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water in my Sailfish hull

bhm

Active Member
Questions about (a) leakage around a rudder bolt; (b) can and should I install a new drain in the transom?; (c) where should I cut into the Sailfish deck to install inspection ports?.

These are the details. (a) While working on the topside of my new-to-me 1962 Mark 2 Super Sailfish I discovered that there is some water inside the hull, as the boat happened to be tilted while I was working on it, and I noticed water accumulating on top of the upside-down plastic bucket the stern was sitting on. Looking to see where it was coming from, I found moisture around the head of the forward rudder-mount carriage bolt, that goes all the way through the hull and deck. I think this is a retrofit of some kind, since that bolt and its topside wingnut are galvanized steel, not bronze like all the other rudder hardware.

DSC05467.JPG

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So I took that bolt all the way out, to let the water drain more quickly, and put a pan underneath to catch the water so I could clock the outflow. With the bolt out, it seems to be about an ounce per hour, for the past few hours, totalling a cup or two since I've been measuring it. I have no idea how much might have already leaked out before I noticed this, as the boat was sitting on these uneven supports for some time before I noticed the water leaking out. I was surprised to not find any kind of seal or gasket where this bolt went through the hull, since obviously if water can leak out it can also leak in, while the boat is in the water. So obviously whatever else I do, I should seal that bolt head better to the hull. So, question (a), can I just put in a couple of rubber washers or gaskets, one between the bolt head and the bronze bar, and one between the bar and the fiberglass hull?

(b) Then, realizing that I had water in the hull, I took off all my extra gear and weighed the hull on a bathroom scale and it weighed 130 pounds, so it has 30 extra pounds of water weight, whether as liquid water or as waterlogged foam. The previous owner had said that this boat normally took on some water during sailing, which he always drained out through the topside drain on the bow. He wasn't sure how much water, or where it was coming from, and evidently didn't view this as a problem since he had had the boat for many years, but hadn't sailed it much recently. I was hoping that it might be getting in through the screw holes of the side-rails, which were loose, so that this would stop once I filled those holes, as I have now done. The first time I sailed it after that I turned it over and got just a trickle of water out of the drain hole, which I hoped was left over from the previous owner. But it was a lot of work to turn it over, especially with my additional gear mounted on the topside, so I haven't done that the three or four more times I've sailed it.

That leads to question (b): can I just install another drain plug in the transom? It would be a lot easier for me to drain water out of the hull just by picking up the bow, rather than having to turn the boat over.

(c) But I presume that most of that extra 30 pounds of water weight must be waterlogged internal foam, especially since this boat evidently has a long history of having had liquid water inside the hull, even if supposedly it was always being drained out again after every outing. And so I presume that means that I will have to go through the process of drying it out by blowing air though inspection ports that I will have to install, that I have heard about but not yet tried to do. The one reference I've found for doing this on a Sailfish is this thread here from 2016: Super Sailfish MKII Inspection ports, including this very useful picture of the guts of a Mk 2 Sailfish:

Sailfish foam blocks.jpg

Based on that, I'm thinking I should try to put one 4-inch port in the back corner, behind the foam block and beside the rudder, which then might be handy for installing a drain in the transom, as proposed in (b). And then another one forward and to the side, midway between the gunwhale and the midline foam block which Signal Charlie says in that thread would also be there. ("There also would have been a block centered in the bow area, probably 18-24 inches long and 3-4 inches wide.")

(c) So, is this a good plan? I picked 4 inches just because there was a cheap price online for two of those, and it says somewhere on this forum that you should use as small a port as will serve the intended purpose. I guess you cut into the deck by drilling some holes in a line until you can fit a jigsaw blade in, then sawing forward from there? And what kind of blade is good for fiberglass, i.e. coarse teeth or fine? I'm ordering a jigsaw on-line just for this purpose, along with a set of blades, so I will have a choice on this. Thanks for any advice on this.
 

bhm

Active Member
No, that's another thing I've heard about but figured I won't try to do unless I know I have to. My immediate plan is to let all this liquid water drain out, then sail it again and see if I get more. If so, then I'll know I have a leak, and maybe then I'll think about that, depending on how much water I get. Which links to the question about a drain on the transom, as I might just keep on draining out whatever leaks in, like the previous owner was doing, since I am able to load and unload at its current weight anyway.
 

bhm

Active Member
Of course I mean, sail it again with rubber seals added to the steel rudder bolt (a), which I hope will be sufficient to eliminate that as a possible leak.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The forward attachment point for the brass plate is supposed to be a screw into the deck, and The screw on the bottom should only go into the hull. It looks like someone drilled thru the boat and inserted one long bolt! Yikes! You may want to try rubber washers. To put it back the way it should be would require an inspection port. You should do a leak test too to see where the water really is coming from. And btw drain plugs can be installed from the outside. No port needed. Be aware there is often yellow foam from construction of the boat in the stern, making a stern plug useless - but your mileage may vary.
 
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bhm

Active Member
The forward attachment point for the brass plate is supposed to be a screw into the deck, and The screw on the bottom should only go into the hull. It looks like someone drilled thru the boat and inserted one long bolt! Yikes! You may want to try rubber washers. To put it back the way it should be would require an inspection port. You should do a leak test too to see where the water really is coming from. And btw drain plugs can be installed from the outside. No port needed. Be aware there is often yellow foam from construction of the boat in the stern, making a stern plug useless - but your mileage may vary.
Ah, that explains why Signal Charlie remarked on the second wing-nut on the rudder as non-standard, when I first posted these pictures for ID of the boat. Maybe the bottom screw came loose or the hole stripped out, and this was a crude fix for that, without opening up the hull?. And perhaps it started leaking more over time, and maybe that is the main or maybe even the only current leak? All the more reason to try first to seal that with rubber (I have some sheet rubber on hand that I can cut seals or gaskets from, that will be thinner than stock 1/4 inch rubber washers). But since I already ordered the saw and ports, probably I will go ahead and install them and try to dry out the foam, just for the added convenience of making the boat lighter. And then I could also patch that bottom bolt-hole from the inside, and better evaluate whether there is a good flow path to a stern drain hole.

