Monday, October 3, 2011

The return of fall

Here in Seattle we are now welcoming the return of fall weather.  For those of you not in Seattle, that means: rain.  And with the return of the rains, there is the return of the possibility of deck leaks.  (OK, I know that this is a lame post.  But come on... not everything about living on a boat is sitting in the cockpit and watching sunsets with a glass of wine).

Yes, here on Eolian, with the first rain we had drips coming in around the mast.  I never cease to be amazed at how much water can find its way inside thru a tiny, tiny hole.  In this case, the leak was a tiny place on the back of the mast boot, at the bottom of the seam on the back.  I had closed the seam with 3M 5200, but the last 1/8" of that closure had opened up, slightly.  One eighth of an inch.  And yet I had to put a container on the floor to catch the water that came in there.

In the ever timeless scenario, it was not possible to work on stopping the leak while it was raining...  so I had to wait until it stopped.  Thankfully it was easy to find the problem.  A small dab of 5200 fixed the problem - today's rain proved it.

Dry again.
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3 comments:

Paul said...

Hey Bob,
We have sort of the same problem - a drip coming down the compression post in our Hunter. It is a little hard to see where exactly it is coming from, I thought to just seal it like you did, but would the water pool somewhere else (in the deck?) when it is plugged? There is old epoxy around the top of the post inside...

-Paul

bob said...

Paul -

It sounds like someone tried to seal the leak from the inside in the past. This is not sound practice - the water is still coming in, and will very likely end up inside your deck coring. If the coring is end-grain balsa, it will rot. You need to stop the leak on the outside.

You have a deck-stepped mast, apparently. This would leave two possibilities for ingress of water: between the mast step and the deck, and from inside the mast step via the fasteners that hold it in place on the deck. I'd suggest applying a bead of polysulphide to the joint between the mast step and the deck to see if that stops the leak. Based on my experience, don't leave any gaps in the bead! If this does it, then plan on removing the mast step and re-bedding it when the weather and your schedule allow.

There is also the slim possibility that the leak is elsewhere, and the water is just finding its way out at the compression post. I sincerely hope that that is not your problem, because these kinds of leaks are very, very difficult to locate.

bob

Jack Tar said...

Presently most of our minor leaks are from the hull to deck joint just below the cap rail. Our masts thank goodness have a pored in rubber seal. A mote like devise encircles the mast and a chemical mixture is pored in forming a permanent mast seal. The hull to deck leaks are stopped by replacing some of the old sealant that has either seperated or cracked. Over the past five years I have tried several sealants and found most wanting. I am in the process of removing all of the life caulk. It has over a six month period failed in numerous ways. Like Bob Im down to 3M products in the 4200 or 5200 range. Fast or regular cure depending on the need. The largest problem now is finding the new outlet for the water once the old one is repaired. Finding the true source of a leak is like finding the source of the Nile.

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