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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-16-2009
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Water in my cabin

Monterey, along with the entire coast of California got slammed with a typhoon this week. So, I went down to check on my Excalibur 26 and noticed a moldy smell when I opened up the cabin. No water aft, but further down the pillows were very moist and the carpet was moist as well. The keel space had more water in it than normal, too. What is the most probable source of the leak? Is there a way to test it? Finally, how do I fix the problem.
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Old 10-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrock010 View Post
What is the most probable source of the leak? Is there a way to test it? Finally, how do I fix the problem.
I've been chasing a couple minor leaks in my boat all summer, found some, still looking for another.

Have you had leaks before during a rain? or just now with the typhoon and it's high winds? It may be as simple as water blowing in around the companionway boards/slider if the boat was moored stern to the wind. Or possible the wind helped "push" water around hatches/portholes that hadn't leaked before during a gentle rain.

I found one leak by having the wife stand in the galley as I squirted a hose stream on the portholes....her shouts let me know we'd found one of our leaks.

Others I found by just looking around the boat for signs of moisture, remember water runs downhill so keep looking up.

Good luck, let us know if you find a trick for finding leaks.
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Old 10-16-2009
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Hard to tell after such a brief description.

You should, first of all, check if the water is fresh or salty. (I presume it to be fresh because you mentioned your pillows were wet)

If it is fresh, obviously, it came from "above" and the best way to check how it is sneaking in is to either spend some time in the cabin while rainig hard or ask someone to pour some water over the cabin with a hose (or a bucket) while you are inside and searching for leaks (this has the advantage of having your boat washed by someone else while you're sitting comfortably inside ). Check arround hatches, rig fittings, portholes, siderail bases, etc...

Once I had a problem just like yours that was tricky to find. In fact I only found it when by coincidence I had to bring my mast down. The problem was a cracked stainless steel mast base that was allowing water in by the bolt holes...

Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2009
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Thanks guys. If the problem is via windows or the hatch, would you recommend a certain type of caulk or gasket?
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Old 10-16-2009
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Go here for lots of very good info/tips/etc.
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Old 10-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrock010 View Post
Thanks guys. If the problem is via windows or the hatch, would you recommend a certain type of caulk or gasket?
I had a leak that only showed up when there were strong sustained winds (30+). After some experimenting I fixed the leak by rubbing vaseline into the rubber seals on the portholes. It swelled the seals and I haven't seen a drop come in since.

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Old 10-16-2009
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One trick I have heard about is to use some NON PERMANENT dry erase marker and put a couple of lines on the bulkhead under the ports. If you get rain when you are away. and the ports are the culprit, and you are lucky, you might see the water tracks across the dry erase markings.

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Old 10-18-2009
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Originally Posted by rikhall View Post
One trick I have heard about is to use some NON PERMANENT dry erase marker and put a couple of lines on the bulkhead under the ports. If you get rain when you are away. and the ports are the culprit, and you are lucky, you might see the water tracks across the dry erase markings.

Rik
I do the same but use chalk, I got the idea from Don Casey I think, but instead of a stick of chalk (which can be hard to remove cause it gets into the crevices and can be the devil to get clean) I use a chalk line, it will pinpoint the route of a leak every time. Oh and a water hose works really well for finding rain leaks, just be sure to get things wet at all kinds of angles, to simulate wind and whatnot.

Nate

Last edited by SailorNate; 10-18-2009 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 10-18-2009
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Pressurize the cabin

1. Replace one of the companionway boards with a piece of plywood cut to the same shape.
2. Drill a hole into the plywood and mount a ShopVac hose adapter. Install hatch board and plug the vacuum's hose from the machine's exhaust port into the companionway hole.
3. Turn on vacuum cleaner.
4. Walk around deck with a spray bottle filled with diluted dish detergent.
5. Look for bubbles.
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