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Fendering ideas


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I'm planning to build a Spindrift 11N as a tender to my yacht, hopefully starting working on it at the end of this summer.

Good fendering will be essentially for this boat, as I need to be happy lying alongside the bigger boat in all sorts of conditions while transferring people. I'm used to inflatables and it's great not even having to think about fendering when the whole boat is one big blow up toy.


It would be interesting to see what solutions people have come up with, as I don't particularly want to reinvent the wheel.

- a string of sausage fenders sounds cheap and easy, but maybe a bit untidy/flappy?

- an old fashioned rope fender would look great, but I imagine anything big enough to offer serious protection is going to be heavy

- sewn pads with foam inserts might work, I have seen these on other rigid tenders

- pool noodles or large diameter foam pipe insulation might work, but I imagine it would need very frequent replacement

- boat rollers are used on some designs, they are quite chunky and only available in certain sizes, but if I find something that fits they might be a good option


My own idea with which I am toying is to use industrial layflat hose. This is made of PVC so in theory I should be able to glue it using dinghy repair adhesive. This would allow me to make tubes of a custom size, with valves for inflation. Or perhaps just use the hose as a heavy duty cover over foam. I'm thinking of 3" as a suitable size offering good fendering, a bit of reserve buoyancy, and the ability to act as a spray rail, but without constantly dipping a tube in the water whilst sailing.


Look forward to seeing what everyone else has done.

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That looks perfect. Didn't realise it was available. Will have to see how the budget is looking closer to the time! 


Do you find it helps to deflect spray? I may be worrying over nothing but I suspect the Spindrift may be a little wetter than a deflatable dink in choppy conditions.

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2 hours ago, Aphers said:

Do you find it helps to deflect spray? I may be worrying over nothing but I suspect the Spindrift may be a little wetter than a deflatable dink in choppy conditions.


I doubt it helps much deflecting spray, but then I installed it before ever really using my boat.  Wetter than a deflatable dink?  I don't anything exists that is wetter than one.

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I can vouch for the gunwale guard; great stuff, but was a mildew battle for me. Fenders like the ones in Paul's link are also great. My pram has a simple 1" rope along the gunwale. Glued into a moulding along the sides and bow (partly visible in one of the pics. I think it looks pretty good, it is tough, and cheap.




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I was tempted to use a rope fendering as well.  And yeah, I think yours looks good too.  In the end I concluded that I would likely be a clutz coming up and boarding my Renegade and I spent way too much time completely refinishing the top sides on her.  In practice, I discovered that I was correct about being a clutz boarding. So many possibilities and damned because they are all related.

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Considering same challenge for my Amanda build.  A lot of the marina tenders I saw in New England had a double row of "sausage"? fenders strung along each side, stretched tight (possibly with a turnbuckle). I've been using old 2' flea market fire hose with old garden hose insert for dock piling bumpers. Works well & probably last forever, but haven't figured out how to use it "neatly" on the Amanda. Think I like the look of the 3-strand line best & maybe route a cove into the existing rails and mount with 5200 and some buried screws.  

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On 3/4/2020 at 2:50 PM, Hirilonde said:

This is what I used. But wow, 14 years ago and buying it at cost from the parts store where I worked sure was a lot cheaper.  Best stuff there is, costs a fortune.


This stuff looks good. Defender has it for $8.49 a foot, which could save you a few bucks if you need less than 50 feet.





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  • 1 year later...

Time to update this.

I've tried adding 3" pool noodles as fenders. Two noodles each side, with a strap running through them and cinched up tight. I fitted eyes specifically for the job. I bought some heavy duty PVC layflat hose to sleeve over it, but it is really heavy and I've decided not to fit it.

Even with no other support, the noodles work pretty well- there's a tiny bit of sagging at the bow. They add almost no weight, and are very cheap to replace if and when they get chewed up.

At the bow itself, I spent the money on a proper vee-shaped fender.

The bow fender and pool noodles sit snugly under the gunwhale, but the big problem with them is that due to the geometry of everything they often don't provide enough protection. The gunwhale only sticks out one inch, and the noodles are 3", but despite this a combination of the inward slant of the dinghy hull, the shape of the yacht's hull, and the dinghy heeling over, means that it's almost inevitable that the wooden gunwhale still hits the yacht.

The other thing I realised was that I wanted protection on the upper face of the gunwhale. When launching/recovering from the deck of the yacht, it's very hard to avoid making contact and scraping the dinghy down the side of the yacht.


So I'm adding another type of fendering, more conventional. Split PVC food grade hose wrapped around the gunwhale. I'm fixing it in place with small stainless screws and washers. It doesn't look as good as I would like but it's robust and very practical.


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I wasn't able to find any fire hose, having asked the only firefighter I know.

The PVC looks less neat, but will provide a bit more protection as it has a bit of 'give' in it. I expect it will eventually succumb to UV damage, so maybe a cover for the boat will be a good idea.


It's hard to see the PVC in the photo, but the pool noodles are much more visible. Not a thing of beauty but they are extremely practical.


Had a wee outing today to the beach, first time in a few weeks that the dinghy's been in the water. I'd forgotten how nice it is to row! I recently changed the rowlocks for a better set, same basic idea (captive, galvanized) but these fit the oars much better. Got them from Toplicht.de for a very reasonable price.




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