13 February 2007

Got my test last night

I have an old boat. Old boats have issues. Ergo, my old boat has issues.

Well, the other day I fixed one of them but didn't have a chance to test it out. My V-Berth has had a leak since I bought the boat but it fell down the priority list as I fixed the other 100 problems. Once I fixed the cushion problem, I had to fix the leak problem or I'd have a new cushion problem.

I needed a rain to find out exactly where the leak was. Luckily, a good hosing would work and I did that last week when I scrubbed the deck shiny-clean. I found out it was the deckplate for the windscoop thing.

So this last weekend, I pulled out some tools and planned on rebedding the thing. As I got started, I realized that the thing was so old and chipped that although the bedding needed to be done, it was still going to leak. The cover didn't fit in snugly enough, the plate was cracked and I was able to see that water was getting in from three different areas.

There was no way to fix this thing and keep it functional. I had to seal the damned thing down so that I couldn't open it until I have a chance to replace it. So, out comes the silicon sealant goop and everything is shut tight.

Last night, it poured so my fingers are crossed that the next time I'm at the boat, the v-berth will be dry. And hopefully, I'll be able to turn that event into a more interesting post than this one.


Anonymous said...

I know your fix is only intended to be temporary, but I still try to avoid silicone if at all possible. It doesn't really work very well for bedding, since water seeps underneath it very easily. I remember trying to seal the various fittings of my boat when I was a kid with the stuff and being utterly perplexed when it would eventually leak and become heavy again. The stuff was supposed to work right?!? Anyways, as a boatbuilder I always have used something like 3M 4200 (if I intend to remove) or 5200 if I expect something to be permanent. Boatlife Lifeseal is a decent alternative because it has polyuethane in addition to the silicone, which seems to toughen it up some and make it more effective. May your deck never leak again

EVK4 said...

very temporary, just need it sealed until I get a new one and the skies clear.

I've used 5200 on ports, how easy is 4200 to remove if you need to?

Anonymous said...

Rule of thumb is that it is about half the strength of 5200, which makes it infinitely easier to remove fittings bedded with it. It is still strong enough to be used below the waterline reliably, and I have sealed through-hull fittings with it.

"Raps" said...

Thanks guys, I didn't know anything about boat goop until now! I know there was a 3M goop that people used to patch sails, was it the 5200?

Aaron - navagear.com said...

I'll echo that silicone is a bit sketchy on boats, and definitely not suitable below the waterline. It works loose with mechanical action, and contaminates the surface it's been applied to so that nothing sticks or seals well afterward. Basically, you've got three major classes of sealants on the market, silicones, polysulfides (Life Caulk), and polyurethanes (5200). Stick with polysulfides for bedding anything you'll ever want to take apart again. Polyurethanes are great as structural adhesives, and you'll break things when you try to get them apart. There's a silicone exception for bedding plastics, especially polycarbonate windows, which polysulfide will damage.

A nice dry bunk sounds good right now. zzzz.

EVK4 said...

Wow, I never expected to actually get good feedback on a post that I wrote because I couldn't think of anything else to say. Thanks.

Zen said...

silicone!!! :-(

I know people that would have a COW if they heard you use that on your boat!

3M 4200 is THE way. Good seal, removable when needed, no residue to screw up life later when painting, or whatever

Anonymous said...


A good reference book for you to get is Bill Burr's Boat Maintenance. Has some nice reference tables about different sealants and when/where they're most appropriate and such.