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Hi all, as per the title, I want to fit two fairleads to the bow of my steel narrowboat. Do I need to cut threads in once I have drilled or is there some sort of bolt I can use without having to cut threads ? Thank you.

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2 minutes ago, colmac said:

Hi all, as per the title, I want to fit two fairleads to the bow of my steel narrowboat. Do I need to cut threads in once I have drilled or is there some sort of bolt I can use without having to cut threads ? Thank you.

Fairleads can have to take a lot of force when idiots go past at high speed so I would want at least 6mm bolts/screws and ideally 8mm. I drilled and tapped the gunwales but could just have easily put a nut on the underside. One thing I would not use in this case are the self drilling and tapping type fixings.

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4 minutes ago, colmac said:

Hi all, as per the title, I want to fit two fairleads to the bow of my steel narrowboat. Do I need to cut threads in once I have drilled or is there some sort of bolt I can use without having to cut threads ? Thank you.

Depends if you can access the back where the nut would be, if using brass make sure the underside between fairlead and hull is well sealed as the different metals will create corrosion otherwise. 

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As above, if you have access then bolt through the gunwhale, if not you will need to cut a thread. 

 

This job is on my to do list after losing one of our forward fairleads recently when the silly little tapped screws gave way. Luckily I have access to the underside of the gunwale via the gas locker so will be bolting them in this time.

 

I also bought a couple of cleats to fit each side just forward of the cratch board to make mooring up easier, I hopefully won't have to clamber onto the front to tie up onto the centre "T" stud anymore.

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Use good SS bolts, not brass.

I've seen a fairlead fitted with 6mm brass bolts 'ping' off under high stress .  The lump of brass missed the boater's head by about two inches and could have killed him.

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23 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Fairleads can have to take a lot of force when idiots go past at high speed so I would want at least 6mm bolts/screws and ideally 8mm. I drilled and tapped the gunwales but could just have easily put a nut on the underside. One thing I would not use in this case are the self drilling and tapping type fixings.

Echo that.

I fitted brass fairleads bought from a real yacht chandler, 8mm SS screws* and very large flat rooging washers to take the load.

They've been on th boat ever since I fitter her out some thirty years ago. If there's any corrosion - I've not noticed it....

 

*Screws are threaded all the way up, bolts are only theraded part the way up.....

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Bolted through with a large washer on the underside if you can, failing that tap a hole.depending on steel thickness 6or8mm stainless machine screws.

My forward cleats are held on with 4xm10 stainless😷

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1 minute ago, OldGoat said:

Echo that.

I fitted brass fairleads bought from a real yacht chandler, 8mm SS screws* and very large flat rooging washers to take the load.

They've been on th boat ever since I fitter her out some thirty years ago. If there's any corrosion - I've not noticed it....

 

*Screws are threaded all the way up, bolts are only theraded part the way up.....

 

That is because they are brass. if there is any "corrosion" it will be the brass that is de-zinced so if you looked underneath it would have gone pinkish. Just like jumpers on taps just before they break any you find they turned to sponge all on their own.

 

Buying from a proper chandlers they may be something more than ordinary brass.

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4 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

That is because they are brass. if there is any "corrosion" it will be the brass that is de-zinced so if you looked underneath it would have gone pinkish. Just like jumpers on taps just before they break any you find they turned to sponge all on their own.

 

Buying from a proper chandlers they may be something more than ordinary brass.

Yup - I forked out and bought all my brassware from a proper marine (you know the salty stuff) chandlers....

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Don't do it - they are not needed on a steel boat and the brass ones just not up to it. They can ping off even if a boat goes past slowly if the mooring ropes are a bit  loose. Put some half round brass or stainless steel around the edge if you are worried about your paintwork.

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When I decided to fit bow fairleads to our boat I drilled and tapped the holes, put a dob of grease all around the holes and stainless bolts, put a plastic spacer between the fairlead and the cant.

I also put a "penny" washers, nuts and the bolts beneath the cant. I also used "Locktite" on the nuts.

Easy as the front locker is our water tank.

20170415_163148.jpg

Edited by Ray T
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3 minutes ago, Mike Adams said:

Don't do it - they are not needed on a steel boat and the brass ones just not up to it. They can ping off even if a boat goes past slowly if the mooring ropes are a bit  loose. Put some half round brass or stainless steel around the edge if you are worried about your paintwork.

