens against the rail before the boat begins to lift) if the sling hangers were closer together the slings would be more vertical and the pressure from the strap would be inward toward the rail rather than upward. If you can, I would try putting your lifting points closer together. The other thing to do is watch closely as it lifts to see how much the strap moves against the rail as it lifts. Just a quick guess.
Can you show a photo of the boat in the lift, showing the whole lift?
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by s219 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:11 pm

If it were me, assuming the lift is set right and not stressing the hull, then I would get some stainless steel sheet and wrap around the rub rail at those locations, so that you have a smooth surface for the slings to rub against. That would let the slings snug up without pulling on the rub rail.

Another option is to get some teflon sheet material or polyethylene material and make some shields that you attach to the slings in the right spot, so that when the slings snug up they don't directly bite onto the rub rail and can slide.

Third idea would be some variation of the first two, but setup as something you can hang over the side of the boat from the inside so that it drapes over the rub rail and sits between the sling and rub rail. Keep them handy at your dock and just slap them on the boat before you raise it on the lift.

Really, anything that lets the sling slip past the grippy rub rail will work.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by packer » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:28 pm

Stonyloam wrote:It kind of looks like because the lifting points are a lot wider apart than the the beam of the boat, when you begin to lift, because of the wide angle the strap moves upward against the rail as it tightens (the sling tightens against the rail before the boat begins to lift) if the sling hangers were closer together the slings would be more vertical and the pressure from the strap would be inward toward the rail rather than upward. If you can, I would try putting your lifting points closer together. The other thing to do is watch closely as it lifts to see how much the strap moves against the rail as it lifts. Just a quick guess.
Can you show a photo of the boat in the lift, showing the whole lift?


I had the same issue with my old BR 196 and I am sorry but the above recommendation is exactly the opposite wrong thing to do. I made a spreader out of a 2x4 to spread the straps out wide enough so they would not put pressure on the rub rail or just barely touch would be best. The 2x4 basically rested on the deck surface.

The ultimate solution which I have on my new BR 230 is the lifting eye which is a factory option. This eye is flush with the deck but raise up like a pop up cleat when in use but flush when not in use. It goes through the front center of deck just behind the anchor locker and is attached to the front bow eye so it is extremely strong. You could order one and install yourself or have the dealer install. This is the best solution.

Here is a link to the only one I could find on the internet. The picture is not good enough to show the top of the cleat but it is a pop up stainless ring and totally flush with the deck. http://shop.acconmarine.com/products/15 ... g-eye.aspx

You could just install a strong pop up cleat but the assembly above is superior. I would check with KW first because my cost factory installed was $99.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by Stonyloam » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:59 pm

Yeah a spreader bar on the deck should do it. So you would just drop the bar in place once the boat was in the sling before you lift it, Right? It looks like in this case if the boat is not perfectly centered in the sling it will slide to center itself when you begin to lift and it is rolling the center section out. So a spreader may be the best answer. Take a close look at the sling as you lift the boat to see what is going on.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by capncarl » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:01 am

A spreader is the correct fix for this problem. Every piece of equipment that might be crushed or damaged when lifted by a crane is rigged with spreaders. Your boat is this exact situation and should be rigged by a spreader. You may want to consider making it a permanent fixture on your strap rigging.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by packer » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:41 am

packer wrote:
Stonyloam wrote:It kind of looks like because the lifting points are a lot wider apart than the the beam of the boat, when you begin to lift, because of the wide angle the strap moves upward against the rail as it tightens (the sling tightens against the rail before the boat begins to lift) if the sling hangers were closer together the slings would be more vertical and the pressure from the strap would be inward toward the rail rather than upward. If you can, I would try putting your lifting points closer together. The other thing to do is watch closely as it lifts to see how much the strap moves against the rail as it lifts. Just a quick guess.
Can you show a photo of the boat in the lift, showing the whole lift?


I had the same issue with my old BR 196 and I am sorry but the above recommendation is exactly the opposite wrong thing to do. I made a spreader out of a 2x4 to spread the straps out wide enough so they would not put pressure on the rub rail or just barely touch would be best. The 2x4 basically rested on the deck surface.

The ultimate solution which I have on my new BR 230 is the lifting eye which is a factory option. This eye is flush with the deck but raise up like a pop up cleat when in use but flush when not in use. It goes through the front center of deck just behind the anchor locker and is attached to the front bow eye so it is extremely strong. You could order one and install yourself or have the dealer install. This is the best solution.

Here is a link to the only one I could find on the internet. The picture is not good enough to show the top of the cleat but it is a pop up stainless ring and totally flush with the deck. http://shop.acconmarine.com/products/15 ... g-eye.aspx

You could just install a strong pop up cleat but the assembly above is superior. I would check with KW first because my cost factory installed was $99.


On my previous spreader 2x4 I cut notches out of each end the width of the strap so the strap would stay in spreader. The lifting eye I described above is really the best, safest solution.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by MuskyBill » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:34 am

Thanks for the advice. I will look into spreader bars. I presume I would need one for each of 4 the lifting points. I also think it would be best if they were attached to the slings. I'm not sure a 2x4 is the right way to go, unless covered with carpet or other protective covering, since the spreader would contact the boat hull below the rub rail. If someone had a photo of similar spreader application, it would be greatly appreciated. I don't think that other options, such as lifting eye near bow is workable (see photos).
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by Stonyloam » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:39 am

The spreaders would go on top of the deck, between the sling sides, would need to be wide enough to hold the sling away from the hull. One thing that may be happening is that if the sling does not hang straight down, as you lift the angle of the sling will change and the sling will move fore or aft, kinda looks like that is happening in in your first photos.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by s219 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:44 am

Beautiful location and pier!! I don't think spreader bars are needed in this case, since the sling cable angles are very obviously angled away from the hull once the boat is up in the final position and I'd bet they are still angled away, or close to vertical, when the boat is lowered into the water. Spreaders are important when the opposite is true during some part of the cable travel. Now, if you want spreaders simply to keep the straps away from the rub rail then OK, but based on the sling angle I do not think the spreaders will stay put. Physics will make the spreaders want to slide up the slings.

I think the main problem is that the slings stretch a teeny bit as they snug up and simply grip the rub rail in the process. You really just need something in between the rub rail and the sling to act as a "slip" surface.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by Stonyloam » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:02 pm

Well the best (and of course the most expensive) solution, would be to convert your lift to a bunk type lift. That would solve your rubbing problem and give your boat great support. You have a great looking boathouse there and a nice vertical lift should work well in there. Probably way easier to get the boat in and out too.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by packer » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:21 pm

Now that you have shown a picture of the entire lifting system I will change my opinion. I assumed you were using davits to lift and lower the boat. With your system the lifting eye is not an option unless you hook both front hooks to the lifting eye. That could be done and you could eliminate the rear sling using nylon straps through the rear ski eyes hooked individually to the cable hooks. That being said if I were you I would build or have built a bunk frame to go below the boat. This would be like a trailer but no wheels, axles, or tow connection. The 4 lifting points would then be on this frame wider than the boat so nothing would touch the boat from the sides. You might even purchase an old trailer and just modify the basic frame. I like this idea much better than the slings. With the bunk frame there is no chance of the boat slipping out of the slings if the boat is not exactly in the right location.

As long as the slings put any kind of pressure on the side rails you stand the chance of deforming the rub rail.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by s219 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:17 pm

Stonyloam wrote:Well the best (and of course the most expensive) solution, would be to convert your lift to a bunk type lift. That would solve your rubbing problem and give your boat great support. You have a great looking boathouse there and a nice vertical lift should work well in there. Probably way easier to get the boat in and out too.


I prefer bunk type lifts, in fact that's the only type I have ever used. But some people need sling lifts in cases where the water is not deep enough (or a host of other issues). Cradle lifts eat up a lot of valuable space under the boat, and normally require 24-36" water depth minimum on our types of boats, so that the cradle doesn't hit the bottom before the boat floats off. So I'd guess he may have slings for a reason.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by MuskyBill » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:53 am

A bunk lift is not an option because of water depth. Based upon all comments, I think I will look into moving each of 4 rollers to widen span. Probably can gain a foot or so, which may improve the angle and put less friction/stress on the rub rail. Also some sort of smooth surface at sling-rubrail interface to reduce friction.
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Re: Rub Rail Separation

PostPosted by Stonyloam » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:19 pm

One thing that might help is to make sure the slings are hanging straight down when you start to lift. In your photos they were at a slight angle, which means that as the boat lifts the angle will change and the strap will move along the rub rail. You could try measuring the exact distance between the slings when they are hanging down with no boat, then place the boat in the slings with them spaced at that distance and try a lift. If it looks OK then mark your strap placement so you can get the boat in the same every time. A fore and aft spreader between the cables may also help.
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