Also, the presence of that foam would explain why this water is coming out through that underside bolt-hole in such a slow trickle, even though there is apparently a fair amount of it. I now have a pint or so in my catch-basin, with the same steady trickle still ongoing.
 

bhm

Active Member
Not a fan of the stern plug. The leak test is simple and will give you the answers you need.
I haven't looked into the leak test yet. From passing references I've seen it seems to involve dousing your whole boat with soapy water while also somehow pressurizing the interior through the drain plug, and I'm not sure I currently have an air pump on hand with hoses and fittings that could thread into the drain hole. Is there some simpler version of it than that, that doesn't require airtight hoses and fittings to pressurize the interior?

What is your objection to the stern plug? If I need a drain plug at all, I would rather have one I can use without having to turn the boat over, since I have so much extra gear mounted on the deck.

Edit: now I've started searching, and found from this 2007 post by Alan Glos that actually you don't want that much pressure since you could damage the boat, so this I can certainly manage, i.e. either a loose seal with a vacuum cleaner run backwards, or a tighter seal with a bicycle pump, adding pressure only as needed.


Second edit: does anyone know if the Sailfish even has a "weep hole"? It can't be "in the front of the cockpit" since there is no cockpit. I wonder if these older boats even needed that, since they might not even have an airtight seal between deck and hull? I suppose I will hear it if it is there, as described in that thread.

So now all I'm missing is what to do with the soapy water. Are you supposed to listen first and then spread water near where you hear a whistle? Or just spread water all over? Also, what is a good recipe for the soapy water mix, say with liquid laundry detergent?
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The bleed hole has to be there - those boats were built to be watertight. Check and see if it is drilled through the Alcort metal ID plate on the deck.

Soapy water can just be a gallon of water with dish detergent mixed in. And you apply it with a sponge to all of the likely problem areas - hull/deck seam, screws, top and bottom of daggerboard trunk, etc. You won't hear a whistle unless the boat is way too pressurized.
 

bhm

Active Member
The bleed hole has to be there - those boats were built to be watertight. Check and see if it is drilled through the Alcort metal ID plate on the deck.

Soapy water can just be a gallon of water with dish detergent mixed in. And you apply it with a sponge to all of the likely problem areas - hull/deck seam, screws, top and bottom of daggerboard trunk, etc. You won't hear a whistle unless the boat is way too pressurized.
No, nothing drilled through the nameplate, though I suppose it could be underneath.

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Also nothing under the mystery piece of duct tape under the bow handle, which I was thinking must be covering it:

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So for now I have no clue on that, unless the soapy water will find it. I'll have to move on to that stage now (or tomorrow), since I put back in the through-bolt with rubber gaskets underneath and cinched it tight with the wingnut, and attached a bicycle tire pump tightly to the drain hole using the valve stem from an old bicycle inner tube, and tried gently to inflate the hull, but it wouldn't hold any pressure at all, so I presume that means that there must be other major leaks besides that bolt-hole. Am I right in supposing that even with the bleed hole open, I should be able to build up enough pressure with a tire pump to either feel some resistance or hear a whistle of air through the bleed hole if that was the only leak? Or at least enough to blow that valve stem wrapped in electrical tape back out of the drain hole.

DSC05706.JPG

So I guess that means I have to do the soapy water thing, tomorrow. I have an old Shop-Vac that can blow air through the hose, though apparently at dangerously high pressure, according to the Alan Glos thread from 2007. So my current plan is to take that extra rudder bolt back out again, so I will know for sure that I have two open 1/4 inch holes open at the stern, and then try gently with a series of stepped-down taped-together hoses and tubes of increasingly lower diameter to blow some of that air through the bow drain hole, and check the strength of the outflow through those two 1/4-inch stern holes, and use those as escape valves, by partly obstructing or blocking them. E.g. once I know they are both blowing air, maybe plug the bottom one with a bolt, and modulate the top one by partly covering it, until I find a setting that seems to give a mild steady pressure in the boat, as gauged by what escapes through those holes, then finally start the soapy-water search. And maybe by using a long garden hose I can get the Shop-Vac far enough away from the boat that I can also hear some hiss of escaping air.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
But it was a lot of work to turn it over, especially with my additional gear mounted on the topside, so I haven't done that the three or four more times I've sailed it.
For Sunfish owners, if you step firmly on the hull and pull on the mast, the boat can be tipped easily enough to drain it. (Not advised on concrete).

A transom drain is not advisable due to the thin material there. It's too easy to create more places for water to seep in. (Not a fan).

If you have access to a 12-volt pump for vinyl water-toys, that's the kind of pressure that's optimal.

If you don't have a sponge, use a brush.

If you hear a whistle or hiss, you've either got a huge leak or too much pressure.

One member, maybe an Olympic champion, suggested "lung power" was enough! IDK :rolleyes:
 
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bhm

Active Member
For Sunfish owners, if you step firmly on the hull and pull on the mast, the boat can be tipped easily enough to drain it. (Not advised on concrete).

