I would like to replace the cabin top handrails on my Sam L. Morse built BCC. I assume the handrails are through-bolted, but there is no interior access to the nuts (short of removing the overhead fiberglass panels, which I would prefer not to do).

Has anyone faced this challenge before? Can anyone confirm that the handrails are through-bolted?

If they are, one option I am considering is to use a hole saw to drill a series of holes in the fiberglass overhead to provide access to the nuts. Once the handrails are replaced, I would fabricate a teak cover board to conceal the access holes, which could be easily removed at a later date in the event that access was again required.

Any ideas?

The handrails on Jolie Brise are through-bolted. The bolt comes through the interior overhead panel and is finished off with an acorn nut. In your situation I would pop off a plug in the handrail and see if they may just be held on with screws into the cabin top.If they are through-bolted you may have a difficult time locating the position of each bolt and nut lying under the overhead.

Bob & Lois

BCC Jolie Brise

Earlier BCC’s were through bolted, later ones were not, Drop me an email with the year of your boat and I can explain what to do.

Roger xiphias37@yahoo.com

Just for curiosities sake – why change to non-thru bolted?

I had the same situation and decided to drill and plug for access. I carefully measured and transferred the dimensions to inside, used a hole saw, then bought furniture plugs(off-white) at Home Depot. They were an almost perfect match. Good luck, Ray

Ben, the reason we discontinued through bolting the handrails was that it was an overkill and the brass acorn nuts often bumped heads, caught hair, etc. Lets face it, the real strength of the handrail is limited to the strength of the wood. So how much pressure would it take to break a handrail loop or a piece of teak about 8" long and about 7/8" diameter round. Some owners actually used the handrail as a mainsail boomvang attachment. Soon they discovered that they would never rip the handrail out but they broke the wood. The cabin top has about 1/4" fiberglass on top, a 1/2" plywood core and another 1/8" of fiberglass. By using a #14 self tapping screw through the handrail and through the cabin top provides more strength than the wood. Needless to say, the pilot hole has to be right and the handrails had to be properly bedded.


I’ll go with overkill any day. I am truely amazed of what these boats consist of. Every time I am taken to some out-of-the way place on Jolie Brise to run a wire,hose or fitting I think holy ###@&^&&!! what a boat. There is unseen time that has been spent to do it right. As my dearly departed friend Iber Courson once said " If you want to make a great product, pay attention to detail " The cerw at Sam L. Morse did just that.

Bob & Lois

BCC Jolie Brise

I too use my cabin top hand rails for more purpose’es than they were designed for.

When preparing for sea, I lash down, fenders and my F/Kn’s dinghy to those Teak cabin top hand rails .

Roger is right , about his engineering of using suitable fasteners for the wood handrails, ie: “The Wood will Break Away, before the fastener pulls out”.

There are some of us “belt and braces” types, that would still prefer the thru bolt approach , though !

It is in my mind that when I lash down my cabin top dinghy, I want it secured to that cabin top with through bolts, instead of just screws.

I think that Bil of BCC Zygote , could give us the engineering specs on screw vs bolt fasteners on that cabin top Teak hand-rail .

Certainly , the Teak rails themselves, with the grain taken into consideration could be oriented for maximum strength, if it was thought to do so .