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post #1 of 4 Old 08-12-2006 Thread Starter
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Wooden Hull Seepage(Carvel question)

Fact of life. Wooden hulls seep or leak. Or so the story goes.

In many ways that make sense since the timbers shrink when dry and expand /seal again when moist, so seepage is part of the process.
BUT !

At what point is seepage considered a Leak?

Ive been asking around and discovered that some Scottish Fishermen consider 9 gallons an hour on a 90ft wooden trawler to still be considered JUST seepage 1/10 of a gallon per foot sounds Excessive to me But I'm curious to hear what others consider the break off point between seepage and an actual Leak.

What rules of thumb are in play out there for those with wooden hulls?

Some folks reckon a drop of salt water about the bilge is good for a wooden hull, others freak out at the idea of ANY water getting in.

Do you consider it time to recaulk if the bilge pumps run a few seconds every hour?
Do you judge your boat by a number of gallons pumped out in a day?

Whats YOUR personal benchmark?
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-12-2006
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Depends on the boat... Some wooden hulls leak, others do not. Depends on the construction. If the boat is a cold-molded, wood-epoxy strip built boat, I would expect it not to leak at all. If it does, then some one screwed up in the building and construction of it.

If the boat is a traditional wooden build, then it might leak a little, depending on the quality of the construction and materials used.

What is the draft and beam on your 90' wooden trawler. The 9 gallons an hour could be quite normal, if that is what they have been used to on this particular boat.

On some of the fishing trawlers in the harbor near my marina, the bilge pumps do run every hour or two. Granted, most of these are not wooden in construction. Part of the water gathering in the bilge may not be seepage. On most large fishing boats, they do use a fair amount of ice to keep the catch fresh. Even with insulation, the ice melts and the melt water has to go somewhere.

Don't be too quick to judge the quality of construction if you don't know/have all the facts about the boat.

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post #3 of 4 Old 08-12-2006
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The larger the boat the more prone to leaking for several reasons. It will work the joints more and the boat will not get hauled out as often for maintenance. I had a wooden boat once, it would leak when you launched it but after a week it would be bone dry. Once the wood swells up it seals the boat up. Deck leaks are the same way. If the boat is sailed regularly and gets wet all over it won't leak. Let it set in a slip for 2 months unused and take it out and water runs in everywhere, but not enough to sink it.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-12-2006
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Also, the larger the boat, the more seams it will have, and the more surface area it will have to leak over. Nine gallons an hour isn't all that much on a 90' fishing trawler, which has a very large bilge... but on a 18' sailing dinghy, it would be way too much... All this is a bit relative.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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