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Are aluminium rail necessary on wood floor?

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  • Are aluminium rail necessary on wood floor?

    I'm about to build a two piece plywood floor for my older 13ft zodiac from scratch. I trailer the boat and it has a 30hp outboard so weight isn't so important.
    I've read most sib's have aluminium rails for the edges. Do they protect the hulls from the wood or do they only make the floor more stiff?
    Reading that most sib's use 3/4 inch pressure treated plywood, Would 1inch plywood without the aluminium rails work as well?
    I plan on using my boat in the ocean, not flat water if that matters.
    Thanks for all your help.

  • #2
    Re: Are aluminium rail necessary on wood floor?

    Makes it more stiff. Boards flex at the joints too much without.


    • #3
      Re: Are aluminium rail necessary on wood floor?

      And for the record, SIB is not a term used in the U.S. It's supposed to stand for soft inflatable bottom, but no one in the industry uses the term. Basically we simply say soft bottom. The rails do stiffen the boards preventing some flex and they do keep splinters from the wood from working on the fabric. Some antique inflatables, on non planing designs didn't use side rails at all, but those boats are no more.
      My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

      The 3 Rules:

      1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
      2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
      3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.


      • #4
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        Re: Are aluminium rail necessary on wood floor?

        If it's an issue to get aluminum side rails, you can make them in wood too. A 13" sib needs at least 3 piece floorboards, the bow piece must be separate from middle & transom floorboards, this piece is not placed horizontally once keel is inflated but in slight angle and flexes as a hinge with sib. Better do a nice job if palanning to use a 30 HP engine, for that size, your are slight overpowered. Engine weight correct tube pressure inflation and well fitted floorboards are very important issues for correct sib/engine performance.

        Happy Boating

        Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers