Sailboats are like icebergs. A substantial portion of them lies beneath the surface of the water. The entire existence of the boat is a balance to keep her afloat and upright. A lot of engineering and mathematics can explain how it all works, but our main objective as boat owners is to keep water on the outside of the boat – especially the salty kind. You would think that it’s straight forward, but you’d be surprised.
Nearly every other boat owner we know has at least one leak on their boat. Sometimes they come from the plumbing that connects to the holes in the hull. Other times the water drips into your closet and you have to wear soggy, salty, musty clothes to work. The crazy thing about the leaks from above is that it can be effectively impossible to locate the source of the water. We have had our fair share of chasing leaks on Small World, but one sprang up back when we left Seattle. It only seems to happen when we are sailing, and when Mercury is in retrograde.
It happened again during our trip to Mazatlán. I reached into the cupboard to get some coffee mugs and noticed they were filled with brown water. I made Craig taste it – confirmed salty. All the cups within the cupboard had substantial amounts of dirty salt water in them and we still had no idea how it got there. This was the most water that this particular leak had produced, and it was starting to get concerning. Not only does it create more dirty dishes, it could be indicative of a larger issue. Today was the day we started to do battle with the leak.
Directly above the cupboard in question is the fair lead track that harnesses the jib when we are on a port tack. These things are notorious leakers – in fact they could be working in the current White House. They are also a pain in the dupa to troubleshoot. So, we looked uphill from there on deck. To our dismay, a support rod on a stanchion was screwed directly into the deck. The water that splashes on deck while we are underway, bashing through waves, comes aft along a drainage channel, and goes directly over this rogue screw that pierces the core of the deck. Water is MAGIC and will find a way into ANYTHING. Following a screw straight down is child’s play for water. Water could find its way down that screw and into the core with its eyes closed while sleeping and one arm tied behind its back. Once into the core, the water probably traveled downhill toward the cupboard, and dripped into the mugs. Or so the theory currently stands.
Day one of the battle had us removing that screw and the three others done in the same fashion. We over drilled the holes, cleared out debris in the core, and filled the holes with epoxy. Once the epoxy cures, we will be able to reinstall the support rods and screw into the epoxy without allowing water into the core. That’s the process for screwing anything into the deck. That’s the process we’ve used in the past and the process that should have been done in the first place. Hopefully the battle will end on Day 2 and we will emerge dry and victorious.