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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am a bit stumped after trying everything I know and want to know if someone has experienced something similar.

I have one leaky porthole that drips water from the inside extreme lower right corner at the frame's base into the boat. It's not from the gasket area, I've tripled checked that and opened the porthole right after a hard rain and the gasket was bone dry.

I've re-sealed the top half of the trim bezel and installed a port visor (seaworthy goods) to prevent water from coming in to the porthole opening and dripping down onto bezel from the deck.

After a hard 30 min rain, enough water has come through to completely saturate a medium sized towel - I place one on my cabinet just below to catch the dripping water. I just can't figure out how this much water can now still make its way through the window at the base of the porthole from the outside. There is only a few inches between the bottom of the porthole and deck, so in a hard rain there is splattering of the rain drops on the deck which would hit the lower half of the window, but how could it drive this much water through the base? Even after rain has stopped, it's still leaking a drop every 3 seconds for a while.

I am starting to wonder if anyone has had an issue like this from a nearby leak source stemming from something else other than the porthole. Of course it could be the very bottom bezel not being sealed, but couldn't understand how rain could splash up and then forced down through porthole to create this much of a leak.

Thanks for any insight/experience you can give. Much appreciated.

Wes
 

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Pictures would help here.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gladrags1 - I'll be at the boat later today and take some of the area. If you can envision the lower rounded right edge of the porthole frame on the inside of the boat, it's dripping from there. Basically where the porthole frame meets in the cabin wall. It's not dripping from the window area where it closes against the gasket. It's lower than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Pics of porthole leak area and outside attached. The drip comes from the very bottom right on the inside. I did notice the screws that bed the frame to the cabin wall at that spot do not all tighten down, some of them spin freely when trying to tighten. Guess a complete re-bed is the only trick.

Any ideas what to fill existing holes with before re-screwing so you get a tight grab.
 

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I believe you need to remove the entire portalight. Water is getting in through the outside frame and soaking the core. You can't simply caulk and reseat the screw on the inside as water is still getting inside and rotting the wood core. I would remove the portalight and let it dry out. To reseat the screw, use an old carpenter's trick of getting some small wooden matches, cut off the head and insert the match(s) into the screw hole. And let the glue dry. Break off the excess match, sand/cut smooth and drill a pilot hole for the screw. The matches are made of hardwood which the screws bite into really well.

You might want to do the rest of the portalights as they are the same age.

Tod
 

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Also, use lifecaulk to seat the outside trim of the portalight.

Tod
 

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As mentioned above, your best approach to this is to completely redo the whole port.
However, keep in mind that the water may be coming in some place else (the hatch above the port?) and just channeling to this egress point. Water can move a long way inside a boat from point of entry to point of visible egress.
 
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I would guess the water is leaking in from a higher point and the portlight opening is just the first place it can get out on the interior. Try putting a hose on the hand rail mounting points shown in your photo, I'll bet that is your source.
 

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The porthole may not be leaking at all.

Before the next rain, cover it completely on the outside with plastic and make sure that's well taped down.

Now, if the water is coming from someplace on the deck, and simply running down to the place where the porthole allows water in the deck to exit into the boat...you'll find out.

But there's often only one way to really fix a porthole leak if it isn't the gasket. Remove, restore, rebed the entire thing and make sure the core around it is also solid and dry.

You might want to pressure test the entire hull to see if there are any leaks, portholes or deck included. Close up all the openings, put a piece of plywood or corrugated cardboard in the companionway. Stick the back of a shopvac or a leaf blower through that cardboard and let it run. It will build up a little positive pressure in the hull. Now you throw soapy water all over the deck (and that will make it dangerously slippery, be warned) and you look carefully for any spots that are blowing bubbles. Could be a cleat six feet away from your porthole is where the water is getting in. You'll see the bubbling that confirms it.

There are ALWAYS leaks that you never suspected, so this is not a waste of time.
 

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Yes leaks sometime travel a long way
Buy some cake coloring or food dye
5 different colors if possible
Spread on deck and specially by the toerail and stanchions and see what color will come out by your porthole
Cannot do all colors together in one time so you need to repeat each time separately using a different color for each area you want to test

On mine it was a stanchion 3 feet away from the porthole

Patience and good luck!
 

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If you pull any hardware you might want to read this:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/63554-bedding-deck-hardware-butyl-tape.html

It is a good primer on sealing deck hardware. Maine Sail is very knowledgeable, I don't know if his butyl tape is really that much better than others, but it is not expensive so you are getting a known quality for a reasonable price.

You might want to make a signature and put the brand/model and year of your boat in it. As someone may have the same boat and say something like "oh that is the forward most hand hold on the cabin top, always leaks" or some thing along those lines. Is that a late 70's Pearson?
 

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"Buy some cake coloring or food dye
5 different colors if possible"

Whoa, Dude! A tie-dyed sailboat!

"Dave's not here man!"
 

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My port leaked right over the chart table. Drove me nuts! It ended up being the handrails. Yes, the water travels. Work from high to low when looking for leaks. If it turns out being the handrail, or the hatch. I would dig out any wet core and pot the holes with epoxy and re-drill. I haven't had a leak since doing that. Knock on fiberglass..

If the water is escaping through the port, that would also mean that you will likely have wet core along the path of travel. I ended up re-bedding my port as well. When they cut the opening for my port there were spots of raw core ends I dug out the wet core around the port and epoxied the edge. So that there was no raw core exposed. I picked a week of good weather and let everything dry out as much as possible before re-bedding everything.
 

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As mentioned above, your best approach to this is to completely redo the whole port.
However, keep in mind that the water may be coming in some place else (the hatch above the port?) and just channeling to this egress point. Water can move a long way inside a boat from point of entry to point of visible egress.
Its not uncommon for portlights near or directly under any 'fastener attached' device to drain water, the water getting into the core of the deck house from the leaking fasteners above. Loosened hand rails are notorious leakers and the water can indeed migrate a long way to the most vulnerable exit point. Best is to remove the porlight, inspect for water migration from other sources, etc. etc.
A rotted side of a coach roof core is a real PITA to remedy; in the northern areas where it freezes its easy to find a water soaked coach roof side - they often CRACK when the ice builds up sufficient pressure.
 
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