Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

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Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by tarryburn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:39 am


firstly, hello all.

I've just recently purchased an old P&H Orion as my first boat. Desperate to get it into
the water this week. However, all I need to get me going is the installation of footrests. I have managed to
remove the glassed in flanges that accommodated the failsafe bar. I have a new set of Yakima rails waiting to
be installed, though I'd just like to pick a few of your brains, I've looked in the Almanac and it's got me in the right direction so far.

It's the lining up and drilling thats worrying me. Ideally it would be great to be able to mark the spacing of
each end of the rail on the outside of the hull and drill in, but I think I'm going to have to go from the inside of the cockpit
out. This means a tight fit though as it is an ocean cockpit and reaching in and forward to the front bulkhead
seems a bit of a nightmare. I take it I would use the same location of the old glass flanges to mount the rails?

Also should I just got with the m5 screw straight into the rail with it's fixed 'sponge' washer, or do I need any other washers or sealants?

Any advice would be well appreciated, I approach this job with a bit of trepidation.

I really want to have this done tonight or tomorrow. I live in Cambridge but I am on a regular (6 weekly) visit to my family outside Glasgow
this week, so would like to have a day up the West coast, weather allowing and I am meeting up with a friend from the Garnock club on


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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by PhilAyr » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:24 pm

I paddle a Quest and the footrest on my rails kept breaking off under heavy preasure, so I removed the rails and fitted a big block of foam against the bulk-head instead, and it works a treat. Saves drilling holes and it's far more comfortable.


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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:43 pm

I've spent a while putting footrests in downriver race boats and find the best way to get at the inside is to suspend the boat securely upside down (eg, in rope loops from garage rafters) just above waist height from the floor, then put your arms in first. It seems unlikely at first but I've been amazed how far I can wriggle into the boat. Even with an ocean cockpit you should be able to get far enough in to use a bradawl or a battery drill to make pilot holes. But it is important to support the boat properly as you'll put some weight on it.

Good luck


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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by PeterG » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:34 pm

I would check on the height of the rails by taping them in place and seeing if the footrests are at the right height. To get the ball of the foot on them they are usually above the hull/deck joint, but might be below if the hull comes up a long way. Once you have the height, why not drill holes from the outside, the entry hole is generally neater than the exit hole, and easy to mark the right place. A drop of sikaflex will make certain that there are no leaks. To put the nuts and washers on inside, I find I can get to the end of my Anas with ocean cockpit by putting it on the lawn and then wiggling in from lying flat on my back on the rear deck. No problems wiggling in, gravity is on your side, but I have had the odd scare about wiggling out again -how long can you survive in that position. Having someone on hand to pull at your legs is reassuring.

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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by Jim » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:43 pm

Can't see why you need to drill from inside to out - the hull is fairly thin so if you mark up or drill directly through the bolt holes from outside you shouldn't get much misalignment when you fit them.
Also drilling from outside you are less likely to chip off a big chunk of gelcoat - my top tip for drilling gelcoat is start with the drill in reverse and then once through the gelcoat, switch back to forward rotation to go through the laminate. Others just put tape over the gelcoat and then drill through the tape.
Foam washers don't sound good, sikaflex 291 or similar (I am using a different brand now that's half the price, but can never remember what it is) or failing that silicone sealant from B&Q, pump a small bead around the bolt head so that it will squash out as you tighten the bolt - instant gasket!

If it is getting the ends of the footrest the same distance from the bulkhead or seat that worries you, you should be able to assume that built in fittings are properly aligned to take your measurements off them rather than something you can'tsee from outside. The footrest is adjustable anyway (although modern ones seem to have discrete steps) and there is no guarantee that the seat is straight or that your legs are the same length......

Personally I prefer to build up foam from the bulkhead as Phil describes, this will have to change when I get my new boat though.....

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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by tarryburn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:46 pm

Cheers for the replies!

Yes the reason for drilling inside to out is that the best position for the end of the rail is flush against the bulkhead and it's transferring that to the outside of the hull that is the tricky part as it has to be bang on.
However, my thinking is to align the rails where I want them, drill a small pilot on the ends of the rails nearest he cockpit from the inside, then I can place the rail on the outside and Mark up the hole nearest the bulkhead and drill outside to in without the contortionist issuses! Er if that makes sense?

The washer I mention is not foam but a compressible material that is fixed to the rail, so it goes between inside of rail and hull, then the m5 goes in, I assume it gives enough play to accommodate a straight rail against a curved hull!

Had considered a foam bulkhead but in the albeit limited times I've been in a boat, I enjoyed stretching out and also adjusting the rails to account for different footwear or how much contact I wanted with the boat!

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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by Aled » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:12 pm

Place a big torch or bright lamp inside the cockpit up against the bulkhead at seam height. Look at this light from the outside. it will be obvious where the bulkhead is - it will be the dark line /area you see forward of the lamp light. Position the footrest >1cm back from this, mark the holes and drill. You may want to check the bulkhead symmetry side to side before committing the drill by measuring both front hole positions from the bow, keep the longest length, and adjust the shortest to match - this will make sure that both are even length when you sit in the boat.

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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by tarryburn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:46 pm

Well thanks everyone, job done and I think I used a bit of everyone's advice. I'm even going to eventually try a foam bulkhead for comparison.

Used the torch to outline seam rather then bulkhead, used the marking of the glass flange to line up rail with back of rail flush against bulkhead. Drilled inside out for hole nearest cockpit. Attached rail to outside of hull and measured down from seam to align, then drilled second hold through rail. Just fitted both footrails and it all feels just great! My first project/bodge/modification!

Right anyone fancy a paddle? I can't wait to get out there! :)

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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by MikeB » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:02 pm

Grand! They are much better footrests than the standard, rather naff, plastic ones. If I may offer one suggestion? Lube the pivots on the adjustment levers with some Waxoyle ever year or so. A light smear on the tracks helps too. Something else to think about is the interface between the bolts and the rails - theres a risk of corrosion there too. Again, Waxoyle will help, or Coppaslip. Mike.

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Re: Replacing failsafe footrest with Yakima rails.

Post by tarryburn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:55 pm

Will do Mike! What I thought was a little poor about them was they basically give you two left hand rails.
I mean the rails have two machined grooves that I assume is to let debris escape through, but you have
to take the foot-plate and locking mechanism out and turn it round so that you have a left and right rail
with the grooves both facing down. Just thought it was a poor way to present to customers, or am I just
being fickle?

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