Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama - SailNet Community

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Old 02-26-2014
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Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

Back in February of this year I purchased a 1983 I-30 Bahama. When I first saw the boat (in February), it basically bone dry with just an inch or two of water in the bilge and it had been on the hard for over a year. When I went to start working on it in April, the cabin was flooded with four inches of water. I attributed that to the scuppers being blocked up by the tarp that had collapsed due to snow and water flooding over the transom into the cabin.
I installed an electric bilge pump (amazed that the boat didn't have one!!!) and sailed through the season. I had installed some deck items like fairleads and clutches. I also repaired a stanchion base. I didn't get around to resealing the chainplates.
With the boat on the hard in November, I checked in after a few rain storms and saw the bilge almost overflowing. Pumped that out and then covered the boat with a tarp (I had the mast down) so almost the entire boat except for the last three feet of the cockpit was protected. Weather has been pretty cold (I'm in NJ) but when I would check the boat, I saw water creeping up in the bilge. With a spate of warm weather hitting us last week, I ended up having to pump out an inch of water in the cabin!
This is driving me crazy as I can't figure out where such a substantial leak can be coming from. I don't see any water streaks on the wood near the chainplates.
Any thoughts on where to look next? (It will have to wait until spring. I'll just be pumping in the meantime. Any preferred techniques for leak detection? I'm toying with one that involves blowing air from a ShopVac into a sealed interior. Anyone try that?
Thanks
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Old 02-26-2014
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

3 feet of pit exposed? Start with the pit deck and move to scuppers and drain lines. Then I,d try any exposed hdwr.

hth
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Old 02-27-2014
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

Hi and congrats on getting an Islander. I have a 1979 Islander Bahama and love it. I had a similar issue, but to a much lesser degree. I would get lots of leaks whenever it rained and was frustrated with never being able to find the actual point where the water was getting in. I finally used the ShopVac method you mentioned ( I actually used a heavy duty leaf blower) and it worked great.

The hardest part is getting everything sealed up without forgetting something you need that you left inside the boat or forgot to block off your solar fan, etc. Once you seal her up and blow the air in, get a spray bottle with soapy water and start spraying everywhere. I found a leak around a port window but the major leak came from the very bow of the boat between the deck and a plastic trim piece that goes around the bow between the toe rails. I filled in the space with silicone and it worked great.

Hope this helps. Good luck
tonykeel and abudoggie like this.
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Old 02-27-2014
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

Thanks, Jeff. You've given me hope! And I'll use a leaf blower as you suggest. I'm planning on cutting out a piece of plywood to temporarily replace one of the slats comprising the companionway door and cutting a hole in the center for the leaf blower.

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Originally Posted by jeffgauvin View Post
Hi and congrats on getting an Islander. I have a 1979 Islander Bahama and love it. I had a similar issue, but to a much lesser degree. I would get lots of leaks whenever it rained and was frustrated with never being able to find the actual point where the water was getting in. I finally used the ShopVac method you mentioned ( I actually used a heavy duty leaf blower) and it worked great.


Hope this helps. Good luck
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

The scuppers are fine and I do plan on rechecking all of the hardware. Can you give me any examples of other drain lines? I'm not aware of any other than the scuppers.
Thanks

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3 feet of pit exposed? Start with the pit deck and move to scuppers and drain lines. Then I,d try any exposed hdwr.

hth
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Old 02-27-2014
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

"I'm toying with one that involves blowing air from a ShopVac into a sealed interior. Anyone try that?"
Yes, and it works very well. Don't waste time cutting plywood, all you need is a sheet of corrugated cardboard (a piece of cardboard box) and some duct or packing tape to seal the edges.

Do be warned that when you slosh soapy water on the deck, it becomes very easy to fall off the boat.

Ignoring leaky chainplates can lead to major problems, especially if that water is getting behind trim and attacking your interior wood or bulkheads. If you can't get to that right away, use some sash putty or beeswax and temporarily seal them from above.
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

Good tip. It will be a major PITA (pain in...) crawling around under the tarp...and it's still pretty cold! Has to been done, though.
Thanks

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Ignoring leaky chainplates can lead to major problems, especially if that water is getting behind trim and attacking your interior wood or bulkheads. If you can't get to that right away, use some sash putty or beeswax and temporarily seal them from above.
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Old 02-27-2014
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

Congrats on your IB30 - I have an 81 that I've been through similar issues with - it ended up being an issue with the windows in the salon - the big ones - water was literally pouring in and sliding down the sides of the boat under the vinyl headliner - I ended up ordering new windows for it and after I mounted them most of the issues went away - I'd love to have a completely dry bilge, but in most bots (especially with a non-dripless stuffing box) I don't know if this is a reality - I'm always sure to keep an eye on it and the auto bilge pumps work well to keep it under control. Every month or so I do suck it dry with the shop vac, but its never more than a gallon or so that the bilge pump leaves behind.
Other culprits besides what you've mentioned, are the Jib tracks, and the toe rails - in general terms these were factory sealed, but depending on the conditions the boat has been kept in the sealant is capable of failing - the good news is Islander made it very easy to reach all of the nuts under the deck for removal and re-bed - even if some boat yoga is involved in getting to them - they are ss, 1/4-20 with 7/16 nuts - there are a bunch of them. Hope this helps - PM me if you have other questions.
Eric
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

one last thought; don't forget that the ice box drains into the bilge (at least it does on mine). Make sure you don't have some crazy leak that's getting into the bilge via that route.

Good Luck.
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Re: Leak detection help-- I30 Bahama

Interesting. I did have some leakage in the cabinet under the ice box but couldn't for the life of me figure out where it was coming. Since it wasn't significant, it kept slipping down the "To do" list. Sigh...

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one last thought; don't forget that the ice box drains into the bilge (at least it does on mine). Make sure you don't have some crazy leak that's getting into the bilge via that route.

Good Luck.
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