Only if the fixings are too weak or the fairleads are toys.  The ones  fitted were nice chunky cast steel ones held in by three 8mm set screws. Even when an idiot on the Thames went past at very high speed in the middle of the night and snapped my stern line plus lines on other boats moored there the fairleads stayed in place. Its a question of selecting suitable fairleads and fittings

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Thank you all. As ever some good advice. Will give the matter some thought before doing owt drastic. I did consider fixing some sort of plate to the area affected by the bow lines so they can rub that instead. Boat down here in Stourport has bits of 5 bar shaped and attached but I guess fraying the ropes comes in to the equation then. Thanks again

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It strikes me that any point onto which a line may be attached will at some point be used in an emergency. It's a bit difficult to tie a line to a fairlead, though, and there is a bloody great T-stud close by.

 

However, all the fairleads will do is prevent the line from abrading the paint. If that's what the line is doing, the steel isn't going to rust at that point as it will be continuously polished!

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The fairleads on this boat are on the handrails opposite the roof centre rope attachment.  As such they regularly hold the centre rope as the boat is being strapped to a stop with a bollard, and have given no problems with that load. The only problem with  this arrangement is that the centre rope wears preferentially at the point where it passes through the fairlead. That gets fixed by buying centre ropes long enough to be able take metre or so off the end and do a new eye splice. By the time that's been done twice, the rest of the rope is pretty worn too and due for replacement. 

 

MP.

Edited by MoominPapa
problems -> no problems. Get the sense right, Moomin!
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1 hour ago, Machpoint005 said:

It strikes me that any point onto which a line may be attached will at some point be used in an emergency. It's a bit difficult to tie a line to a fairlead, though, and there is a bloody great T-stud close by.

 

However, all the fairleads will do is prevent the line from abrading the paint. If that's what the line is doing, the steel isn't going to rust at that point as it will be continuously polished!

 

1. When suitably positioned they also allow the use of backward springs when mooring space dictated their use without damaging the cratch board or cover

 

2. Only on a boat cruised almost every day.  leave it for a month or more in winter and rust will be creeping under the edges of the remainder paint.

 

 

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Not exactly the same, but in France it is common to drive against a forward sping in locks to keep the boat steady. This doesn't work very well from the T stud on a narrowboat or widebeam as the central attachment makes the stern try to swing out away from the wall. 3 or 4 owners took up my suggestion of fairleads, generally slightly further back closer to the well deck than the photo at the start of the thread. Using a fairlead the eye of the line would be on the lockside bollard and the actual attachment to the boat was a few turns on the T stud, allowing the crew to adjust the length of line if necessary by easing the tension on the standing end of the line from the well deck.

 

One owner made a far better modification, and often mentioned how successful it was. Xenia's crew could use theirs in the same way as the paired bollards on a barge, effectively using the forward one of the pair as a fairlead and with turns taken on the second.

 

Tam

W.B.jpg

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3 hours ago, Machpoint005 said:

It strikes me that any point onto which a line may be attached will at some point be used in an emergency. It's a bit difficult to tie a line to a fairlead, though, and there is a bloody great T-stud close by.

 

However, all the fairleads will do is prevent the line from abrading the paint. If that's what the line is doing, the steel isn't going to rust at that point as it will be continuously polished!

The main purpose of a fairlead is to provide a "fair lead" to an attatchment point (a cleat, dolly etc ) and its secondary role is to reduce abrasion. It should, of course, be well secured, ideally with an internal backing plate to spread the load if possible and as such, it isn't designed as an object to use to secure a rope to. Placed in the right place they are very useful on any craft, large or not so large.

 

Howard

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I rarely use my bow T stud since I fitted a bit at the front of the well deck, removes the need clamber over the front.

Held on with 4x M10 stainless bolts its going nowhere in a hurry.

 

 

 

Screenshot_20201203_172400.jpg

Edited by Loddon
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1 hour ago, Tony Brooks said:

1. When suitably positioned they also allow the use of backward springs when mooring space dictated their use without damaging the cratch board or cover

And they reduce the risk of tripping over the spring line when (dis)embarking. No cratch in my case, but they're invaluable for avoiding that accidental faceplant on to the towpath, especially with guests aboard, as they tend to keep the line outboard of the gunwale and thus not underfoot. I'm otherwise not much of a fan of them on narrow boats though.


OP: whatever you do, as everyone has said, make sure they're attached solidly and aren't just there 'for show'!

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