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Klaatu 03-11-2009 04:49 PM

Small Leak in Cabin Roof
I have a Catalina 22 Capri with a minor problem - slow leak in the cabin roof , around the bolts holding the winches, tracks, etc. I have removed the cap nut from inside the cabin and injected a small amount of 100% silicone caulk but a few leeks remain. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

lbdavis 03-11-2009 05:14 PM

Klaatu, hopefully that just a minor problem. Deck leaks are common, but should be attended to quickly and effectively. Luckily, it's not hard, and it's not rocket science.

Here is an article from a contributor here at SailNet (Mainesail) with everything you'll need to know. CLICK HERE

Good luck!

Bene505 03-11-2009 06:44 PM

We ought to have a Mainesail appreciation day. You know, give him the key to the city, free drinks, things like that.


kwaltersmi 03-11-2009 07:26 PM

Kaatu - Leaks around deck hardware are a common problem. However, you should not try to fix the leak by plugging/filling/caulking the leak from the inside of the cabin. If you do, it is likely water will continue to leak in from the deck, but instead of making it's way into the cabin it will go into the wood core of the deck and cause rot. The proper fix is to remove the hardware and re-bed it on the deck using epoxy, 3M 5200 or some other equivalent sealing adhesive. Leave the hardware in the cabin unsealed so that if you develop a leak in the future you'll know about it and can fix it before it causes core rot.

Don Casey's book entitled "This Old Boat" provides detailed instructions and advice.

BlueWaterMD 03-11-2009 08:27 PM

Silicone caulk has no place on a boat. Over time it is permeable to water, and leaves a film on the fiberglass that is almost impossible to remove. You need to remove all the hardware, remove all silicone caulk (and residue), and re-bed properly. Don Casey's Complete Guide to Sailboat Maintenence is an excellent reference, and one that any sailor should own. I have never read This Old Boat, but I would assume it is similar.

While this is a small leak now, do not take it lightly. This can quickly turn into a MUCH bigger problem (rotten core) it not fixed quickly and properly.

Klaatu 03-12-2009 07:28 PM

Leak in Cabin Roof
Thank you for your advice, I plan to remove the hardware and repair from above - as suggested. I have a month to wait for Spring launch.


sailingdog 03-13-2009 07:49 AM

Silicone caulk has no place on a boat other than bedding certain types of ports and covering the ends of cotter pins. 5200 has almost as few uses on a boat IMHO. It has far too tenacious a grip and is a pain to unbond if you ever have to remove the hardware in question.

Sealing leaks from beneath is a really, really bad idea, since that can trap water inside the hole and lead to serious problems like the core penetration and delamination. Generally, deck fittings on a sailboat should only be sealed from the outside, so that any leaks are fairly apparent and visible on the inside.

3M 4200 is good, SikaFlex 291 is good, butyl tape is good, but it depends on what you're sealing.

GaryHLucas 07-21-2009 10:32 PM


Originally Posted by captxtina (Post 507411)

I just noticed a water droplet on the handrail above our heads that hangs from the cabin ceiling, which means water is getting in from the deck where there's hardware. The obvious culprit is the sister handrail that sits on the deck outside, mirroring the one on the inside of the cabin. However, it could be some other hardware, and the water is simply running down to the next exit point inside the cabin.

My question is this:
My first thought was: Well, I'll have to re-bed those handrails. But what about the cabin liner? It would be great to remove that so I can get as close to the fiberglass and really investigate where the leak is coming from. However, in order to do that, I have to removed the portlights. :) (And I already replaced the portlights this winter, so I'm not doing it again -- I wish I had known about the slow leak beforehand). :) But! I tend to be too meticulous in my maintenance so maybe it's not necessary to involve the liner. Is is okay if I simply remove both handrails, epoxy and caulk (with LifeCaulk or Sikaflex), and be done with it?


How about finding the leak(s) for sure? One way would to be to seal up all the obvious big openings with masking tape. Then get a leaf blower and blow air into the boat through a scrap piece of plywood replacing the companionway boards or a hatch. The slight amount of pressure you get will work it's way out through every leak on the boat. Spray around all the deck and fittings with a bottle of soapy water. Leaks will blow bubbles.

Gary H. Lucas

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