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Old 01-12-2009
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Question Water seeping through hull

We have a 1995 Catalina 320. After searching where water collecting in bilge was coming from, I've discovered seepage coming through the hull under the galley sink. After vacuuming water out the bilge and the area around the suspected source of the leak, I found water seeping from a small crack in the edge of surface layer fiberglass resin on the inside of the hull under the sink. The nearest thru-hull is the sink drain, about 8-10" outboard of where the crack is located and it's dry as a bone.

Does anyone know of a type of epoxy repair that can be applied to wet areas that I can cover over the crack and stop the leak, or is this a type of repair that will require the boat to be hauled to the yard for a more invasive glass & resin repair?
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Old 01-12-2009
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Are you seeing the seepage through the fiberglass hull liner or the hull itself.
This does not sound right to me. If it is indeed the hull that is seeping water you have a crack and delamination and a professional epoxy repair is needed, not a quick fix. I am thinking grounding damage to the hull transmitted by he keel since a glass layup does not simply spring a leak. Get the boat hauled and professionally evaluated if it is indeed a hull crack/leak and not seepage through the liner.
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Old 01-12-2009
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I'd second what Cam said. Cracks like that don't magically appear in fiberglass. If you were in the middle of nowhere, going with a quick MarineTex repair might make sense, but if you're at a location where you can get a reputable yard to haul the boat and get it surveyed, DO SO ASAP.
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Old 01-12-2009
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I not sure i would get all excited just yet about a hull leak. Keep a eye on the level of your fresh water tank level. While I don't know the Catalina 320, lots of boats that are built with fiberglass liners ofter have plumbing run between the hull and the liner. A plumbing leak can cause a boats owner to think it is "coming from the outside." Close to the sink, there must be plumbing.
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Last edited by bubb2; 01-12-2009 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-13-2009
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bubb2 makes a good point about the possibility of a fresh water source. If your not willing to rely on a taste test; then collect a volume of the seepage water in a dish. Place the same volume of salt water from your location in a similar dish. Microwave both until the liquid evaporates. If the seepage is fresh water you should find far less deposit remaining in the seepage dish than the salt water dish. I'm assuming you're in salt water. No solution here, but maybe more info,- 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 01-13-2009
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I'm thinking the real question for us non-C320 folks out there is "is it the hull that is leaking, or is what you are seeing water on the hull LINER".

If it's the liner, you have to continue looking to find the source.

If it's the hull (and forgive me for making sure, but I'm not familiar with your particular boat) then the question isn't so much where is the nearest through hull, it's where is the seepage in relation to where the lift straps go, and where the bulkhead stress points are.
Other than grounding that is the likely cause - improperly placed lifting straps can flex the hull and cause minor cracks, I know from experience.
If that's what it is then a full repair is needed, before it de-laminates.
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Old 01-13-2009
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Our boat is kept in fresh water and I've eliminated the potable water tanks as a source of the leak. I emptied the fwd and aft tanks, and holding tank, and water is still seeping through the surface crack, so that should eliminate plumbing as the source.

In September, the boat was hauled, surveyed, blisters were repaired, and new bottom paint applied. The survey did not note any evidence of leaks anywhere. After launching in early October, the bilge stayed dry for about a month until I noticed about 2” of water had collected. At first, thought it was from rainwater leaking through the side opening ports (needed re-sealing and gaskets replaced). Then noticed water in bilge again soon after the ports were fixed. We haven’t grounded the boat since it’s October launching, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

How does one tell if the leak is from water on the liner? I’m told the Catalina 320 has a liner, but where the leak is, it looks as though it’s against the actual hull and not on the liner. I’ll post a photo as soon as possible.

If the hull were damaged from improper placement of the lifting straps, what recourse would I have with the yard? And then, how does one prove that caused the hull to crack?

We’re in the midst of a drought, so the current lake level makes it impossible to haulout the boat. Sort of caught between a rock and you know where until we get a significant amount of rain to raise the lake level.
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food coloring, if you think you know about where you think the crack my be on the outside.

On a calm day, take a tube of food coloring and squeeze a few drops where you may think the crack is on the outside of the hull. If you see tinted water on the inside, your question is answered. Then things are going to get dicey, call your insurer and let them deal with. All you know is it didn't leak before the haul out and it did after the relaunch. Let them deal with the surveyors and marina.
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Old 01-14-2009
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Have you checked the stuffing box off as a possible source?
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Old 01-14-2009
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I assume you are looking at the leaking area through the access door in the sink/counter thing. If you haven't done it already you should remove the drawer assembly which on my '99 was a simple - pull out the drawers, remove the 4 screws in the frame and pull the whole assembly out. That will give you a much better view of the whole sink, water heater, and plumbing down there. As others have said I seriously doubt your hull has simply sprung a leak.
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