Fenders for wooden dinghy

So, launching from a beach ... no problem. At the dock ... different question:

What fender types / location / number do you all use, if any on your CLC boats?

On the Chester Yawl, I tried the 4 1/2 X 16" cylindrical fenders from Taylormade; Vertical does not work because protection is needed at the rubrail and that is preciswly where it would attach. So, vertically hung does not work. I trided horizontally lashed onto the scuppered inwales on both sides and with the fender tucked underneath the rail and parallel to it. That works better, but I would need 4 or 5 of them per side. While theoretically feasible to attach them to either port or starboard as needed while on the way back to the dock, it is rather impractrical in a small row boat where stability is limited when doing anything in a non-seated position.

The rope fenders and "bow puddings" look cool, but might not offer any more protection than the regular fenders.

I know, some will argue that the rubrail is designed just for that purpose, rendering the use of fenders redundant on such a small and light boat, but I would rather protect the rubrail than keep replacing it. 

For those of you using fenders, I would be interested in hearing about your experience/recommendations. And for those of you not using them, I certainly welcome your alternatives, as well.






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RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

   You might try a fender board.  That is a plank, which can be anything form a piece of 5/4 wood, to a 6" thick heavy piece of wood.  Thick would be for a very large vessel, 1" would be for a small craft.  It is attached to the boat, by line, and lays over the fenders, which are against the hull.  Usually they are used when tied next to pilings, but could also be used against a dock.  It would extend protection past your rub rails, being between the pier and the fenders which are against the hull.  Another thing you could do is tie the fenders in a horizontal position, high up at rub rail height.  However, wave action could cause them to pop up over the rubrail/gunnel.

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

   No easy answers, but you might try a flat fender, like West marine sells, or initially try out using an old life preserver, one of the old, cheap horsecollar types. Lash it horizontally to seats or such with lines long enough to keep it in the boat then flip out when docking.  Avoid high docks w/o ladders.  they suck for small light boats.  I had a time getting in/out of my skerry at a high dock where I couldn't get to the ladder.  I can still balance and hop pretty well, but not as easy as a while ago.  And lastly, that's what that last bit of well sealed paint and varnish is for...patching the scuffs.  My project for the winter.

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

A rope rub-rail looks pretty salty:

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

Thanks, Dave; The fender board might be an option on a bigger vessel, but I feel that might be "overboard" for this 15' dinghy. On the other hand the horizontal fender tucked into the lower side of the gunnel is likely a good option.

I hear you loud and clear Mummichog: will keep a sealed can of varnish handy. I looked at the flat fenders from west marine. Might be an option, too. I am checking location with a coastguard orange collar jacket, as you suggested. ;-)

Hooper, thanks ... Is that your boat? Beautiful and quite salty, indeed. It looks great on this relatively larger boat. Might look akward on the smaller Chester Yawl and a proportiantely smaller diameter rope more suitable for her size might just not offer enough protection.

All great suggestions, thank you! I will keep experimenting and post photos of what I went with.


RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

No, that's not my boat.  That's just the first picture I came to with an example of rope rub-rails.  I think a smaller rope on a smaller boat would work fine.  Having said that, I have pretty much given up on all fenders for launching, taking out, and short stays at the dock.  I just fend off when I'm in the boat, and try to tie her up on the lee side or down stream side (which ever is having more effect that day) of the dock with loose lines.  The current or wind usually does a pretty good job of holding her off the dock.    


RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

Sometimes three strand rub rails are soaked in epoxy after they're installed.  You still get the salty look, but they're basically hard plastic rub rails for durability.  It also gives them an amber hue, which is kind of nice.

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

���BTW the StopLoss bags that CLC sells really work to save left over varnish very well. I recommend them.

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy


I had the same concern when I first had my Skerry art a dock so I bought a couple low freeboard fenders - like the ones here:    


The issue was how to attach them so the top part of the fender would stay on top of the rail and protect it when the boat comes up under the side of the floating  dock.  I had previously drilled small holes in the bulkheads just a few inches below the rail like a lot of people do. So, I ran a line through the holes in each bulkhead and attached the fenders to the line. It works well. If you have inwales, just tie the fenders to them.

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

West Marine also has "L" shaped fenders that fit over the rail, specifically for this purpose.  A Type IV throwable, boat cushion or piece of closed cell foam could also probably do the trick.

RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy

I made some fenders out of Jumbo Noodles. As long as 55 inches


RE: Fenders for wooden dinghy


Those have always looked to me as if they'd last about a minute rubbing against a rough wooden dock. How have they actually worked out for you?



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