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post #1 of 31 Old 11-10-2010 Thread Starter
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Angry woke up wet this morning

Let me give you some up front info: in the past, I've gotten a few drips of water from the hatch over the V-berth, so I'd taped some rags over the corners of the hatch. It has been raining for the last 3 days, and last night it was raining particularly hard. I'm not sure if these drips are from a leak, however, since when I went sailing on Sunday in rough weather, I took plenty of water of the bow and none got through the hatch. I also recently covered the hatch from the inside with that plastic used for insulating windows in old drafty houses. That made the V-berth a lot warmer. I have an Espar, forced-air system but the vent in the V-berth seems under-powered.

I went to sleep last night in a cozy, dry V-berth. I woke up about 5am because I had rolled over and gotten slapped in the face with a soaking wet blanket. The rags on the hatch were soaked through and dripping onto the bed. I dried things up as best I could, put new rags in place, and went back to sleep.

About 630am, I woke up again because I had rolled over the other way (towards the hull) and felt wet. Some cursory inspection discovered that the wood paneling on the sides of the V-berth were wet (mostly at the bottom, where they may have had my blankets up against them). It felt like the wood itself was wet, however, not just condensation on its surface. It was also very wet down in between where the mattress butted against the paneling, and somewhat moist across the entire platform the mattress sits on. At this point I gave up on sleeping in the V-berth and moved to a settee in the salon (after lifting all the V-berth cushions to dry).

When I awoke at my regularly scheduled time of 9am, the rain had stopped, and there was barely a trace of water in the V-berth. The cushion was still slightly damp, but the now-exposed wood paneling was dry, as was the platform. I noted a couple very small spots of mildew on the bottom of the mattress under where my butt rests when I'm sleeping (center of mass?), and this was also the area most damp, which I think indicates this has happened before to a lesser degree I didn't notice.

So, sorry for the long story, but what am I dealing with here? I am still relatively convinced it's not a leak, but it's not behaving like any condensation I'm familiar with. It certainly seemed like water was soaking through the wood paneling on the sides and then across the platform, but if that's what was really happening, how could it dry so quickly? Also, I discovered all the opening ports (including hatches) were sweating from their metal frames, yet strangely the fixed ports were not. I didn't notice that until after I took a shower though, so it might just be condensation from showering. If this is condensation, how do I fight it? If it isn't, where should I be looking for leak(s)?

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post #2 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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It might be condensation from your breath.

On my first sailing trip, we kept the v berth hatch closed. We woke up to an inside rainstorm.

You might have to crack the hatch a bit. Or run a fan to circulate the air.

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post #3 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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From what you are saying, I would think it is a leak. You may have to take off the hatch and re set it. I have been down that path with 2 out of 3 hatches.

The leak is quickly evaporated away normally and you have no idea about it. Condensation can be an enormous amount of water but this sounds like it was more than that


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post #4 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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I would not rule out condensation from your breath. You would be surprised how much water one loses by breathing. Anyone who has slept in a poorly vented tent has found out the inside of the tent walls wet whereas it was bone dry out side.

Try sleeping in the V-berth with the hatch closed during a night without rain. If you find moisture, then bingo!

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post #5 of 31 Old 11-10-2010 Thread Starter
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I've been sleeping in the V-berth every night for several weeks now. Like I said, I had encountered some small drips from the hatch before, but nothing serious. I don't know that it rained those times, I think it didn't, it was just very humid out. At the time I assumed it had rained overnight and I didn't notice. Also, I always leave the door between the V-berth cabin and the salon open so I get more air circulation.

Maybe I should get a dehumidifier? Or a second vent for my Espar in the V-berth?

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post #6 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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Does the hatch have a clear lens in it? If so, the sealant around the edge of the lens may leak, and it may only do so when there is standing water on the top of the lens.

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post #7 of 31 Old 11-10-2010 Thread Starter
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The hatch does have a clear lens, and it may be the sealant around the lens that is leaking... but this still doesn't explain the wet walls/mattress. The ceiling was dry, there was no way it was all coming from the hatch. Either it's leaking between the paneling and the hull, or it was just a ton of condensation.

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post #8 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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When it was raining heavily there was a high moisture content in the air below. I'd guess you had most everything closed up tight as well. The moisture from your body and breath was moisture the air couldn't hold - so it condensed on cold objects like hatch frames. It sounds self defeating but you don't need another Espar vent. You need to exchange more inside air with outside air. Nicro solar vents are one choice. Do you have dorades? If so you can purchase 12 volt computer fans for only a few dollars and force air out of them. Is the chain locker vented to the cabin? If so that's another candidate for a fan and some plastic tubing to direct it. Of course if you're blowing air out there has to be several ways for new air to get in.
Also the underside of the bunk cushions need ventilation. Multiple holes in the bunk top are a good idea and some install fans under to circulate air. There are also several systems (Froli is one I think) of under cushion ventilation. Even though it did dry constant wetting of bulkheads will cause rot.

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post #9 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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Another option under the berth cushions is a waffle-type material that creates an air space.

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post #10 of 31 Old 11-10-2010
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I agree with most responders that the problem is likely condensation. We sleep in the V-berth and 99% of the time keep the V-berth hatch opened. In cold weather, we only crack it a bit but still allow for airflow. A couple of years back, I removed all the ports and reseated them and replaced all gaskets, too. Running a heater overnight is not a good idea, but you may consider a small, quiet fan to keep the air moving. Moving to the settee did not seem to cause (as much) condensation since the volume of air in the main cabin was holding more moisture.
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