Good morning all, a rainy December morning in Wisconsin? Don't worry - it will be a high of 29 tomorrow.

A quick question: Some of the deck stanchions for the safety line (railing) on Jennifer Ann, our 69 35' Express, are not tightly secured. The problem is that the nuts seem to be turning below deck. I Can't access them from below without major demolition, which I am not excited to do. Any other tricks? Seems like I read once, that someone drilled out the old screws and put in toggle bolts? Any experienced insight would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.


 John Scanlon

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Hi John,

The stanchions on my 1973 410 are secured with really large wood screws. I think the 1960's 38's were this way also. Are you sure yours are nut and bolt?

John Brock

John - I can't back them out, so I have to assume they are. I tried turning them while applying upward pressure, but they only spin. I sure appreciate the quick feedback. Now I have to go back and try again...

The 35 doesn't have wood below the stanchion base like the other models.  The screws go through the toe-rail and fasten to a threaded plate below, this by dreaded memory.  Also, by dreaded memory the plate is steel so you may be experiencing stripped screw or rusted plate threads.  BTW these are the dreaded frearson screws.  You can confirm the backing by looking in the anchor rode locker, the side doors for the fuel shutoff valves or being a contortionist and looking up at the aft inside from the lazarette.

Thanks Tim. This jives with what I am experiencing. There are quite a few of those that I can't access. Did you do anything to work around the problem?



I am under roof year around so the only water exposure is washing and all screws are tight with the exception of one with a missing head.  I think I might consider removing  two opposing screws, drop a weighted line through each hole findtewo the ends inside the hull, tie them together, retrieve them toward the toe rail then remove the other two screws.  You can then recover the plate, make a new one use new screws and hope all is aligned.  Or use toggle bolts and get it done easier.

Good luck,


Tim, Thanks for the suggestion, however I am not able to back out any of the screws - they just spin. Even if I could, I don't have access to the plates, so retrieving the old ones and getting new ones in place would be rather tough.

Can you drop the panels along the settee and the dinette to access the plates? I have not attempted that yet, but it looks as though that might be possible.


The flooring panel is screwed down and I have accessed that but my side panel has wallcovering so I could not tell you about thati  It seems you will need  to drill out the screws which is why I made the suggestion of using the weighted line.  To my knowledge only Greg G. has intimate knowledge of these plates and he has not re-installed his life lines but he could tell you what lurks below.

Off to fuel up and winterize,check your pm for my phone number.


Thanks Tim. I will reach out to Greg. I followed his lead when I installed the 8.1's. I should have thought of that, but glad you suggested it.

Best, John


I have a 68 35 express and have been spending lots of time in the bilge this offseason. 

Looking up in the space between the outboard side of the engines and the hull side I can see that the stantions are thru bolted . On the underside of my side deck there is a continuous solid mahogany backer where the washers and nuts are attached. 

It looks like you can acess all of them from the bulkhead going aft if your willing to be a contortionist.  The ones foward of that will require some dismantling in the cabin.  

Im concidering adding some access plates by each one to allow periodical tighting of bolts. 

The ones by the settee might be accessed via the inset storage below the windows.  Try removing the top of the cubby bin to see if you can access the bottom of the stations.  This would not be without damage to the interior but would not be noticeable if done with thought.  You may be able to hold the nuts to tighten the screws.

Jeremy and Tim - thanks for your replies. I am encouraged to try to access these. As it happens, only the forward stanchions where the lifeline is, are loose. Figures - right - the hardest ones to get to. I will try, as Tim suggested, to remove the top panel of the cubbies on both sides to see if I can get to some of them. As I move forward to the galley, and head, I may be more challenged.

Again - sure appreciate the feedback guys.



When i get to dealing with my fwd stations im definitely will be adding access panels so no dismantling  will be necessary in the future

The attached photo is of the under side of my side deck showing  the thru bolts


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