Replacing Sideliners

What’s a sideliner you ask? It’s like a headliner, but a sideliner covers the diagonal side portion of the interior of my boat’s cabin. I had removed these pieces of vinyl fabric in the process of troubleshooting some leaks. I later determined that the source of my leaks were the leaking main and forward hatches, which I re-bedded.

It had been a couple of months while I worked on my mast and rigging and I was ready to get this foam dreariness covered back up:

The sideliner replacement is not a terribly complicated job, but a little fidgety. I was not the first owner of my boat to replace these sections of fabric and I did not particularly care for the replacement chosen by the previous owner. Instead I found an off-white fabric (Ottertex Marine Vinyl in Beige) that was closer match to the existing OEM headliner.

I unrolled and trimmed the fabric on my tailgate/sewing table. I needed a piece about 10 feet long, and about 20″ wide that I could later trim to fit.

The upper edge of the sideliner folds around piece of wood. I reused the non-original pieces inherited from the previous owner, and attached the fabric to the wood with T-50 staples:

This wood is then screwed into a shallow wooden backer piece that is glued to the hull at the factory. It would not make sense for several reasons to screw directly into the hull fiberglass. One challenge is that this thin (3/8″ thick?) backer piece has had water drizzling down into it for an unknown number of years, and in one 2-3 foot section had become detached from the hull.

Prior to this sideliner installation I had taken some time to reglue the backer to the hull with some 3M 4200 adhesive:

Next is a tricky step, if there is one. It’s helpful to have a second person or a portfolio of punctuated profanity to assist you as you get the first screw set in the right place. The wood piece should be long enough to extend from one end of the salon to the other, so long that one cannot simultaneously set the middle screw and reach over and feel if the end is in the right place. A helper, or colorful language.

Make sure that if you have any zipper pulls in the main headliner (especially ones that you have carefully replaced) they are not going to be covered by the sideliner you are installing.

Once the upper covered rail is in place, the lower rail trim piece screws in from the outside.

A final step is to trim off the excess fabric from below the trim piece:

And there you have it:

If I had a second set of hands I probably could have gotten the vinyl a little tighter/smoother, but no matter. It’s a sailboat for sailing, and now I don’t have to look at that awful wheezy yellow backing foam any more. Onward.

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