Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Flathead Lake, MT
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Need tips on how to find pesky hull leaks
Some background history...
My boat had been on the hard for about five years before I bought it. When I was checking out the boat, I noticed a musty smell and figured that it was leaking from the cabin top. There were stains around the chain plates and at various other places. There did not seem to be any soft spots on the deck, so I thought that all I would have to do is re-bed the deck hardware and steam clean the interior, and all would be good.
After I launched my boat, I found it has a leak that allowed about 2-3" of water to seep into the boat. I think the leak stops about at the water line, which would makes sense. I had the boat hauled out and low & behold, the water didn't come out. I did a inspection of the bottom while it was on the lift, and I could not see any cracks, blisters or any other defects. So I figured that the water had come in from the deck after a rain storm we had the previous night. I removed the water an dried the hull out, and the next day the water was back. The water did not seem to get any deeper so I did not worry about it, thought I would put it on my "fix it this winter list".
After I had it hauled out and checked for leaks, someone suggested that I "should have" filled the cabin full of water to see where the water was coming from, said something about "water pressure forcing it way back out". It seems to make some sense, but I can only fill the hull up to the top of the dagger board house (approximate 10-12"). I have removed all of the fabric and foam from inside of the boat and found a spot where there was a hard impact that cause the hull stiffener to crack in about four places . The impact area is at least 12" above the water line and you can barely see the cracks on the outside of the hull. I plan on fixing this before I paint the boat this spring.
This is where you guys come in...
I sail in fresh water and store the boat on the trailer, I would like to put on a hard slick bottom paint. We get very little growth if any on the bottoms around here. Since I have this leak problem would it do any good to use an epoxy coat or paint? Please send any ideas on how I can find the dreaded leak?