A transom drain is not advisable due to the thin material there. It's too easy to create more places for water to seep in. (Not a fan).
How about if I did the installation through an inspection port at the stern (which I'm probably going to install anyway, for drying out the internal foam). Then I could also reinforce the fiberglass on the inside where the new drain plug was added, by some waterproof material like Lexan. (I happen to have a bunch of 4-inch by 24-inch pieces of Lexan that somebody was throwing out.)

The very rocky shore I mainly launch on is so hard-packed that it is almost like concrete, similar to a hard-packed gravel driveway. I can certainly get the boat up on its side, but the drain plug in this Sailfish is at the bow, not on the side like my Minifish, so I can't get water out of it until it is completely turned over, and that's where my gear on the deck and sticking out on the sides causes problems.

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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I think you should have been able to build a bit of pressure.

if Signal Charlie reads this he will know about the vent hole’s location.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Vent hole is most likely under the Alcort metal tag. Spray around it while doing the air leak test. Spray everything, bow handle, entire deck seam, etc...hull, deck. There may be a hairline fracture on the hull that air can get through.

You boat is already leaking. Why add ANOTHER hole below the waterline on the transom? It will leak too, as the stern spends a lot of time underwater. And you have to lift the bow pretty high to get internal water to run back there, and as Beldar said there will either be excess adhesive foam back there or loose backer block bits, foam chunks, etc...to block water outflow. Ask me how I know. We did a transom plug once, had all of these problems, and OBTW you risk damaging you rudder fittings when you tilt the boat. We removed the drain plug as soon as we could and repaired the hole that we made.

Why an air leak test first? So you can identify where your boat is leaking and repair those areas, or else you spend more time bailing that sailing. The way to keep pressure down is to not get a tight seal on the drain plug hole, hold the hose away from the hole a bit. Having a friend helps, or you can rig something to hold the air source. And remember, water puts about 6 psi or more on the hull while you are sailing, but not as much on land when it wants to drain out. Air Leak Test Videos

We'd find the leak(s), then split the stern deck/hull seam and replace the internal backer blocks for the deck horizontal hinge plate and keel latch plate. That's what the previous owner should have done, and how the factory would have repaired it. If you don't want to go that route, I like your idea of a deck plate on the stern, 2-3 inches ahead of the rudder assembly hinge plate. And maybe another one amidships between the mast step and daggerboard trunk so you could access those areas for repair. I'd use a 6 inch deck plate there, more room to get your lower are inside.
 

bhm

Active Member
Vent hole is most likely under the Alcort metal tag. Spray around it while doing the air leak test. Spray everything, bow handle, entire deck seam, etc...hull, deck. There may be a hairline fracture on the hull that air can get through.

You boat is already leaking. Why add ANOTHER hole below the waterline on the transom? It will leak too, as the stern spends a lot of time underwater. And you have to lift the bow pretty high to get internal water to run back there, and as Beldar said there will either be excess adhesive foam back there or loose backer block bits, foam chunks, etc...to block water outflow. Ask me how I know. We did a transom plug once, had all of these problems, and OBTW you risk damaging you rudder fittings when you tilt the boat. We removed the drain plug as soon as we could and repaired the hole that we made.

Why an air leak test first? So you can identify where your boat is leaking and repair those areas, or else you spend more time bailing that sailing. The way to keep pressure down is to not get a tight seal on the drain plug hole, hold the hose away from the hole a bit. Having a friend helps, or you can rig something to hold the air source. And remember, water puts about 6 psi or more on the hull while you are sailing, but not as much on land when it wants to drain out. Air Leak Test Videos

We'd find the leak(s), then split the stern deck/hull seam and replace the internal backer blocks for the deck horizontal hinge plate and keel latch plate. That's what the previous owner should have done, and how the factory would have repaired it. If you don't want to go that route, I like your idea of a deck plate on the stern, 2-3 inches ahead of the rudder assembly hinge plate. And maybe another one amidships between the mast step and daggerboard trunk so you could access those areas for repair. I'd use a 6 inch deck plate there, more room to get your lower are inside.
(a) Leaks. Yes, the vent hole on this boat is for sure under the Alcort tag:

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This is with my weak air pressure in through the drain, roughly equivalent to human breath blowing out candles on a cake, and with my unwanted bolt-hole in the hull for the rudder mount now sealed with a rubber gasket that I hope is watertight, and soapy water applied with a sponge. So then I covered the whole tag with tape, and held the air hose down over the drain hole, and created enough pressure inside the hull to puff up the tape a bit, like so:

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And at that point I started hearing air squeak out around the sides of my garden hose, held down over the drain hole, something like the noise you make with a balloon. I spread some more water around a bit, but couldn't find any obvious other leak. So now I will optimistically adopt the best-case scenario, and hope that the only leak was the rudder bolt-hole, which I hope I have now plugged. Also, liquid water had stopped draining out of the bolt hole, before I plugged it up; totalling a little under a gallon, i.e. 8 pounds. So my current plan is to sail it this way tomorrow, then open the bolt hole again when I get home and see if any new water drains out. If it doesn't, I will optimistically assume that the bolt hole was the only leak, and the only reason why I couldn't inflate the boat with my tire pump previously is that air was escaping though the bleed hole under the Alcort tag.

Edit: in fact, it just occurred to me that I can now test this. Namely, I went back and put the tape back on over the tag, and put the tire pump back into the drain hole, and again tried to "pump up the boat". Again I felt no resistance, so I thought there must be a leak after all. But then when I took the valve back out, there was a sizable whoosh of air back out of the boat as it deflated. So actually I am now pretty sure that the boat is now airtight except for the vent hole, and the reason why I felt no resistance on the pump is just that the volume of air inside the boat is so much bigger than the cylinder volume of the tire pump.

