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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Filling 3/8" hole in hull. Boat in the water.
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Thread: Filling 3/8" hole in hull. Boat in the water. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-25-2009 10:55 AM
countdemonet
Only 3/8 hole?...You're a lightweight!

The key element is that your patch include mechanical clamping force and some sealing area like a stainless steel fender washer and then seal with 5200which is removable later.

Thank you for introducing this issue as it presents an opportunity to relate my daring adventure wherein I personally drill a FREAKIN 2 INCH hole in my hull while in the water, INTENTIONALLY. Apparently this is a common way to install transducer thru hulls where haul outs are costly and maintenance divers are available. But, I had no diver.

Supplies Required:
Bronze thru hull and nut, teak washer for inside hull, 5200 sealant, dummy for transducer, wood safety plug sized for the hole, 1 1/2 inch fishing bobber, 15 feet of braided fishing line, a 3" diameter, 1/4" thick plywood washer drilled to accept the fishing line. dingy, boat hook, drill motor, hole saw, spanner wrench. Labatt's Blue.

Assistants:
One dingy man stationed in the dingy floating abeam of the planned hole, One GFI man to unplug the 110v drill if I start shaking. One Travel Lift operator on call in the event of an emergency. (caution, travel lift operator may be a little cranky 'cause you're stealing his opportunity for a haulout so know your man).

Audience:
Announce your plan at the prior evening's drink and bull session on the dock. The next day, you can expect a large audience hoping to see you sink your boat. However, discourage photography as the graphic evidence in court woud be too damning.

Procedure:
Caution: Distract the admiral by sponsoring a cloths shopping foray into town.
Caution, Keep Labatt's sealed until the job is done.
Dingy man is on station with the tranducer thru hull. The flange is slathered up with 5200 (not the threads). Boat hook at the ready. GFI man is stationed over my shoulder drill motor plug in hand. I drill the hole. Upon breakthrough unplug the drill. The gyser is only about 4" and I easly stop flow with the palm of my hand. I push the bobber into the hole trailing the fishing line and and close the hole with my palm. It must float up the under hull a bit. Dingy man snags and pulls the line from the water, disconnects the bobber, threads the line through the bronze thruhull and then the 3" plywood washer and secures with a proper knot. Dingy man then holds the thru hull at the waterline while I take up slack and a deep breath. On my order he drops it. As it sinks I quickly slip the line in through fingers of my palm. Once the transducer is up to the hole I shove two fingers into the ID to square and bring it through. Next, Holding the transducer firmly to the hull, I insert the dummy plug. I start the teak washer which has a bead of 5200 and bronze nut. I draw it it up with the spanner. Exhale and open the Labatt's

Afterglow:
Over the next few weeks and months the story is retold and embellished by the witnesses over evening drinks. I sit quietly with an even stare into the setting sun as if in deep thought , deflecting accolades with the simple wave of one hand. Eventually, I am annointed ........Count de Monet!
06-25-2009 07:45 AM
QueenElvis
The verdict

Thanks for such a great reply, Med Sailer. There is much wisdom in your post.

I ended up hauling the boat, and doing a proper fiberglass repair. I had jumped into the water with snorkel, mask and underwater epoxy, and immediately realized that I wouldn't feel comfortable 2 miles off shore with my patch.

I will take your suggestion that I install automatic bilge pumps (or at least one) immediately. It's one of those things that have been on my to-do list -- I'll move it up a lot because you make much sense. And I will use the brand you suggest.

Now I've just got to finish my engine replacement and go sailing. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Ha.

Thanks, everyone.
06-25-2009 03:10 AM
MedSailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenElvis View Post
Oh dear, what have I started. I've been laughing at myself all day, and now you're taking me seriously. Perhaps you should buy yourself that sense of humour. Or knitting needles.

Thanks for your advice. I'll be waiting for more beans of wisdom from both of you, that's for sure.
***Dog, I know this thread is a month old, but in case the OP hasn't found a solution I feel compelled to post***


You've got the answer right there! Stick a bean in it and the water will cause it to swell up and fill the hole. ;-)

Now for the more serious advice. I once had a wooden boat with a crack in the hull. Worse situation than a 3/8 hole if I do say so myself, though not nearly as funny. What I did was apply underwater epoxy to the crack. Now I had heard advice to get marine-tex and what I found was that like 5200 and a LOT of other products "cure underwater" does not translate to "apply and stick to" underwater.

What worked was an epoxy putty in a stick form. I think it actually might have been marine tex brand, but it was a stick form. It may be this same product under west marine's name.

West Marine: Epoxy Stick Product Display

Looked a lot like this:
Marine Epoxy Stick

Since I had an ablative (soft) antifouling paint, I had to scrape it off around the crack with a metal brush until I was down to bare wood. I did this with scuba gear. Then, I applied the bubble gum-like stuff, to the hull. If you press it on and smoosh it a little but don't mess with it too much it will stick. Believe it or not it stayed in place and the boat was bone dry for 4 years. I even took the boat on a 4 month cruise with the bubble gum repair on the 4ft crack and it never came off, even in a 1/2 decent storm. (Yes, that WAS stupid, but despite that the product worked)

This stuff is now my favorite repair-it-all product. Even better than duct tape. I've used it on a radiator fitting (lasted 5 years) on my car as well and can attest to it's temp tolerance.

