One of the things we will need on our Down East trip are fender boards to keep our boat from rubbing on barnacle-covered pilings at docks, when tied to another boat like a rough-sided fishing trawler or when we are along a rough cement wall…like those you find in some locks on the Erie Canal and locks on the St, Lawrence River.
So after doing some online research I decided to make two 6 foot long fender boards using 4 inch diameter schedule 40 PVC pipe. (I considered schedule 80 pipe but think that would be too heavy and might crack more easily under pressure than the slightly flexible schedule 40. I decided on these dimensions based on our Pursuit boat being 36 feet long (including the bow pulpit) and weighing about 18-20,000 lbs. depending on the amount of fuel, water, people and stuff onboard.
I will tie two fenders to each of the two PVC pipes, to hold the fenders in place so they don’t role up or sideways as the boat moves some from waves, wind and tides. The trick was to decide how to attach the lines to the PVC so as to hold the contraption in place along the side of the boat while NOT having any of the lines go all the way around the PVC pipe. Any line that were to go all the way around the PVC pipe would be rubbed severely between the PVC pipe and the piling, cement wall or other hard and rough object, and that rubbing would quickly cut the rope in two.
The answer was to drill holes through the pipe, both to hold the fender board in place along the side of the boat and also to hold the fenders securely to the PVC pipe. The pictures show how this looks as I was making it, and then the finished product, both with and without the fenders attached.
By using this design I feel that we can easily and quickly remove the fenders from the pipe when the fender boards are not needed. The fenders can then be stored in the stainless steel fender holders from TaylorMade that I have along the railings and the PVC pipe with ropes attached can be stowed along the gunnel, on top of the hard top above the bridge, or in the stern on the platform by the engines.
Fender boards in use going through our first set of locks on the Hudson River: