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Leak Repairs

Fiberglass Repair

TO CHECK FOR LEAKS - First make a visual check of the areas listed below. Nine times out of ten you will be able to find the leak.

1. The first place to check is the bond between the top of the daggerboard trunk and the deck. Breakage of the bond is usually caused by righting the boat with the daggerboard inserted only part way, from the bottom side. Reach in with your fingers and push the daggerboard box away from the deck - if it moves the bond is broken and should be re-bonded. Even if it does not move there could be a void in the bond that is allowing water to enter the joint.

When the boat is sailed at moderate to high speeds the water is forced up the back of the board box so that even a small void will take in a lot of water.

REPAIR - Chip out as much of the old adhesive as possible using a flat piece of steel, preferably bent to form a hook. Clean the joint with coarse sandpaper. Force aircraft adhesive into the joint using your finger. Other epoxy or polyester adhesives may be used although they will probably not be as strong as the aircraft adhesive. Silicone sealant packaged for bathtub caulking can also be used. It will stay in place and keep out most of the water even though the bond will eventually break.


2. Check for voids in the daggerboard trunk. Sometimes air pockets in the gel coat will show up after the boat has aged. Damage can also be caused by the board itself if the boat has been run aground with the board down. Any hole or break in the gel coat should be completely filled. A suitable repair can also be made with epoxy or polyester adhesive kits commonly sold in hardware stores.

3. Check drain plug to make sure it is tight. Adjust by turning lever clockwise.

4. On older boats, check the plastic nameplate installed in the footwell. Check each rivet by inserting a round toothpick into the hole. If the toothpick is stopped by the rivet head, the rivet is sealed. If the toothpick goes in far enough to fill the hole, break it off and leave it in the hole to make the seal. If the nameplate appears loose or warped it should be caulked with silicone bathtub sealant and refastened with pop rivets or tapping screws.

5. It is possible but unlikely that the bond between the deck and hull is broken. If the boat has been hit severely check this area first. Also check in the area of the side stay fittings. If the bond is broken there, you will see a noticeable bulge as the deck pulls away from the hull when pressure is exerted on the stays (while sailing in heavy air).