Niggling little leaks

There's nothing worse than those pesky little leaks of rainwater that get into a boat. Sometimes they travel for a very long way before making their presence known. Well I am on a mission to make my beautiful 40 year old girl a "dry boat". I know that I need to remove and refit my 4 large cabin windows and I'll put a separate blog together as soon I can but for now here's two areas that you may wish to inspect on your Downeaster and it's such an easy fix I cant believe I didn't do it earlier.

1: Chainplates. Tondelayo's chainplates enter through the caprail and sit inside the hull. Over time the constant minute movement of the rigging and plates can allow water to run down the shrouds and puddle at the caprail eventually leaking inside the hull.

In my case, previous owners have used silicone around the timber/chainplate interface to try and keep the water out but unfortunately the silicone just isn't the right product for the job.

All you need to do is remove the cover plate and clean out all the silicone until you have clean metal and clean stainless steel. Then get out you trusty butyl tape, (sometimes called dibutyl mastic ????) apply it liberally to the entire interface then screw the coverplate back into place. If you've never heard of butyl tape may I suggest you look it up on youtube, google it or talk to a shipwright. It's great stuff that never completely sets so it can handle the movement and expansion and contraction.

2: Deck Drains: I'm not sure if it is just Tondelayo but the deck drains are such that if the vessel was to be sitting completely level then the tube that takes the water from the deck to the side fitting is actually full of water. Add to this the fact that the hoses are extremely hard to get onto the side fitting and that they are probably the original 40 year old hose clamps and pipe and it's a recipe for a leak.

I plan to raise my deck drains (photo's to follow soon) so they sit flush with the deck and bed them in butyl tape as I did with the chain plates as this may just help that little bit to get any stagnant water out of the pipe. I know that water is getting in around some of the deck fittings because there was a little pile of sand directly under one of them!

I've changed the pipes to clear so I can see blockages and installed new hose clamps using a flexible hose clamp socket (great little tool for your boat) and finishing off with a ring spanner. Straight away the leaks have stopped.

So there's two easy jobs to make a big difference in keeping the wet stuff on the outside of your boat. Now to make a start on those big windows.

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