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angus99 10-05-2010 10:33 AM

Leak on a 28-2

Great to find this forum.

I've owned a 1986 Cal 28-2 deep keel since the early 1990s. I haven't had a lot of time to spend with her in recent years, but am planning a major maintenance binge this winter.

I have a couple quick questions. There is a leak somewhere in the cabin that has defied repair. It's not coming in through the dorades (although the floors of the dorades have gaps in them, there's no sign of water damage on the inside of the headliner). I replaced the rubrail and sealed underneath it years ago. Also, I have a sunbrella cover over the main hatch that prevents that area from leaking. It's possible some fitting needs re-bedding--and I plan to do all of them, including the hatches, this winter--but again, no visible signs of water entry above the level of the gunnel. I've also re-bedded the genoa track twice over the years. I'm wondering if the smoked polycarbonate port covers on both sides of the cabin could be leaking.

Does anyone know of other common leak-prone areas to check? Has anyone replaced/re-bedded the polycarbonate port covers?

Thanks for any feedback.


tommays 10-05-2010 11:34 AM

I would place someone outside with a hose and someone else inside as it could be anything :)

We have had a single T-Track screw drip a LOT of water and the only way to be sure is to see the drip

angus99 10-05-2010 02:25 PM

Thanks. I've actually tried that, but may need to give it another shot.

Nothing came in using the hose, so I wondered if it's only driving or blowing rain that's getting through somewhere.

svHyLyte 10-07-2010 07:21 AM

Where are you finding water/wetness?

Tanley 10-09-2010 09:37 AM


Is it safe to assume you've narrowed the leak to being above the waterline?

We bought an '87 last fall. In the process, we looked at 6 different Cal 28-2's and there are a couple of spots that consistently showed water penetration (looked at model years 86, 87 and 89).

The first is the quarter berth area, all the boats we saw were effected here to some degree. Usually the owners had a piece of plastic or a bucket in the area directly behind the engine. Water stains were obvious on the wooden cover over the seacock/shaft seal. It turns out that in ours, it's from one of the pedestal guard feet. In heavy rains, we'd get a small pool of water below the cockpit. I removed the wooden headliner above the engine seacock cover to expose the helm cables and pedestal cavity. With a hose in the cockpit, we sprayed different areas. Water slowly began to drip in when it was aimed at one of the pedestal feet. I covered that foot with silicon (for troubleshooting only - not a permanent fix), and the leak went away. It's on the list to fix correctly this off season (remove/core/epoxy/rebed).

The other area is the aft stern quarters above the teak shelving (port side). Ours no longer leaks here, but the fabric hull liner shows that it did in the past. This was seen on each of the other boats we looked at to varying degrees. I don't know if this is due to the teak toe rail bedding or not as I couldn't get water to penetrate this year with a hose.

About half the Cal 28-2's we looked at had 'checking' on the aft stbd toe rail - ours included. However, this area does not leak on our boat. Others showed evidence of the chain plates leaking and 2 had issues with their opening ports. I didn't see any evidence that the fixed port lights leaked on the boats we inspected.

It's all just anecdotal, but maybe these are some areas you can check out.

angus99 10-18-2010 08:27 PM

Joe, many thanks for such a comprehensive answer.

Yes, there's no sign of leaks at any through-hulls, around the prop or rudder shafts or the keel bolts. It actually stays very dry when it's not raining here--which has been most of the year.

I just need to spend some quality time exploring. My biggest problem is finding time to examine and work on it, but you've given me some great ideas for when I do.

Could you elaborate on the "core" part of the process you mentioned? Are you referring to replacing rotten balsa or ply core?

Fair winds!


Tanley 10-22-2010 07:28 AM


I suppose there's a chance of rotten core beneath the pedestal guard as a result of that fitting leaking over the years, but it wasn't detected during the survey. I'm hoping it's just a matter of rebedding the hardware.

These links will take you to Maine Sail's website. From what I've seen, he's done the best job in documenting the process. He shows using a dremel tool to displace the core material in order to seal the deck, but a bent nail is often used as well (putting the nail into the chuck of your drill).

Sealing Deck Penetrations to Prevent Core Rot Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at

Re-Bedding Hardware Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at

angus99 10-22-2010 07:35 PM

Thanks again for the tips. Very helpful.


Tanley 11-02-2010 07:17 PM

Let us know what you find out as it could be a re-occurring problem to all of us with Cal 28-2's. I'll put together some pictures of the binnacle guard foot repair this off season. Best of luck.

ryedowitz 04-15-2014 09:47 PM

Re: Leak on a 28-2
Hi Angus,

I was searching for info I could use on my Cal 28 and came across your post from 2010 citing "a leak somewhere in the cabin that has defied repair". I read all the posts which came after. Did you finally figure this out?

I have battled various leaks with my 1986 Cal 28 and have stopped all the leaks that I know of (one of my biggest fears is that there are others which are silently rotting the deck core without my knowledge). Always good to learn from others who own this boat.


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