(b) Additional drain hole. You have convinced me not to do a transom drain. But what about installing a second drain in the deck, on one side amidships, like my Minifish (and I guess a Sunfish), rather than the bow. Then I could drain the boat by standing it on its side, without having to turn it over. If I put a big inspection port amidships, as you suggest, then I should be able to look around and find a location for this that doesn't get in the way of the side-rail backer blocks. What do you think about this alternative?
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
"what about installing a second drain in the deck, on one side amidships, like my Minifish (and I guess a Sunfish)"
'Makes sense, given your unique deck hardware.

Just tilt the boat in the location where you'd usually drain it, and hose down the deck. (The mast can stay in). Where gravity takes the runoff is where the drain plug should go.

If my Sunfish were near electrical outlets, I'd thread a ¼" (o.d.) vinyl hose back through the deck drain, and connect a $6 aquarium air pump. The pumps are very long-lived and have a very low current demand. Continuous operation assures an air exchange at all times off the water.
 

bhm

Active Member
'Makes sense, given your unique deck hardware.

Just tilt the boat in the location where you'd usually drain it, and hose down the deck. (The mast can stay in). Where gravity takes the runoff is where the drain plug should go.

If my Sunfish were near electrical outlets, I'd thread a ¼" (o.d.) vinyl hose back through the deck drain, and connect a $6 aquarium air pump. The pumps are very long-lived and have a very low current demand. Continuous operation assures an air exchange at all times off the water.
I do keep it in a garage with power, so this could be good for long-term upkeep. But surely I can't get rid of 25 pounds of water weight that way? I.e. for that, don't I still need to install ports and blow air through it with a leaf blower or hair dryer or something, as I see people posting pictures of on Facebook? And putting it in the sun wrapped in black plastic, etc?
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I hope you checked all the deck/hull seams and inside the daggerboard trunk. There are an amazing amount of holes and seams that are purpose built into the boat that are potential water ingress points, ironically the drain being one of them. Common offenders are the deck/hull seam, especially on the pointy parts, mast step, daggerboard trunk and rudder fittings. On a Sunfish add the bailer hoie and 13 holes on the coaming. We have repaired all of them, including ait that leaks up through small grainwise fractures in plywood. In the future don't tape over that vent hole, it is there to vent, just like the small hole on the forward bulkhead of most AMF Sunfish. Air will find all the holes to escape, even without the vent hole taped.

No need for another drain plug, you are considering cutting two sizable holes on the deck of your boat. If you plan to put a deck plate aka inspection port in the middle, it will be very close to being over the natural low point of your bilge. Just open the deck plate after a sail and sponge out any water at the end of the day. Some folks go this route and leave the port open, with an appropriate critter screen to keep out visitors. Water will take the path of least resistance while draining, and end up in the bilge vs soaking in to foam. Remember that water was forced into the hull at at least 6 psi,, but that same pressure is not there to force it back out. Our mantra, "You can't keep water out but you can keep it in."

At our Boat Works, electrical cords and leaky boats do not cross paths. We have gone to a cordless wet/dry shop vac, very handy to remove bilge water. Your bike pump idea was good one that many folks use. We don't recommend making an airtight seal though, at the hole where air is pumped in. We leave an escape path for air to exit. If there is only one person doing the work, they have to get creative to pump in air and spray bubbles. Spray a LOT of soapy mixture first, then pump and watch.

Alcort boats Chip Zsa Zsa Sweetness.jpg

SWEETNESS Alcort.jpg

photo 1.JPG
 
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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
What Signal Charlie said!
1. Do another leak test. A spray bottle of dish liquid and water is easy. DON’T add too much air pressure to your hull. You will cause damage.
2. You’re not listening for a whistle or a squeak or a rush of air, you’re looking for bubbles. I would be surprised if you don’t have other leaks in your boat.
3. Put in the ports, use a fan, etc to dry out. 25 lbs of water isn’t going to go away by draining it. It is absorbed in the foam like a sponge. 4. DON’T add another drain!
 

bhm

Active Member
I hope you checked all the deck/hull seams and inside the daggerboard trunk. There are an amazing amount of holes and seams that are purpose built into the boat that are potential water ingress points, ironically the drain being one of them. Common offenders are the deck/hull seam, especially on the pointy parts, mast step, daggerboard trunk and rudder fittings. On a Sunfish add the bailer hoie and 13 holes on the coaming. We have repaired all of them, including ait that leaks up through small grainwise fractures in plywood. In the future don't tape over that vent hole, it is there to vent, just like the small hole on the forward bulkhead of most AMF Sunfish. Air will find all the holes to escape, even without the vent hole taped.

No need for another drain plug, you are considering cutting two sizable holes on the deck of your boat. If you plan to put a deck plate aka inspection port in the middle, it will be very close to being over the natural low point of your bilge. Just open the deck plate after a sail and sponge out any water at the end of the day. Some folks go this route and leave the port open, with an appropriate critter screen to keep out visitors. Water will take the path of least resistance while draining, and end up in the bilge vs soaking in to foam. Remember that water was forced into the hull at at least 6 psi,, but that same pressure is not there to force it back out. Our mantra, "You can't keep water out but you can keep it in."

At our Boat Works, electrical cords and leaky boats do not cross paths. We have gone to a cordless wet/dry shop vac, very handy to remove bilge water. Your bike pump idea was good one that many folks use. We don't recommend making an airtight seal though, at the hole where air is pumped in. We leave an escape path for air to exit. If there is only one person doing the work, they have to get creative to pump in air and spray bubbles. Spray a LOT of soapy mixture first, then pump and watch.

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View attachment 51331

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(a) new drain plug. I am glad to hear that a big midships deck plate can serve instead of a new drain plug. I have no problem with sponging out the inside after every trip, as I do that now with the cockpit of my Minifish, as long as I don't have to turn the boat all the way over.

(b) leak test. No, I didn't do all of what you all say should be done for a proper comprehensive air-leak test. Once I found the bleed hole under the Alcort tag and observed what looked to me like significant back-pressure after I taped over it, I jumped immediately to the optimistic best-case scenario that maybe the only significant leak was the one from the unwanted hole through the hull for an ill-advised second rudder bolt, which I had now provisionally fixed with rubber seals around the head of the through-the-hull bolt on the underside. I.e. I took that back-pressure as evidence that the hull was now approximately air-tight and therefore approximately water-tight, so I should just go ahead and test-sail it in hope that this was true, and if so, then I wouldn't have to do a more comprehensive air-leak test, since I would have now found and fixed my immediate leakage problem.

So that's what I did. Namely, I took the boat out yesterday, was on the water for two hours (6:30 to 8:30 pm), then brought it home, set it up on an incline, took out the unwanted through-the-hull extra rudder bolt, and left it overnight with a dishpan underneath to see if I had shipped any water. As of 8 am this morning the pan was bone dry, where I had drained a full gallon of liquid water out of the boat with just this same arrangement a couple of days before, so I know there is a good flow path to that hole in the hull as an underside drain.

DSC05736.JPG

(c) inflation damage. I am sorry to hear that I may have damaged the boat by using a tire pump to put some pressure into the hull with no known outlet. How serious is this risk, and is there something I need to do about it right now, other than not doing that ever again?

(d) installing deck plates. With my immediate leakage problem now solved (I hope), I move on to installing deck plates. I now have three on hand, two 4-inch, one 6-inch, all a cheap Chinese brand called 'Amarine'. My current plan is to put the two 4-inch ones fore and aft, to blow air through for drying out the 25 extra pounds of water weight, and the 6 inch one midships as you advise, for mopping out the bilge. My only remaining immediate questions are about the exact placement of these, and the installation technique.

Aft: I think you said the plate should be centered, a few inches forward of the rudder hardware, something like this?

DSC05731.JPG

Forward: you said there is a block along the midline, so I guess something like this? I assume it should be as far forward as possible, to give maximum air circulation when air is blown in from that end. As I presume that you want to alternate which end you blow the air in from.

DSC05735.JPG

Midships. Here things get tricky due to my topside seat assembly with footrest. I can move that whole assembly forward a few inches before it bumps into the raised mast step, since it is held onto the gunwhales by screw clamps, but I would rather not do that if I don't have to, since the current placement already fits nicely between the tiller and the outriggers, and if I change it then I might have to change those as well. I'm not sure how close to the daggerboard trunk I can place the deck plate. There is enough clearance between the deck and the wooden footrest for the outer ring of the deck plate to sit underneath it, so the proposed placement of this 6-inch plate would be a half-inch or so forward from what this picture shows. And of course I could move another half-inch forward by shifting to a 5-inch plate. Of course I want to be able to unscrew the lid without removing the entire seat assembly.

DSC05733.JPG

But on looking back to your 'Sailfish foam blocks' picture, I notice that this placement requires cutting through that red strap between the mast step and the daggerboard trunk, which looks like it might be something structural.

Sailfish foam blocks.jpg

So maybe I would be better off putting that plate just aft of the daggerboard trunk, rather than just forward, like this?

DSC05741.JPG

Last is installation of the ports. I have a choice of jigsaw blades: 6, 10, 18 and 24 teeth per inch, all with the same cutting depth of 2 inches. Which is best for this deck material (I presume, just a big flat sheet of fiberglass)? I assume you start somewhere in the middle of the proposed location and drill holes in a line until you can fit the blade in and start cutting a line towards the perimeter.

These don't come with any gaskets or hardware, but I expect I can either buy these on-line or cut them from the sheet rubber I have on hand. I guess you just put one circular gasket between the deck and the outer ring of the deck plate, then clamp that down to the deck with machine screws and washers going through the deck?

Thanks again for all your very useful advice on this.
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
But surely I can't get rid of 25 pounds of water weight that way?
Nope. The aquarium pump is just for low-cost minimum circulation off-season.

To remove water weight, you'll need one port, and one $10 muffin fan. (Or a duct fan from Home Depot for more "muscle").

"Snaking" a few 45°-angle ducting internally--for maximum circulation--one fan and one duct can work. (Use one hole for intake and exhaust, but "swirl" the fresh air by extending the ducting deep into the hull).

While favorable results can appear right away, it's a slow leaching process to clear all the water.
 

bhm

Active Member
Nope. The aquarium pump is just for low-cost minimum circulation off-season.

To remove water weight, you'll need one port, and one $10 muffin fan. (Or a duct fan from Home Depot for more "muscle").

"Snaking" a few 45°-angle ducting internally--for maximum circulation--one fan and one duct can work. (Use one hole for intake and exhaust, but "swirl" the fresh air by extending the ducting deep into the hull).

