Mounting a stern rail on a Tanzer 26

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By Howard Drescher

T26 #175, "Osprey"

I don't know how many owners are still out there without a stern rail but this is for you. I purchased a new rail from Eric Spencer this year after repeated urging from my crew about safety, etc. Not to mention appearance and having something to hold onto, lean against, or whatever. More than one person has commented on the "openness" over the stern of the T26.

From placing the order to delivery took about two weeks and Eric's price was reasonable at a little over US$300. My priorities as they are, of course, I didn't tackle the installation until the end of the season, and recruited a handy friend to assist. The job is really quite simple.

Eric's package comes with the fabricated 7/8" SS rail, stanchions and deck fittings. No instructions or hardware however. We consulted photos and eyeballed the locations, working around my transom-mounted Loran antenna to starboard and the outboard to port. Ended up mounting the rear stanchions about a foot inboard. We then found what felt like the right spot for the forward stanchions, leaving several inches of the forward ends of the rail projecting out. We used 10/24 oval-head SS machine screws with lock nuts and one-inch washers to back them up. We had to use a smaller 11/16 washer at the stern-most holes, where the screw was too close to the inside of the transom to accomodate the larger washer. Stern screws were 1 1/4" and 2" for the forward, where there is some coring material to go through.

The "inside" member of the installation team has to be pretty small or extremely flexible, and definitely not claustrophobic! The port side was easy, working from the quarter-berth. We had to work the starboard side through the lazarette. Confining to say the least. We used plenty of 3M 5200 compound, about which a WORD OF CAUTION. The deck fittings have water drain channels cut in the bottom, which in my zeal to seal, I just forgot about. After we finished, of course, I recognized my error, which I will hopefully correct by plunging a red hot paper clip through the channels to clear them out. In retrospect, I would be more careful in applying the 5200 and perhaps even use pipe cleaners to keep the channels open during installation.

Start to finish, the job took less than four hours and required no fancy tools or special skills. Next step will be to adapt my life lines. I'm definitely looking forward to the security and extra "handle" of my new stern rail, and the crew will be very happy too. A worthy improvement which I recommend to other owners.

Howard Drescher, "Osprey", Tanzer 26, #175, Noank, CT.

© copyright by Howard Drescher, 1999.