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Preventing lifting soles boards from scratching surrounding vertical surfaces and jamming

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What is the issue?
Modern yachts tend to have lifting sole boards right up against vertical surfaces. In time these boards tend to swell and jam so they have to be yanked out. As this happens they strike and scratch the adjacent surfaces.

Why address this?
In addition to being frustrating, this type of conspicuous wear will look poor and devalue the vessel.

How to address this?
If you have a sticking sole board it may be easily remedied by putting a slight bevel, or taper, around the lower edge of the lifting board. This can easily be carried out by an electric plane or failing that an electric sander. After the taper has been formed the sole board will never jam again.

Beveled lifting sole board
Drawing: Tony Gibson

If some rearrangement is being carried out on the cabin floor it may be worth taking the opportunity to place a margin board around the lifting sole board so as to reduce its size and keep it clear of the surrounding surfaces.

Sole board with a border acting as a spacer
Drawing: Tony Gibson

It is difficult to beat the 'keep it simple' method of providing a hole(s) through the lifting sole board for pulling the board up. However, in certain positions, they could allow small objects to fall through which may block a bilge pump. So it is advisable to use flush mounted ring pulls if possible.

Flush mount, ring pull, inset handles
Photo: Michael Harpur

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession. Header image with thanks to Catalina Projects.

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