Rot is a terrible thing. just because it is natural does not mean that anyone or any thing has to like it that entropy is having it’s way. With flirt now 52 years old (she was finished and launched in ’63) I expected that all the wood would need replacing, the toerail is and was no surprise.
Made of Mahogany like all of Flirt’s wood, the toerail has a pretty aweful life. It’s on the deck exposed to the sun, wind, and water. This does not include the extremes of season from fry and egg on deck heat of summer to being afraid to touch the boat as it’s that frozen in winter. the toerail has to endure all of this plus be the last ditch effort to keep you and stuff from sliding off the deck and into the drink.
While Mahogany is a hard wood, it is by no means completely rot resistant. This is especially true when nobody knows the last time it had been varnished or been resealed to the deck. in short, Flirt’s toerails were goners.
I started off with trying to get them off in one piece. I pried up the bungs over the screws and got the screws up, but after the wood broke at each screw hole I decided it was not worth the effort and simply pryed them up off the deck with a heavy screw driver. Each hit with the hammer on the screwdriver rewarded me with either a bit of water oozing out of the wood or in a couple of cases, it squirted out. Yes, the Mahogany was that rotted.
Secured to her deck every eight inches, it was harder to pull the screws from the glass than it was to pull the wood off of it. By the end my fingers were quite stiff and sore and my knees were not exactly happy from kneeling on the antislip. (I may not be as old as flirt is, but there are times when I am reminded that I am no longer twenty)
So now for the gruesome pictures everyone waits for:
Here is the bow with no toerail
And here is a shot of a piece of the toerail after I pulled it up.