While favorable results can appear right away, it's a slow leaching process to clear all the water.
Would it go faster if you used even more muscle, e.g. a leaf blower? or maybe a Shop Vac with a good seal, to suck out air from one end and pull it in from the other end? Also, wouldn't it help to have one port at each end, so you could periodically reverse the flow direction?
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
****I lost track, how much does your boat weigh? It was ADVERTISED at 98 pounds out of the factory, but I'd easily add 10 pounds on top of marketing hype. Consider this, you have added a lot of topside weight. And you are concerned about lateral stability. Skipper says to just leave the water weight in the foam, that will serve as ballast, assuming we're only talking 20 pounds or so, and the weight is in the foam, not sloshing around unbaffled. If your boat got all the way down to marketing weight you might find yourself trying to figure out how to add ballast.****

But if you decide to proceed with ports, because that's vogue...

-The port by the stern can be about 2 inches forward of the deck hardware, even closer if you remove the hardware before you cut. You have to leave enough room for the port outer ring to not interferes with the deck hardware. You may cut though the old wood block that is under the hardware, inside the hull, it most likely needs replacement, or if it is good shape you can reuse it. People put those in because they don't have the skills/resources/experience to split the deck/hull seam and do the repair, or they do and don't mind cutting 2-3 new large holes in a boat. Same for the bow. One gent used to cut the repair access hole in the bottom, do the repair and then did a nice job fiberglassing the cutout piece back into place. A small gelcoat application covered the thin line left over from the saw blade kerf/resin repair.

-Do not put a port within 2 inches of the daggerboard trunk, there are fiberglass layers inside the hull that attach the trunk body to the deck and hull. Reference the photo of the Sailfish guts, that attachment flange needs to be left alone. Same around the mast step. If you offset I'd put it between the mast step and the daggerboard trunk. Use a bigger port there. And I'm all for ports amidships, as the placement of flotation blocks, cockpits, trunks etc make it hard to get the deck/hull seam open enough to reach inside anyway. It is a good place to add a port with a dry bag, and to check to see if a boat is taking on water, sponge it out, find the leak, repair etc...

-There's no current need for a port up by the bow.

-In the photo of the Sailfish guts, the butchers left those crosswise deck pieces because I believe they intended to make a duck boat. Don't know if they ever finished the destruction.

- We use a laminate blade if we have one, but they'll all work.

- The deck plates are sealed with marine grade sealant, not adhesive. Or butyl tape. It is important to not overtighten the port outer ring, especially on a crowned deck, because that will pull the ring out of plane and the cap will not screw on.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Would it go faster if you used even more muscle, e.g. a leaf blower? or maybe a Shop Vac with a good seal, to suck out air from one end and pull it in from the other end? Also, wouldn't it help to have one port at each end, so you could periodically reverse the flow direction?
Yes, drying would go "faster", but the wet foam only leaches at a given--and slow--rate.

(I would, however, press a leaf blower into a thoroughly soaked goose-down pillow).

Consider your carbon footprint! ;)

Adding ports (especially cheap ports) weakens the deck and allows more opportunities for water to leak back in. :(

I'd heed Signal Charlie's good advice above--quoting Shakespeare, “Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.”
 

bhm

Active Member
****I lost track, how much does your boat weigh? It was ADVERTISED at 98 pounds out of the factory, but I'd easily add 10 pounds on top of marketing hype. Consider this, you have added a lot of topside weight. And you are concerned about lateral stability. Skipper says to just leave the water weight in the foam, that will serve as ballast, assuming we're only talking 20 pounds or so, and the weight is in the foam, not sloshing around unbaffled. If your boat got all the way down to marketing weight you might find yourself trying to figure out how to add ballast.****

But if you decide to proceed with ports, because that's vogue...

-The port by the stern can be about 2 inches forward of the deck hardware, even closer if you remove the hardware before you cut. You have to leave enough room for the port outer ring to not interferes with the deck hardware. You may cut though the old wood block that is under the hardware, inside the hull, it most likely needs replacement, or if it is good shape you can reuse it. People put those in because they don't have the skills/resources/experience to split the deck/hull seam and do the repair, or they do and don't mind cutting 2-3 new large holes in a boat. Same for the bow. One gent used to cut the repair access hole in the bottom, do the repair and then did a nice job fiberglassing the cutout piece back into place. A small gelcoat application covered the thin line left over from the saw blade kerf/resin repair.

-Do not put a port within 2 inches of the daggerboard trunk, there are fiberglass layers inside the hull that attach the trunk body to the deck and hull. Reference the photo of the Sailfish guts, that attachment flange needs to be left alone. Same around the mast step. If you offset I'd put it between the mast step and the daggerboard trunk. Use a bigger port there. And I'm all for ports amidships, as the placement of flotation blocks, cockpits, trunks etc make it hard to get the deck/hull seam open enough to reach inside anyway. It is a good place to add a port with a dry bag, and to check to see if a boat is taking on water, sponge it out, find the leak, repair etc...

-There's no current need for a port up by the bow.

-In the photo of the Sailfish guts, the butchers left those crosswise deck pieces because I believe they intended to make a duck boat. Don't know if they ever finished the destruction.

- We use a laminate blade if we have one, but they'll all work.

- The deck plates are sealed with marine grade sealant, not adhesive. Or butyl tape. It is important to not overtighten the port outer ring, especially on a crowned deck, because that will pull the ring out of plane and the cap will not screw on.
The hull alone currently weighs 125 pounds. Lateral stability is not an issue for me since I always sail with outriggers. I'd like to lose those 25 pounds of water weight, just to make handling the boat on land a bit easier, but this is not urgent since I'm still managing that OK.

