Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic) - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-19-2015 Thread Starter
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Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

So, Tiger Lily has been in the water for about a week, and I was ready to deliver her down the bay to our house ... and the marina staff alerted me to this ... a pinhole leak in the upper forward bilge (just above the forward end of the centerboard well). Weird, right?

This is on the opposite end of the centerboard hinge. I can't imagine what stresses are in this spot. Seems like a quiet area. Before launching, I had the travellift hold the boat high with the centerboard down so I could inspect and paint the well and board. Everything looked pretty good at the time. No leaks when I immediately went in. This just started a day ago at the latest.

We hauled out and we are going to do a temp glass over this spot... but at the end of the season we'll have to do a more thorough forensic investigation.

Am I being naive about this? Thoughts?


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post #2 of 10 Old 05-19-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

Could be a blister, bad layup or remains of a lightning strike...

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-19-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

Leak appears to be right next to or just under some glassed in support section......
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-19-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

It just occurred to me that we re-bedded a new stud-post to hold a zinc opposite that area. Could it have breached through when screwing that in?

[Edit] - No, now that I give it more thought, this is not near that area.

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Last edited by dvuyxx; 05-19-2015 at 04:32 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-19-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

Yikes! A rather unsettling thing to find. When you haul her for the temporary fix take a really good look around that spot (poking, probing, tapping) to see if there is a void or some-such. You have have just found "the tip of the iceberg".


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post #6 of 10 Old 05-19-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

Can anyone see a reason not to just use a stainless self tapper with a soft washer and some sealant?

No need to haul it then .

That is after some serious tapping to check for voids.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-21-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

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Can anyone see a reason not to just use a stainless self tapper with a soft washer and some sealant?

No need to haul it then .

That is after some serious tapping to check for voids.
I assume you would put the screw on the inside of the hull. Only problem with that is there is still a hole on the outside and, given that the hole is well below the waterline, the water entering the fiberglass is under pressure. Water under pressure will go somewhere else in the hull. I'm no expert on fiberglass hulls, but isn't water in the hull structure something to be avoided.

If it were my boat, I might use the technique you propose to slow the leak until the boat can be hauled and the source of the leak identified and fixed properly, but to stop the leak from the inside and proceed with the sailing season will probably lead to bigger problems down the road -- IMHO.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-21-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

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I assume you would put the screw on the inside of the hull. Only problem with that is there is still a hole on the outside and, given that the hole is well below the waterline, the water entering the fiberglass is under pressure. Water under pressure will go somewhere else in the hull. I'm no expert on fiberglass hulls, but isn't water in the hull structure something to be avoided.

If it were my boat, I might use the technique you propose to slow the leak until the boat can be hauled and the source of the leak identified and fixed properly, but to stop the leak from the inside and proceed with the sailing season will probably lead to bigger problems down the road -- IMHO.
I am not sure that I would drill from the inside to make a hole I can plug from the outside but I have to admit it is not something I had thought of doing as I suspect it would lead into the CB well with associated access problems.

Nope for a repair that only needs to last a few months I would go with the self tapper rubber washer and a dod of MarineTex applied from the inside.

I don't see that any delamination or void will get that much worse in a few months.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-21-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

Last Spring I had the same thing 2 inches from where the Atomic 4 got its raw water.
I used wet epoxy. PC Epoxy
This Spring I added gelcoat outside and around the thru-hull, because I had it.
The cause could have been someone walking on the valve, when removing the engine.
Not very catholic, but the show had to go on.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-21-2015
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Re: Pinhole Leak in Bilge Wall (see pic)

tap a toothpick in it will swell and stop leaking then a couple coats of mat with west system no need to pull it out.
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