Fender hooks have been around for a decade or two in the superyacht industry. They have been designed so the crew can easily secure and adjust their inflatable fenders to the bulwark or cap rail whilst protecting the brightwork underneath. With a variety of finishes on offer, the traditional leather clad stainless-steel Fender Hook is commonplace amongst all sizes of superyacht. Recently, we have seen a move towards lighter materials like carbon fibre being used for Fender Hooks but are they really worth the weight savings they offer? This article will guide you through our thoughts on both leather/ stainless steel fender hooks and the more modern carbon fibre versions.
TRADITIONAL LEATHER & STAINLESS-STEEL FENDER HOOKS
The most common style of Fender Hook is one that is fabricated from both leather, shearling (usually natural) and 316L stainless steel. The backbone of the fender hook, often known as the baseplate, provides the shape that fits over your cap rail or bulwark. The baseplate is then covered in leather (usually) in a colour of your choice whilst the underside of the fender hook is covered in shearling, offering protection between the brightwork and the fender hook itself.
Due to the nature of the materials involved in manufacturing this style of Fender Hook, they tend to be heavy, especially on the larger 100m+ yachts. But do not be fooled by their weight! With nothing physically securing them to the cap rail or bulwark (usually) and a lightweight inflatable fender on one end, they need to be heavy enough to prevent them from flipping off onto the deck or worse, into the water when the windspeed increases or the Inflatable Fenders are under pressure from another yacht or the dock.
CARBON FIBRE FENDER HOOKS
Carbon Fibre Fender Hooks are manufactured slightly differently as they are moulded to the shape of the bulwark and offer no leeway if the original template is the incorrect size. Using carbon fibre as the baseplate makes these style of fender hooks incredibly light, more than 50% lighter than their stainless-steel counterparts! With the exposed carbon fibre weave, they do offer an extremely eye-catching look along with their lightweight appeal to crew. On top of the weight saving offerings, the carbon fibre fender hook also uses shearling or neoprene underneath to protect the brightwork. However, the eye-catching look and weight saving construction hides many disadvantages.
CARBON VS LEATHER: ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES
Carbon Fibre Fender Hooks
Up to 40-50% weight savings
Can easily be knocked onto the deck or in the water.
Eye catching look
Time consuming to manufacture due to moulding process
Easy to carry due to low weight
Different moulds needed for each different shape of the bulwark/ cap rail
Can be painted or clear coated
Can easily be scratched
Expensive to manufacture
Not environmentally friendly
Easier to manufacture and re-produce
Leather or faux leather finishes only
Can be heavy depending on sizes
Will stay in place even in bad weather
Can't be painted or clear coated
May need re-covering after several seasons use
More environmentally friendly than carbon fibre
Can easily be altered during production to ensure correct fitment
Easy to maintain
Carbon effect leather as a viable alternative for aesthetics
As seen from the table above, it is clear that the leather and stainless-steel Fender Hooks have more advantages and less disadvantages to that of their carbon fibre counterparts. It is worth noting that although the weight saving of the carbon fibre fender hook may look attractive initially, when one does drop on the teak deck and damages the wood or worse pop off and fall in the water, you are likely to regret going for the carbon version.
With the state of the environment and how we can reduce our impact on the environment at the forefront of our minds, it's worth mentioning that the most environmental Fender Hook would be the leather and stainless-steel option with the vast majority of the components and materials coming from natural sources. Whereas the carbon fibre alternative is not so
environmentally friendly as carbon fibre is not widely recycled and the moulding process during manufacturing also creates a lot of waste and is energy intensive.
If you are considering a new set of Fender Hooks for your new build project or operational yacht, we offer fantastic leather Fender Hooks which are cost effective and offer a superb finish with full mirror polished 316L stainless steel components. Simply get in touch with us and one of the team will revert back to you with a quote and a lead time.
Any guidance, advice, recommendations, suggestions in this article are from Polaris Yacht Supply Ltd. Polaris Yacht Supply Ltd cannot be held liable for any damages caused by, using or interpreting any information written in this article.