Anyway, putting all this useful advice together, I think I now know what to do next. Namely, if the drying-out only requires one port not two, as L&VW says, then all I need is a midships port. And I can start with just a 4-inch one, since I now have two of those on hand anyway, and there is plenty of room for that inside my seat assembly. And then I will be able to see inside the boat and have ongoing assurance that my leak is fixed, and sponge out as needed, and run some air through there while the boat is in the garage, and with luck that may be all I need to do here. I.e. if my crude external fix to the bolt-through-the-hull problem continues to work, which I can continue to monitor and verify through that single 4-inch midships deck plate.

One thing: can I get away with using only a gasket but no sealant for that 4-inch plate? I think I'd rather not have adhesive to deal with, if I later want to take that off and put in a larger concentric one.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
One thing: can I get away with using only a gasket but no sealant for that 4-inch plate? I think I'd rather not have adhesive to deal with, if I later want to take that off and put in a larger concentric one.
Those cheap Chinese inspection ports are thin and very bendy. Rubber or paper gaskets aren't going to work, even if the port exhibits a molded-in groove for it.

I'd use silicone sealer, although painting over the old silicone-sealed area can be expected to be "spotty".
 

bhm

Active Member
Those cheap Chinese inspection ports are thin and very bendy. Rubber or paper gaskets aren't going to work, even if the port exhibits a molded-in groove for it.

I'd use silicone sealer, although painting over the old silicone-sealed area can be expected to be "spotty".
So I guess that means that you can scrape off most of it with a putty knife? In general I don't like to use sticky stuff that may be hard to get off if I want to change things later. That's what appeals to me about using just a rubber gasket plus mechanical compression, if that might be enough; i.e. that you can take it all apart and use the same pieces again somewhere else if you want to change things later.

These Amarine brand Chinese plates seem pretty strong: I can't flex the outer ring of the 6-inch one at all, when I grab it with both hands on opposite sides and try to twist it. And it supports a 35 pound solid concrete block:

DSC05746.JPG

In contrast, the Sailfish deck flexes noticeably under this same weight, in the area where I propose to install one of these Amarine plates. This I take as reassurance against Signal Charlie's fear that the deck may bend the ring out of plane, so that the lid will not thread fully. Rather, it seems that the more rigid ring would pull the more flexible deck into plane if it isn't already, and thus still might enable the rubber gasket to seal well against the deck by compression force alone.

Anyway, I already cut gaskets for two of the three plates, so I think now that I'll go ahead and try that first, though I'm not sure yet which plate in which location on which boat, for my first attempt. Again, that's what I like about not using goop and gunk: that if it doesn't work I can just take it all to pieces again, without having to try to clean off any sticky remnants. As in this case I can do some kind of leak test, e.g. spray it with a garden hose or something, and if the gasket alone doesn't give a good seal then I can always add a sealant later, after I know for sure what size plates I want in what locations on which boats.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
To remove water weight, you'll need one port, and one $10 muffin fan. (Or a duct fan from Home Depot for more "muscle").

"Snaking" a few 45°-angle ducting internally--for maximum circulation--one fan and one duct can work. (Use one hole for intake and exhaust, but "swirl" the fresh air by extending the ducting deep into the hull).

While favorable results can appear right away, it's a slow leaching process to clear all the water.
My old muffin fan had finally quit, so I ordered a muffin fan last week--Amazon, and it cost $12. :rolleyes:

Although it's the correct wiring and voltage, the size is smaller than what I thought I was going to receive. (Never good at math, the metric system ruined my "gozintas" :confused:).

I can still use it for it's intended purpose, but in looking for another muffin fan over Memorial Day weekend, I found a lot of ways to get flummoxed. :oops: (I'm copying this response to put in the "Sunfish Tools" thread).

You can get small muffin fans for $1, but you'll need to buy 100!

Muffin fans are cheapest in DC current, which means you can run them off a suitable transformer you've saved from some other application; however, connecting the wire connectors might be a hangup. :(

Muffin fans also come in house current (115v-120v/220-240v), but not all have the plug!

There are even muffin fans in stainless steel!

But my original muffin fan was a US-made "takeout" (routine replacement) from a Xerox 2400 machine I was maintaining in 1972!
 

bhm

Active Member
My old muffin fan had finally quit, so I ordered a muffin fan last week--Amazon, and it cost $12. :rolleyes:

Although it's the correct wiring and voltage, the size is smaller than what I thought I was going to receive. (Never good at math, the metric system ruined my "gozintas" :confused:).

I can still use it for it's intended purpose, but in looking for another muffin fan over Memorial Day weekend, I found a lot of ways to get flummoxed. :oops: (I'm copying this response to put in the "Sunfish Tools" thread).

You can get small muffin fans for $1, but you'll need to buy 100!

Muffin fans are cheapest in DC current, which means you can run them off a suitable transformer you've saved from some other application; however, connecting the wire connectors might be a hangup. :(

Muffin fans also come in house current (115v-120v/220-240v), but not all have the plug!

There are even muffin fans in stainless steel!

But my original muffin fan was a US-made "takeout" (routine replacement) from a Xerox 2400 machine I was maintaining in 1972!
If you say 'muffin fan' often enough, eventually I will google it. I had been vaguely assuming that it was a fan designed to circulate air around muffins while you bake them.

But on your one-port drying system, doesn't the air come out the same hole you are blowing it into with the fan? So wouldn't you want some extra space around the fan anyway, to let the air back out again? Which is why it makes sense that you say you can still use it for its intended purpose. So why are you still looking for another one?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
From the Internet:

"Muffin is a trade mark of Rotron. They are both AC and brushless DC fans but they always have a square chassis of 4 3/4" by 1 1/2" deep".

