SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: rain water entering bilge thru mast. Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-05-2013 07:17 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

If your boat is on a mooring and the wind keeps it pointed into the wind (where the tides aren't as great as in places like Maine), you wouldn't get that much water into the mast through the halyard holes (for internal halyards). However, when your boat is on the hard or in a slip, you will see variable amounts of water end up in your bilge, depending on the direction of the rain.

Plugging the holes with toilet wax sounds like a clever idea, but with the wind working the halyards or messengers over the winter, you are likely to see the wax seals fail. Taping the holes is probably a better solution, but it would require you going up the mast before and after winter storage.
01-05-2013 06:00 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

We get enough water down the mast that the primary pump comes on about once a week (gallon?) during wet weather. There is no other source for water to enter the bilge (dripless seal). There are just too many openings for halyards, sheaves, etc to try and seal up. It's reassuring to see the pump counter has recorded another one, that way I know the pump is working :-))
01-05-2013 03:58 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

toilet seal wax works wonders on may problems involving ingress of water.
01-05-2013 02:27 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post

I have no doubt that you have a water intrusion problem .........

I'm thinking that that water in the bilge may be coming from sources other than the mast openings. Just a guess, though.

Hope you are able to find a viable solution,
I appreciate the concern Gary, but the boat is fully covered with a Fairclough cover. There is no other way in. The deck underneath is not even wet.

I do have a solution, as I mentioned above. I remove a thru hull near the base of the mast. I can go aboard and actually see where the water runs from the mast step to this spot and builds up a little bit in the corner of that compartment.

Whether it makes sense or not, this is where its coming from. As lancelot says, the ingress I reference above came in over the course of an entire winter, not one storm, not one week.

edit: here's what a Fairclough cover looks like for you warm southern boys.

01-05-2013 01:54 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

We had a couple of unused halyard exit slots on one of our rigs.. we covered them with sail repair tape the same colour as the mast.. it definitely reduced the amount of water finding its way into the mast.

Sealing the mast boot around the outside is not terribly difficult.. but dealing with, and esp preventing altogether, water that can find its way into the inside of the tube is quite difficult. I know those who have put dedicated catchments to try to keep the bilge dry, I've seen 'floors' inside the mast too, but as mentioned before wiring and internal halyards can interfere...
01-05-2013 01:03 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

While the amount of water coming down that mast can be small over a couple of hours, add it up for months at a time and that small amount can be quite large. While putting a plug into the mast at deck level may work, but doing without the mast coming down doesn't seem possible. Thinking that maybe putting some tape above the several halyard openings on the port and starboard side of the mast. Seems like water running down the outside of the mast may be finding a pathway to the interior of the mast at those locations. Any thoughts on doing that to at least lessen the amount of water?
01-05-2013 12:40 PM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.


I have no doubt that you have a water intrusion problem - never saw a boat that didn't. The volume of water, falling vertically from the sky in dropletts, entering a vertical, 1-inch-wide slot in the mast, seems a bit excessive. There are a couple boats here in the harbor that collect rainwater from their boat's deck and funnel it into a below deck tank. During a downpour that lasts for hours they feel lucky if they manage to pick up 30-gallons, and that's from the entire surface of a 50-foot sailboat's deck. Some use 12 X 20-foot plastic tarpaulins that funnel the rainwater through a hose to the deck fitting. I saw several of them set up this morning, trying to capture some water from the two downpours in the harbor. Unfortunately, the rain only lasted about an hour at best, thus they only managed to catch about 10 gallons total.

I'm thinking that that water in the bilge may be coming from sources other than the mast openings. Just a guess, though.

Hope you are able to find a viable solution,

01-05-2013 10:56 AM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

Sounds like the OP needs federal grant money to investigate and document all the possible failure modes. But unless there's standing water sitting (I did say that) in the bilge lines, I'd expect it to run out before then.

What you need is the heated windshield washer system from a Mercedes or Volvo. (VBG)
01-05-2013 10:40 AM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

The water in the bilge hose to exit the boat is still going to freeze and burst.

And we (like most) can't leave anything plugged in permanently.
01-05-2013 10:32 AM
Re: rain water entering bilge thru mast.

"It will be in the 30s during the day and a deep freeze at night. That's why we get rain, but have frozen bilges."
I would have thought the bilge pump would work during the warmer day, when it was warm enough for liquid rain to fall. And the problem then would be that the wx was close enough for freezing rain, or that the bilge pump might burn out if somehow it turned on, while there was water in the bilge but ice already in the pump/line.
Of course, in the West Marine Really Special Stuff Calalogue, you know you can find heated bilge pumps to deal with that.
And the better RV supply stores have 12-volt fishtank heating pads, you can put one of them under your existing bilge pump if you can't afford the heated models. :-)
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome