A Mystery: or Can 25 Gallons Pour Down my Mast? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-23-2008
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A Mystery: or Can 25 Gallons Pour Down my Mast?

My boat has above waterline leaks. A lot. I mean my bilge has become an aquarium after each of our lovely winter rains of late. I know my ports leak a little and my hatches aren't exactly water proof either, but the problem is, the boat is on the hard and under tarps!!!

Granted, the tarp-ology I engineered isn't perfect. The mast is still stepped and the shrouds and stays make it less than watertight. Rain definitely gets onto the boat near the bow (very little), between the mast and the single chain plates on each side (a good bit) and into the cockpit (to a lesser degree).

It seems to me that there is a large leak somewhere I'm not considering, but I can't for the life of me find it.

So what in tarnation am I getting at, you ask? I'm curious how much rain water one would expect to get inside via my (keel stepped) mast? Either inside it or through a leaking boot. The boot does look like it may need replacing.

I just pulled 25 gallons of slush and water out of there today. That's accumulation of about three storms worth of rain water.

Please help my damp and soggy boat!
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Old 03-23-2008
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Tarp coverings - at least how you describe yours, is not going to be effective and so really - the amount of water trailing in - can be coming from most of what you stated even with the tarp(s) on perhaps.... You can isolate by using the talc method....but first you really need to address where the other leaks are coming from - and then analyze if the mast is actually dropping 25 gallons of water in...

It would almost difficult considering your own knowledge of issues and where water ingress is known to isolate it to a mast - in my opinion....
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Old 03-23-2008
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You really need to re-bed and seal the ports and hatches. If they're leaking, there's a good chance that the water is not only getting into the boat, but into the deck core (if the deck is cored construction). This isn't good, especially if the water is able to freeze in those locations, since water expands about 10% as it freezes—which would seem to be the case since you're talking about removing slush from the bilges.

Condensation may be a bit of the problem, but the majority of it is probably from the leaks. Does the tarp sag when it rains, and allow the rain to pool in any location.. that might be allowing the water to sit long enough to drain into the boat.

Is the rain getting into the cockpit at all? If so, have you checked the cockpit drain hoses. If the cockpit drains aren't directly overboard, they'll need hoses to connect the drains to the through-hulls. If these hoses are disconnected or leaking, that could explain a lot of water getting into the bilge.

You don't say how the mast deck partner is sealed or whether it has a boot. Also, does the mast have internal or external halyards. Internal halyards usually mean that the mast has more openings in it for rain to get into.
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Old 03-23-2008
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The only thing I can offer is from a similar experience. I started resealing and rebedding any possible source, starting with the most likely candidate. The water level decreased with each successive repair, until at last the boat was dry. The morals of this story are: It may be from more than one source, you probably have a good idea what those sources are already, and a lot of water can come in a surprisingly small hole.
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Old 03-23-2008
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Last year a friend bought a boat that had to be de-masted and shipped. While putting it back together, we discovered that the mast boot was missing. We continued anyway and waited for a new boot to arrive. It was amazing how much rain trailed down the mast sides and into the bilge. It was like a giant wick. Any rain that hits the mast stays on the mast and travels to the lowest point. The cumulative effect over 30 or 40 feet is huge. Once the boot was installed, the boat was dry.
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Old 03-24-2008
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I still find it truly amazing how much water can get into a tarp-covered boat from the toe-rail through-bolts if the toe-rail wasn't sealed properly by the PO..

Rainwater can pool in large quantities along the edges of the toe-rail before eventually going overboard, so if you have an aluminium toe-rail and are getting water in from apparently nowhere, check the bolts..
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Old 03-24-2008
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We have the same issue with our mast. After the last storm (and just the last one) I bailed about 8 gallons from our bilge. Earlier storms dumped more down the mast - probably about 15 to 20 - that we bailed out in February. We bailed earlier in the season, around Christmas, too. Rainwater travels down the mast from wherever it hits, and goes pretty much straight to the bilge. Even taping plastic collars carefully at the partners leaves the slot on the aft side open, and down it comes. At least now its' less likely to freeze.
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Old 03-24-2008
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A squirt of silicone in that luff grove will cure that..

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
We have the same issue with our mast. After the last storm (and just the last one) I bailed about 8 gallons from our bilge. Earlier storms dumped more down the mast - probably about 15 to 20 - that we bailed out in February. We bailed earlier in the season, around Christmas, too. Rainwater travels down the mast from wherever it hits, and goes pretty much straight to the bilge. Even taping plastic collars carefully at the partners leaves the slot on the aft side open, and down it comes. At least now its' less likely to freeze.
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Old 03-25-2008
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Lets not forget ropes ability to wick, and how many halyard sheeves you have in your mast.
I got 7 or so and the mast drains into the shower sump which holds 10 or so gallons and in the last 2 days I have pumped the sump out 2-3 times a day.

However the bilge has maintained a fairly constant level.
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Old 03-25-2008
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I like what you guys are saying. I really hope it's from my mast. I think Hartley18's toerail intrusion idea is way off base! But that is my biggest fear. So big I was afraid to even type it on my OP. I can't even say "leaking toerail" out loud. I have to whisper it. Like, "asthma", or "typhoid". No offense, but I hope you're wrong Hartley!

edit - I think I'll spend the next rainy day down below and see what I can see.
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