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sailordave 03-28-2010 02:40 PM

*&%&$#ing Leak!
Catalina 320. Club boat and I'm the boat captain. For the almost three years we've had the boat there has been a persistent (but not all the time) leak SOMEWHERE.

The C320 has a hull liner which means there are parts of the boat that the actual bilge is under what looks like the real bilge. (hard to explain if you haven't seen it)

Anyway we have been going crazy trying to figure out where this water is coming from. Rebedded some hardware and a stanchion that was leaking. That's dry now. Drained the water tanks. Have checked the through hulls and no evidence of water ingress. Stuffing box isn't leaking. But almost everytime we go to the boat there is some water under the liner.

I don't BELIEVE there was water in the boat last winter when it was hauled out for the winter. We left it in the water this year and there is some water in the boat. Not much, but some.

Any suggestions?

JimMcGee 03-28-2010 02:50 PM

Depending on where you're at and the water/air temps you could be getting condensation on the inside of the hull.

Also the cockpit lockers drain into the bilge. I know if I get a hard driving rain I'll sometimes get some water in the port locker but I'll be damned if I can figure out how it gets in.


Siamese 03-28-2010 02:58 PM

$&$*# leaks are always a pain. Can you be more specific as to the location?

I suppose it's either coming in from above or below. You in saltwater? Is it salty?

I have a Catalina 309 and we were getting water in the boat. Occasionally coming off a big wave, water was forced up through the seacock and out the sink drain in the head. Collected on the countertop and migrated past the bulkhead and collected on the ledge above the dinette. Took a couple days to figure that one out. We just keep the seacock closed, now while underway.

sailordave 03-28-2010 04:22 PM

I doubt condensation is the cause.
Boat is in the slip so it's not being forced into the boat.
Cockpit locker is actually pretty dry and no evidence of water intrusion there.
We're in brackish water (Chesapeake Bay) Bilge water just tastes vile.

I am 99% certain it's coming in from below. I can't imagine getting this much water from a poorly bedded deck fitting. Plus no signs of water tracks.

svHyLyte 03-28-2010 04:32 PM

Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. Over the lasT 40 years I have found mysterious leaks as follows:

Check the stuffing box on the top of the rudder post. These occassionally leak.

Check the exhaust hose, particularly where there are any sharp bends. Depending upon the brand you may find a small crack has developed that only leaks when the hose is pressurized with a slug of water from the water lift muffler, which is intermittant.

Check for cracks in hoses that attach to through-hulls, particularly at the raw-water intake to the engine, at heads, and at air-conditioner discharge through-hulls.

Check for leakage around the "water tight" bulkhead between the chain locker and forward cabin. Sometimes is isn't....

Good Luck!


PeterSailer 03-28-2010 05:32 PM

Is the mast keell step or deck step?

If it's keel step the water you could get inside the mast via the mast head or a light and run down in the bildge.

If it's deck step the tabernacel could leak and the water might run down in the compression post, follow the wirers and drip in the bilge.

daydreamer92 03-28-2010 06:24 PM

I don't know Catalinas much, but how about where the rudder joins the hull? Slow seepage, runs down into the bilge?

GaryHLucas 03-28-2010 06:55 PM

I once owned a 1976 Hunter 27. There were quite a few of them around, they all had water in the bilge. Deck leaks I was told. Then my keel tried to fall completely off. After repairing that and installing a nice new automatic bilge pump, we found that we only needed to vacuum out the dust bunnies and we were good to go! The new owner called me 8 years later because he also vacuumed the bilge every year, and suddenly he heard the pump running for the first time! He couldn't fugure out what the noise was. It turned out the rubber bedding under the huge stainless plates I added had actually dry rotted! He replaced that and all was well again.

Gary H. Lucas

sailingdog 03-28-2010 09:10 PM

what kind of hose clamps are you using? One issue that comes up if you're using the old-fashioned perforated strap hose clamps is when the hose swells and hardens a bit as it ages—this can cause the worm gear in the perforated type clamps to pop out and slip a hole or two. It won't be easily spotted, but that could cause a very slow leak, as the clamps are now looser than they should be. This is one reason to use the AWAB/ABA type non-perforated hose clamps.

sailordave 03-28-2010 09:15 PM

Stuffing box, exhaust hose are not the problem. No water tracks.
Mast is deck stepped. Wiring passes through the deck but that's not where the water is coming from. (vhf cable goes down through the compression post and out the bottom in one of the "boxes" that runs down the keel line.

Me (and my co-capt in the club) are very experienced sailors and fairly knowledgeable. We have racked our brains for 2+ years over this. Just when we think we've solved the mystery and have a dry boat for a while, the water comes back. We were CERTAIN is was a leaky waterline for a while, but we've ruled THAT out.

I was hoping someone w/ a C320 would see this and reply knowing how the liner goes in the boat.

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