Bow Eyes and Stern Tiedowns

Sometimes little things can be a big headache. And sometimes big headaches can turn out not to be that big a deal at all. And so it was with the bow eyes and stern tiedowns.

Here’s the idea, I have a trailerable shantyboat. It is really really nice if when I am towing down the road if it stays on the trailer. (See Tips on how not to die in a fiery ball of twisted metal on the highway.)

So we add a few hooks into the hull that allow us to attach it to the trailer.  Additionally, the boweye will allow us to winch the boat the last few feet onto the trailer, as well as be towed if we ever need to do that.

A boweye and a stern tiedown look pretty much the same — typically a stainless steel U-bolt that ties into the framing members of the boat. The price of boweyes varied tremendously, and not necessarily commensurate with the quality of the hardware. That was frustrating. After lots of searching online, I found a high quality, reasonably priced set of boweyes/tiedowns.

I was not that excited about drilling more holes in my allegedly waterproof hull.  Additionally, since there wasn’t space within the tight confines of the boat to drill from the inside, I had to drill a hole from the outside and yet still hit the precise center of a one and a half inch framing member.  Ack.

So this required a good deal of measurement, re-measurement, guess-work, and calculation.

Word on the street is that there is a clever device to make sure that the holes you drill are perpendicular to the plane of the surface you are drilling, a kind of portable drill press.  I don’t have one of those.  I used my carpenter’s square to ensure that my hole was perpendicular.

Despite all my calculations, you can see my first hole that was vertically positioned too high.  Inside, the hole was positioned on the framing member without enough space to receive a nut. Laterally though, my holes were perfect positioned.

I considered epoxying the inside of the holes to prevent damage if water should get inside, but only primed the holes instead.

I used the special silicone adhesive and sealant (referred to around here as the Black Goo) on the portion that would rest against the hull before tightening the boweye. .

Inside the bulkhead under the desk, I tightened down the boweye.

Cleaning up the sealant, I had a beautiful boweye mounted to the center of the bow. Rinse, repeat, and I had the stern tiedowns bolted into the members beneath the stern.

It wasn’t as hard as I’d feared, nor as easy as I hoped. Awesome.

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