leak through crack in gelcoat on bottom of hull.

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by AJC6882, May 15, 2010.

  1. AJC6882

    AJC6882 Member

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    There is a crack in the gelcoat in the bottom keel downt he center of the hull on either side of the daggerboard slot. It runs from front to back. well the boat has been moved to a couple of sawhorses in my back yard and I am drying it out. Well I noticed a wet spot on the ground and looked up and noticed that the one part of the crack was dripping. So I wiped the drip. I took a long time for the water to cause another drip about 5 minutes. I know there is probabbly about a inch of water in the bottom of this boat. Is it possible that the water is seeping through the fiberglass? Or is the fiberglass damaged/cracked? I'm going to re-gelcoat the boat in the next week or two I guess ill grind the gelcoat down in that area so I can repair the crack. Ill probabbly cut a 5" port and see how the boat looks inside and apply some fiberglass. from the inside.
     
  2. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Can you post a picture for us?


    The first thing you might do is to unscrew the drain plug on the deck (dime size screw), starboard side, near the tip of the splash guard. Tip the boat up on that side and drain out the standing water.

    [​IMG]


    I suspect there’s damage. The water got inside the sealed hull cavity somehow.


    Gelcoat will be the final step, first you need to get everything dry or your repairs won’t stick.

    1. Install your port
      • Sunfish KB & FAQ (Knowledge Base in the menu at the top of this page)
        • Repairs and Upgrades
          • Inspection Ports [PDF]
    2. Sand the area of the crack until you get to structural fiberglass and see what the damage is.
    3. Do a leak test
      • Sunfish KB & FAQ
        • Repairs and Upgrades
          • Air Leak Test
    4. Plan your repairs based on what you see under the gelcoat at the crack and what the leak test shows you elsewhere.
    .
     
  3. minas man

    minas man Member

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    Wayne has given good advice and I agree that gel coat is the finale operation. Do the air leak pressure test. This is a high volume and VERY, very low pressure. By your description sounds like a a center board casing leak or an impact on center board to cause the cracking. Check hull weight.
    Air leak test and if it is center board case leaking 2 five inch forward cockpit inspection ports will expedite the drying of hull and repair of centerboard casing. I advocate cockpit inspection ports as they give access to the lowest point of hull enabling the greatest visual inspection of the forward hull center board case, foam blocks and monitoring and mopping up of any water. Bonus assessable dry storage while sailing after repairs are complete. If I were buying a new Sunfish or used, cockpit inspection ports would be installed immediately and would be opened up after every sail so any leaking issues would be caught before hull is water logged and in need of drying out. Ports in these positions can be left open without fear of rain getting in hull but remember pull the bailer plug and screen over ports to keep critters out.
    ><>Don<><
     

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  4. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    There is probably a crack in the fiberglass as well, that would need to be addressed.
     
  5. AJC6882

    AJC6882 Member

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    Okay so after some inspection the crack transfers through to the fiberglass. but only about 5inches long. I tipped the boat on its side and tried to drain any water that was in the hull through the drain plug. Also the sunfish only drips from the crack after it begins to heat up in the sun. The water must be coming out of the foam as it heats up and then it condenses and forms a small puddle in the bottom. Then it begins to drip. Ill be installing a port ASAP. I need to get this thing dry so I can make my repairs and gelcoat the bottom of the boat. Il take some pictures when I start my repairs.
     
  6. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    That is a sound plan. Use the leak to help dry out the boat. One way is to put the boat outside, in the Sun, under a black tarp--which will heat it up. I've seen people paint decks black to do the same thing--not a good idea if you want to save the gelcoat.

    All the water that condenses out will, as you say, leak out the crack. So, no rush to seal the leak. Dry it out well first.

    Where do you plan to put the inspection port? Not on the deck I hope. That ruins the look of the deck. I like inspection ports in the front of the cockpit--which also allows installation of a hiking strap, or in the back if you have an older boat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Don't you think that will be a slower drying process than circulating air through the hull using a small fan in conjunction with warming the innards? Besides, you'll be using a crack you'll want to repair as a drain, keeping that area wet when what you really need is for that spot to be bone dry.

    Rather than shooting from the hip you may want to read some of the methods that have been successfully tried already to see if they'll get you down the road to repairing and out on the water sailing a little quicker.

    • Sunfish KB & FAQ (at the top of this page, in the menu bar)
      • Repairs and Upgrades
        • How to dry out a wet hull [PDF]
     
  8. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    I agree that your method would be faster. It also requires more materials and work. Using a fan requires cutting inspection ports. Some people may want to avoid that.

    The black paint/tarp method is a proven method for drying composite hulls of any size. If water is leaking out of the crack, I would definitely let it out that way, and try to help it--perhaps even drilling a hole or holes there, since the area will need repair anyway. Sure that area will be wet, but the fractured laminate should be cut away in any event, and drying out glass is pretty easy compared to foam. Solid laminate will not absorb much water.

    Putting a electric heater and forced air through an inspection port is not something I'd want to leave unattended--that is a recipe for a fire.

    If it was my boat, I'd cut a inspection port in the forward area of the cockpit, put positive pressure on that and drill a few small holes in the area of the crack and throw a dark tarp over it and expose the boat to direct sunlight, put some rags underneath and inspect it every few days.

    BTW, I've known people to trailer boats to Arizona to dry them out without cutting any holes anywhere. That would be the best option if practical.
     
  9. AJC6882

    AJC6882 Member

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    I never said that I was going to dryit out with out a port. Read what I wrote. Im installing a port to dry the boat out and im doing it on the deck of the boat between the coaming and the daggerboard trunk. I feel that gives me the best access to the foam blocks and the important areas of the boat. Then I can install a hiking strap like I did on my other Sunfish.:)
     
  10. ylojelo

    ylojelo Member

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    I wish I had seen the ports in the cockpit before I installed mine on the deck. Oh well.
     
  11. winever

    winever Member

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    Wayne, thanks for posting the info about Sunfish KB FAQ, air leak test. I was typing leak test into the search and not finding it. Didn't think to look for FAQ's. Anyway, the test looks simple, I can do that tonight on my boat. I went aground last sail and want to see if I did anything. Plus I was having just a slight amount of water after sailing. Cheers, Winever.
     

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