Stainless steel boat rails transform motorboat design

How Timeless Tube’s luxury oval handrails are used as part of a stunning motorboat refit 

A Timeless Tube client has recently proved that beautifully shaped railings are not just reserved for superyachts and luxury tenders. The owner of the Finnish-made Botnia Targa 46 Offshore Motorboat upgraded the standard wooden handrails fitted in Finland with Timeless Tube’s oval stainless steel handrail.

Oval tube handrails: “something very, very different”

The Jersey-based owner explains, “Wooden rails are somewhat dated and not very easy to maintain. So I designed and installed my own railings, working with specialist contractors and fabricators…The result: the most beautiful thing you can possibly imagine. It transformed what was a nice-looking boat into something very, very different.

The client chose Timeless’s oval tubes (71x45x2.77mm), made from marine-grade 316L stainless steel in a high mirror polish. After reviewing samples of various tube sizes, the owner made his selection based on what “felt right”.

 

Stainless steel oval boat railings on Botnia Targa 46 Offshore Motorboat
Stainless steel oval boat railings on Botnia Targa 46 Offshore Motorboat

Specialist marine fabrication

 The UK agents for Botnia Targa, Wessex Marine based at Salterns Marina close to Timeless in Poole, Dorset, very kindly made an existing Targa 46 available from which a complete wooden template of the bulwark was built. This template also allowed fabricators Colin Kelly and Alan Worthington to measure the boat in order to calculate the how much boat railing was required. The ‘jig’ template was then broken down and subsequently rebuilt at the fabricators workshop near Southampton.

Much of the design was developed using this bulwark template rather than boat-build drawings. The jig enabled the specialist marine metal fabricators to make the correct compound curves in the railings (curves bent in the x axis and the y axis); Timeless Tube had to custom-make new rollers to create these curves.

A jig template helps to ensure accurate bends and fabrication
A jig template helps to ensure accurate bends and fabrication

Joining the tubing with custom-made connectors

 The tighter bends were made by using Timeless Tube’s joiners. These were used to join the 71x45mm tubing around corners, both vertically (on the A plane) and horizontally (the B plane). Made from 316L stainless steel, these high-quality cast stainless steel components joined the oval tubes: two at the front of the boat and two at the back.

 

Custom-made oval joiners were used to create seamless joins at tight corner bends
Custom-made oval joiners were used to create seamless joins at tight corner bends

The fabricators needed to trim off a bit of material from the joiners before welding them back together to achieve the required angle (the 90 degree angle needed to be slightly reduced for a more gradual, sloping bend). The joiners helped to strengthen each join and allowed for a seamless finish (once they had been welded together and polished). Straight joiners were used for the longer sections of the boat railings.

 

Timeless bespoke joiners used to create tight bends
Timeless bespoke joiners used to create tight bends in the oval boat railings

Sophisticated stern gates and custom-made flip-over rails

 Renowned marine designer and stylist Paul Edmonson from PE Marine Designz was commissioned to create a bespoke gate mechanism with concealed hinges for the stern gates.

The clever gates boast a self-closing feature that enables passengers to get on and off the boat easily, without the need for an awkward and unattractive latch mechanism. Custom-made, the gates can be locked open using a special joint that allows the user to adjust the vertical closed angle. The sophisticated gates used oval tube as the handrail, with round tube gate doors used to create a sense of contrast against the oval handrail.

Paul Edmsonson also designed some clever side flip-over rails with 180° hinges which are hidden when closed. They have a sprung-loaded oval ‘male’ end latch (made from black acetal) hosted in the fixed rail and a ‘female’ receptacle in the flip-over rail. These were installed on both the port and starboard sides of the boat.

Designer Paul Edmonson explains, “The boat owner worked very closely with me regarding how everything worked and looked. It was a pleasure working with someone so passionate about the detail design of something manufacturable and yet so beautiful looking.”

 

Bespoke tip-up gates with custom-designed hinge mechanism
Bespoke tip-up gates with custom-designed hinge mechanism
PE Marine Designsz integrates the clever hinge mechanism into Timeless oval tubing
PE Marine Designsz integrates the clever hinge mechanism into Timeless oval tubing

Oval tubes: more tactile and ‘friendly’

In the words of the boat owner: “99.9% of boats have stainless steel round tube – bar superyachts. I’ve not seen any production boats fitted with oval tube. Oval tube feels far more tactile…irrespective of adding a better look, it’s just a much more friendly shape”.

Everyone looks at the boat and scratches their head. It looks different without looking different. They are drawn to the stainless steel railings. Then they realise they are oval”.

Stunning and sophisticated: beautifully designed gates and rails
Stunning and sophisticated: beautifully designed gates and rails

Railings for refurbishments

Timeless Tube are seeing an increase in dayboat and motorboat owners who realise how much of a difference it makes to have shaped tubing onboard as opposed to standard round tubing or wooden handrails. MD of Timeless Tube Tom McMillan comments, “Unsurprisingly, many boat owners are extremely proud of their craft. And they are very discerning. We are seeing a growing trend in boat-owners wanting to replace fittings such as railings to amazing effect. Our fabrication team specialise in fabricating railings for boats – biminis, bulwarks, grab rails, gunwale rails…no matter what we are working on, we’re always excited when we see the transformation our stainless steel tube solutions can make.

Replacing or repairing your boat railings?

 Whether you want to replace all your rails with shaped stainless steel boat railings, or you have a couple of minor modifications, talk to our specialists. We will be happy to discuss the options you have available.

If you own a boat and you want to install an extra grab rail or two to provide additional support, we can provide the rails for you. Our oval and square boat railings have the additional benefit of being less prone to slippage than round tube, offering a key safety advantage over round tube railings. Timeless offer more shapes and sizes than any other tube supplier, so it is likely that we can find a tube that will match your existing fittings. We have skilled marine welders who can install the railings onsite, should you require this service.

 If you have a length of railing that is scratched or in need of brightening up then talk to our marine fabrication specialists about our polishing services.