Now I really like the suggestion of the butyl tape and bolt (with washer) idea. I've got no direct experience with butyl tape but from what I hear it is probably a good product for the purpose. Add a good sized glob of the epoxy putty over the top for insurance. Don't worry about removing it. Next time you're out of the water it'll chip off without much hassle.

Also, now is a GREAT time to install an automatic bilge pump if you haven't already. If you have, now's a perfect time to install the 2nd one and run the wires directly to your other battery. After 6 years of leaky wooden boat ownership I can't recommend RULE bilge pumps enough. Never had one fail despite the abuse I heaped on them and I had plenty of others fail.

Hopefully all is already fixed, and if not, good luck!

MedSailor
05-25-2009 06:24 PM
pdqaltair
Yes, please nix the epoxy. I think you may be hating life later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timebandit View Post
You might want to think about how hard that epoxied bolt will be to remove later and just use the butyl tape.

Originally Posted by pdqaltair
~ 5/16" with a washer gasketed with butyl tape. Push it in from outside and put a nut on it. If you use the nut to push the plug inside, you'll hardly leak a drop. This would probably be safe for a season. I have seen plugs like this serve in 500,000 chemical storage tanks for years... which is a little frightening (the gasket material varies with the chemical).



I like this idea a lot. I think this, combined with some underwater-curing marine epoxy, and I'll have a way to get through the season without hauling. And then after the fall haul, I'll go the Don Casey fiberglass repair way.

Of course, I've been wrong before. Like yesterday, when I didn't think about the drill actually going beyond the cradle to the hull, and beyond again....

Thanks, everyone. Well, almost everyone!
Someone mentioned all-thread than rubber washers. Same idea, really. A carriage bolt is nice because it avoids a possible leak between the washer and the bolt or rod. Butyl tape avoids that leakage by squishing every where.

This general approach is a standard damage control method and is is very well proven, with many variations.

By the way, I meant to type 500,000 gallon chemical tanks, but 500,000 tanks may be true too. ASTM tank inspection is a part of my job, and I see ALL sorts of odd repairs, some good, some....

Good luck! At the very worst, with a rod or bolt method, you will slow the leak to an occasional drip.
05-25-2009 03:29 PM
poopdeckpappy
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWaterMD View Post
I have a stick of JB Weld, and I think it says it can cure underwater. You can patch it for now, but I highly recommend a proper fix when the boat is hauled. Also make sure your bilge pumps are working properly.
I've used this before JB WaterWeld on a old FG dinks bow eye at the waterline
05-25-2009 12:29 PM
timebandit You might want to think about how hard that epoxied bolt will be to remove later and just use the butyl tape.

Originally Posted by pdqaltair
~ 5/16" with a washer gasketed with butyl tape. Push it in from outside and put a nut on it. If you use the nut to push the plug inside, you'll hardly leak a drop. This would probably be safe for a season. I have seen plugs like this serve in 500,000 chemical storage tanks for years... which is a little frightening (the gasket material varies with the chemical).

I like this idea a lot. I think this, combined with some underwater-curing marine epoxy, and I'll have a way to get through the season without hauling. And then after the fall haul, I'll go the Don Casey fiberglass repair way.

Of course, I've been wrong before. Like yesterday, when I didn't think about the drill actually going beyond the cradle to the hull, and beyond again....

Thanks, everyone. Well, almost everyone!
05-25-2009 11:58 AM
QueenElvis
Quote:
Originally Posted by boofus View Post
I would be worried ...if you just plug the top of the hole. Getting something on the outside of the hull would be important to me.......
Thanks - but I'm ONLY interested in working on this from the outside of the hull. On the inside, I have a plug where the engine mount is going to be reinstalled.

I'm going to dive down tomorrow or Wednesday and attempt to insert a bolt with washers (if the curvature of the hull at this location permits), and bond it with some type of underwater-curing epoxy.

Unless better alternatives are presented here.... Thanks for your suggestions, everyone.
05-25-2009 11:51 AM
boofus I would be worried about rotting out your engine stringer if you just plug the top of the hole. Getting something on the outside of the hull would be important to me....... if you are going to try waiting out the season, you might find a whole lot more work completely rebuilding your engine bed.
Good luck
05-25-2009 10:33 AM
BlueWaterMD I have a stick of JB Weld, and I think it says it can cure underwater. You can patch it for now, but I highly recommend a proper fix when the boat is hauled. Also make sure your bilge pumps are working properly.
05-25-2009 08:52 AM
billangiep Don't throw the drill away just yet... I'd move over to the opposite mount and drill another hole to let the water out.
On a more serious note using a piece of all-thread, fender washers and rubber washers you could fabricate a better fix till you get her hauled.
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