Add ease and safety
Besides their 'salty' look, a set of pinrails is extremely handy for securing the host of lines that seem to accumulate around the mast. Spare halyards, spinnaker halyard, spinnaker pole topping lift halyard, flag halyards, and extra lines can be moved from attachments on the lifelines and deck fittings to a safer and neater securing point. When a line is attached properly to a pinrail, it can be instantly free by lifting the belaying pin - another safety feature when in quick need of a halyard or line.
I installed a set of pinrails on VALHALLA, my Fuji 32 ketch, over seventeen years ago. Two re-riggings later, these same pinrails continue to serve me well.
Here's a view of the one on the port side.
Notice that seizing at the top and the bottom of the pinrail is required
to keep it in place on the lower shrouds. I use a double wrapping of cloth
friction tape over the rigging wire and cover it with a tight seizing.
Adding a solution of rigger's 'slush' protects the seizings from the elements.
On the outside of the pinrails, I've gone a few steps
further and added a padeye for the spare halyard snap-shackle and have
also fabricated mounts for the sidelights, raising them to a height for
easier visibility. These are shown in the photo to the right.
The length of the pinrails is determined by the distance between the lower shrouds at the desired height above deck. Add an extra inch on each side for overlap. I used teak for the pinrail base and belaying pin handles and though unfinished all these years, they are still sturdy. The pins were fashioned from 1/2 inch stainless steel rod. The number of pins will be determined from the length of the rail. A spacing of 6 inches between pins works well.
The construction details are shown in the drawing.
Assemble with epoxy glue. Fitting of the ends to the shrouds is accomplished
by drilling a hole at the ends to match the angle the shroud makes with
the horizontal. The angles seldom will be the same so be careful to measure
both ends carefully. After drilling the holes, saw out the slot where the
shroud will pass through the rail. Fabricate wedges to fill the slot, making
them oversize until after they have been installed then trim. The pins
should be scored with a file where they fit into the handle. The small
hole in the belaying pin handle allows air and excess glue to escape during
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