Tech Wiki

Rebedding Life Line Stanchions

Q: When I returned to my boat after a particularly rainy winter, I found a lot of water inside, particularly in the small sliding-door cabinets...what's going on?

I have have a constant problem with the first stanchion in front of the gate. It is the weakest one from it's location near the rail and the vent hole for water and waste both port and starboard make for little solid wood around it. It doesn't seem fair that it is also the one people want to abuse the most when climbing aboard. It's considered bad form by my wife to yell at the guests. "No hands on the handrails!" Finally, they are the ones that leak in the worst possible place, right above the electronics and charts.

Ken Dickson, Family Affair #876

In looking into rebedding stanchions, I've discovered that there's a Wrong Way to do this. It takes two people to do this horrendous job -- one to screw and one to hold the nut. But actually, that's the wrong way. The natural instinct is to hold the nut in place while the person topsides screws down. But this compromises the bedding compound and destroys the waterproof seal. All tightening must be done from inside! A *very* thorough article on stanchion rebedding will be found at the following URL:

Bryan Pfaffenberger, Juliana #680

After removing the stanchion and cleaning everything, you need to make sure that everything is dry. Might want to use alcohol on the holes to ensure any moisture is assimilated. When everything is dry, use something like a pick or a dental probe to make sure that there has been no rot in the deck core (on a C-34 it is a plywood core). You can either treat the holes with epoxy or completely fill the hole and redrill ONE hole size larger than the bolts or hole. Polysulfide is the only way to go. Treat the stanchion base just like the article says, but make sure that none of the caulk gets on the bolt threads when passing the bolt through (or you'll never get that sucker off again). The person on the outside needs a number 3 Phillips head screw driver with a SQUARE shank. This allows that person to put a Crescent wrench on the square shank of the screwdriver to keep the screwdriver from turning, at the same time pushing down on the top of the screwdriver to keep it in the slots of the head.(while the person below tightens with a deep well socket). If you don't have a backing plate, you need to use large SS washers. Per the article, only tighten it down to approximately 3/4 tightness. Let it harden a few days before you give it the final tightening. Don't worry about anything that oozes out - let it harden. It's easier to cut off excess when it hardens than to wipe it off when it is wet. I've had the same problem with the identical stanchion that Ken has had and finally fixed it after 4 or 5 tries!! Checked the boat yesterday after all the rain to make sure I'm not a liar!

Ron Hill, Apache #788

After the stanchions are rebedded... Make yourself a "pull line." You can use an old 1/2" dock line with an eye splice that may have gotten frayed a little bit or is too short for normal use. Loop the eye splice around the aft inner stay and let it hang over the top of the life line. Tie figure eight knots about every 18" and let the line hang down to just below the rub rail. This allows anyone to pull the boat closer using this line. It also assists people getting on and off the boat without using the stanchion for support. The knots just help to keep the line from slipping through somebody's hand. The line can easily be moved to the opposite side when needed at a different dock. The line can remain attached and just thrown on the cabin roof when underway. It's been my experience that no matter how hard you preach to push or pull the boat IF YOU MUST , use the base of the stanchion-- it usually goes in one ear and out the other.

Ron Hill, Apache #788