That's what they were called when I worked at Xerox. (And the size I hoped to get by ordering from Amazon). It's become a generic name, which I knew. It's brushless and long-lived, so the chances of melting, burn-up, sparks, and fire are much reduced.

With one port, the number of cuts are reduced in the deck. By using PVC pipe to duct the breeze deep inside the hull, circulation is maximized. The moist internal air passes by the outside of the fan. Granted, there is an adverse mixing of breezes, but the single port minimizes the opportunities of water returning when outdoors--and water condensing internally when exposed to the temperature swings when in a garage.

Regarding the application of a second fan:

I have this old refrigerator (with the coils on the back), and hoping to keep this one for a long time.

New cabinetry went in, which has trapped the coil's hot air behind the refrigerator. The new muffin fan will be installed in the bottom of the cabinet--facing upwards. The hot air will be ducted to the next cabinet over--which is a "Finnish cabinet". (That’s a cabinet over the sink, where freshly-rinsed dishes drip through the cabinet's open bottom into the sink below).

Now, you can ask me what time it is... ;)
 

bhm

Active Member
From the Internet:

"Muffin is a trade mark of Rotron. They are both AC and brushless DC fans but they always have a square chassis of 4 3/4" by 1 1/2" deep".

That's what they were called when I worked at Xerox. (And the size I hoped to get by ordering from Amazon). It's become a generic name, which I knew. It's brushless and long-lived, so the chances of melting, burn-up, sparks, and fire are much reduced.

With one port, the number of cuts are reduced in the deck. By using PVC pipe to duct the breeze deep inside the hull, circulation is maximized. The moist internal air passes by the outside of the fan. Granted, there is an adverse mixing of breezes, but the single port minimizes the opportunities of water returning when outdoors--and water condensing internally when exposed to the temperature swings when in a garage.

Regarding the application of a second fan:

I have this old refrigerator (with the coils on the back), and hoping to keep this one for a long time.

New cabinetry went in, which has trapped the coil's hot air behind the refrigerator. The new muffin fan will be installed in the bottom of the cabinet--facing upwards. The hot air will be ducted to the next cabinet over--which is a "Finnish cabinet". (That’s a cabinet over the sink, where freshly-rinsed dishes drip through the cabinet's open bottom into the sink below).

Now, you can ask me what time it is... ;)
I just ordered this one, and will use it to try your one-port drying method with the 4-inch port I just finished installing. Following your warning, I made sure to get one with an AC adapter and plug.


Successful first installation of a small 4-inch deck plate. Even with the scroll blade, it was hard to cut a ring that small. It was noticeably damp inside, not surprising since there had been at least a gallon of liquid water inside it recently.

DSC05752.JPG

But, fingers crossed, the plate ring did fit well into the hole, without need for trimming. I was astonished to see how thin that deck is.

DSC05758.JPG

Then mount the ring with machine screws through gasket and deck, no adhesive or sealant. The one obvious advantage is that this lets the ring come back out again, to give more room for poking around inside.

DSC05769.JPG

And with the lid on. The hard plastic of the lid seems much stronger than the thin deck. But I guess the "weakening of the deck" aspect refers to the joint between plate and deck. As e.g. if you stomped down hard on this, the lid would not break but the whole ring might rip out the screw holes and punch through down into the hull, like punching a hole in drywall.

DSC05770.JPG

I took some flash pictures of the interior of the hull, in case you cognoscenti can see something interesting there.

Looking aft, toward the daggerboard trunk. I guess those orange stripes are just the inside of the hull?

DSC05754.JPG

Looking forward, toward the bow, left side:

DSC05756.JPG

Looking forward, right side:

DSC05766.JPG

These pictures fill in the mystery area in Signal Charlie's picture of Sailfish guts. It appears here that the white styrofoam side blocks extend forward beyond the yellow mast step, in addition to the center block directly forward of the mast step. In fact, looking more closely at the background of this picture, I think I see one of those forward side-blocks sitting on the ground, in front of the chimney.

Sailfish foam blocks.jpg
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Looking aft, toward the daggerboard trunk. I guess those orange stripes are just the inside of the hull?

View attachment 51457
The orange "stripes" are the translucent sides of the hull.

Light* is passing through the fiberglass--and any coating that might be there. (A decal there would appear in reverse).

The yellow is also light* passing through, but the fiberglass of the daggerboard trunk is not painted or coated.

*= most likely, natural light.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The inside looks great. One thing we look for are stained white blocks, a waterline where water and dirt have been allowed to sit inside the boat for extended periods of time.
 

bhm

Active Member
The orange "stripes" are the translucent sides of the hull.

Light* is passing through the fiberglass--and any coating that might be there. (A decal there would appear in reverse).

The yellow is also light* passing through, but the fiberglass of the daggerboard trunk is not painted or coated.

*= most likely, natural light.
Interesting -- so the hull is actually translucent. Yes, you are correct: those pictures were taken outdoors, with bright sunlight coming from the port side, which explains why the "orange stripe" is brighter on that side.
 

bhm

Active Member
The inside looks great. One thing we look for are stained white blocks, a waterline where water and dirt have been allowed to sit inside the boat for extended periods of time.
Thanks.

I'm still mulling over your suggestion of water-weight as ballast. In the meantime I'm letting it dry out naturally a bit, just by rolling it out to sit in the summer breeze and sunshine with the midships port open, while I tinker with possible ways to implement Alan Glos's suggestion of rope steering. I only use two wheels at a time for launching, but having four makes a nice movable workbench.

DSC05775.JPG
 
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