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Looking For Repair/Restoration Advice

drewotto

New Member
Hello lovely sailors,

I purchased a used Laser that I'm guessing is from the 80's. It works great, but slowly takes on water on the inside of the hull. When I'm out sailing, after about 30 minutes I can clearly tell that I'm cruising more slowly. After 45 minutes, I can hear / feel the water inside the hull sloshing around. And after an hour, I start to get nervous about making it back home.

My dad and I noticed that the sealing around the top and bottom halves of the hull was falling apart all along the outside rim of the boat. Thinking that the water might be leaking in there, we completely separated the two halves of the boat, scraped it clean, then re-glued it together with some high-tech poxy stuff. However, the leaking problem has not changed a bit.

Our second guess is that there are cracks in the slip that the dagger board goes down in, but there's no way to really get down there, plus we don't know if that's really the issue.

We have an idea that could solve the problem, but need advice from the community. Our thought is to cut a hole in the top of the boat, and fill the entire body with an expanding, lightweight foam. That way, wherever there be cracks, there'd be no room for water to enter. Any thoughts on this would be very helpful! (I'm really hoping I don't have to start over with a different laser).

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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Seams in the dagger well are probably leaking, might wanna check the thru-hull fitting for the plug as well, sometimes that can leak. 2-part foam can be used, but you should repair the leaks first, and once you've done that, ya don't really need the foam, AYE? Just my $.02, FWIW. If you've repaired the rollover joint where the two halves of the boat meet (deck & hull), then that daggerboard well is the next area to inspect. Good luck!!! :cool:
 

Jason Rucker

Active Member
I would not fill the boat with expanding foam. Check the mast step first. Then you can also do a soap test. Use a hand air pump at the bung hole and look for the air bubbles in the soapy water.
 
fill the entire body with an expanding, lightweight foam. That way, wherever there be cracks, there'd be no room for water to enter. Any thoughts on this would be very helpful! (I'm really hoping I don't have to start over with a different laser).
Did you figure out how much foam you'll need and how much weight it would add?
I have a similar problem with "Leaky Lena", my 1988 glorious craft. Pretty much every year I fix a major leak and pretty much every year my repair lasts about 3 months and then the boat starts leaking again, most of the times somewhere else...Yes, it's falling apart...
I never tried to calculate what the internal volume of the hull is but my guess is that it's over 500 liters; that's a lot of foam. But that would be a great solution, making the hull stiffer as well.
I doubt it'll make sense though.
Good luck.
E
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
I purchased a used Laser that I'm guessing is from the 80's
The colour points to any time from 1971 to '82. There's a hull identification code on the starboard side of the transom that should be easy to decipher. If the boat is very old or built outside North America, the hull/sail number is under the bow eye.

Our thought is to cut a hole in the top of the boat, and fill the entire body with an expanding, lightweight foam. That way, wherever there be cracks, there'd be no room for water to enter.
:eek: Don't even think about it.

The volume of a Laser hull is roughly one cubic metre (think about a 4 m x 1 m x 25 cm box). Polyurethane foam sure is light but not weightless - it's normally 35 to 45 kg/m3, so that's the mass you'd be adding! (Not to mention that the end result wouldn't be a Laser anymore.)

Is the water coming in only when there are waves coming over the deck? If so, then it's the mast step that is the problem area. There are plenty of repair suggestions for that on this forum. If it leaks in light air as well, then it's somewhere below the waterline: bailer hole or centreboard trunk.

Tests to do: 1) fill the mast step with water and see if it drains inside the hull, 2) let some water in the hull through the transom plug hole and see if any comes out of the bailer or the centreboard area (or anywhere else).

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Rob Hair

Active Member
I agree, don't even think about filling the boat with foam.

A pressure test can help you to find even small leaks, but use great caution! Even what seems like a small pressure can put enormous force on the hull. That's another reason for avoiding an expanding foam.

With a hand air pump applied to the drain fitting, use soapy water applied to suspect areas.
 

Andrew Jones

New Member
When I was about 14 I decided that expanding PVC foam would be a good way to fix a persistent leak into a buoyancy tank that wrapped around the dagger-board case of a Europe dinghy. I drilled a few holes and injected builder's foam from a large aerosol can. I didn't know how much to use, so squirted a bit in and left it. I came back after 20 mins, nothing coming out of the holes so added some more, and again a bit later.

I went indoors for the night but thought I'd check before I went to bed. I could hear the groaning from the boat before I got to the shed, and the tank had swollen like a balloon with foam oozing out.

My only thought was "I need acetone and I need it now", so I ran to a neighbor who I knew would have some (being an ex-RN Engineer). I woke him up and he came down in his underwear and found a 2 liter can for me.

I poured this in through the little holes and dissolved the foam away before it set, and I forced some planks into the dagger board case to open it up again. After about an hour my dad came out to see where I was and I'm just glad he didn't have a cigarette lit, as i was in my PJs and soaked in acetone and part-dissolved foam sludge.

Happily the boat survived and the leak stopped.
 

Riv

Member
Definitely the pressure test. I use one of those foot pumps for inflatable matressess. Get a friend to pump gently and havea spray bottle of saopy water. Works a treat, easy and accurate.
 

ZobiWan

New Member
The colour points to any time from 1971 to '82. There's a hull identification code on the starboard side of the transom that should be easy to decipher. If the boat is very old or built outside North America, the hull/sail number is under the bow eye.
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I have a a hull din: PFS 09363 0873 which I want to confirm it means it was by Performance in August 1973. Is the correct sail number 09363? I see a lot of Lasers with 6 digits in red and black/blue. Should just the 0 be red?

thanks for the help.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
I have a a hull din: PFS 09363 0873 which I want to confirm it means it was by Performance in August 1973. Is the correct sail number 09363? I see a lot of Lasers with 6 digits in red and black/blue. Should just the 0 be red?
Yes, your boat was built by Performance Sailcraft in Montreal (or Pointe-Claire, Quebec to be exact) in August 1973. The hull/sail number is 9363. No zeros!

If you're using a sail that was originally purchased before 1 June 1993, then the number may be of any (one) colour. But if it's newer than that, or the tack patch says "New numbers", then the last four digits have to be of one darker colour and any preceding ones in another, contrasting colour. Red/black is the most common combination, while red/blue used to be common in North America. The Japanese have traditionally used blue/black, which seems to be gaining some popularity. (None of which applies to your boat as it has only four digits ;) )

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