My name is Charlie. First time visitor to this group. I just bought my
sailboat in September without having much of a clue on how to use it.
I've been learning, but obviously making mistakes along the way. I
discovered one of them Christmas Eve day when I visited my boat at the
dock and to my shock saw about three inches of water in the cabin...
Luckily no real damage. I pumped out all the water with a hand-pump
behind the porta-potti, then began looking for the electronic bilge
pump. I've seen the switch on the panel, but have never actually
looked for the pump. The boat's always been dry as a bone. After an
exhaustive search (with my dock-owner) we couldn't find it and decided
that the boat just didn't have one. So why on Earth does it have a
Anyway, the lowest point in the cabin was covered with carpet and some
wood panels. Underneath the panels there are about 5 or 6 big bolts
that presumably attach the keel. By the way the boat is a Beneteau
First 235. I believe the leak is coming from the bolts. I say this
because three days prior I had gone sailing at low tide. In turn, I
ran aground about 5 times making my way out to the Gulf... These were
very mild incidents, which took only a few minutes for even an amateur
like me to resolve. But I guess they were enough to damage the seal
around the bolts. Is this a sensible theory? I should point out that
the leak is very slow and it definitely is salt water. Whatever the
case, the dockowner and I jury rigged a 500gph bilge pump and float
switch to take care of matters until this weekend. I'd like to find a
way to rig this permanently, but the pump and float switch are too
tall to fit under the floorboard. Any suggestions? Also, the dockowner
said I should attempt to fix this leak by putting some epoxy called
"Marine-Tex" around the offending keel bolt. Does this sound
reasonable? The only other real option I see is taking it to the
boatyard for them to fix. And you know that's going to cost some
money... Assuming they'd have to haul it out and the whole nine yards.
What I'm really looking for here are options on how to proceed from
here. Of course, comments of any kind are welcome, excepting evil
Let me also say that sailing is everything I thought it would be. The
first time my sails filled up was a few weeks ago in about 15 knots of
wind off Clearwater, FL. The boat took off, hitting about four and a
half knots, and I was smiling from ear to ear, absolutely giddy.
Thanks for any help,
I don't think marine-tex is the best way to go on your keel-bolts. If
you can remove the nut and washer (one at a time:^) I'd go with 3M 101
or even 5200 for a temporary patch. I'd get some professional advice
for sure. Once the boat is out of the water you can repair the
keel/hull joint easy enough and tighten the keel-bolts with the weight
of the boat on the keel. Did you also check the cutlass for leaks?
Welcome to sailing, Charlie !
(leaky boat dilemna snipped)
>Also, the dockowner
>said I should attempt to fix this leak by putting some epoxy called
>"Marine-Tex" around the offending keel bolt. Does this sound
Not for a leaky keel bolt seal.
And you know that's going to cost some
>money... Assuming they'd have to haul it out and the whole nine yards.
You are a quick learner, Charlie. The only sailors who never spend serious
money are people who charter, or sail on OPB's.
For a leaky keel, bite the bullet and get the boat hauled and fixed properly.
Anything else is a waste of money, since it will be only a temporary fix,
including the Marine-Tex to stop a leaky keelbolt cure.
Besides, you may uncover other problems or soon-to-be problems while you have
the boat hauled and inspected. Better to fix everything in one haul-out than be
constantly out for repairs, leaving no time for the fun part. Also, get a
depth-meter installed, avoid more groundings, sir.
welcome to the NG,
From the Southern Bay Sailing Club, website:
and the Chesapeake Bay, the best sailing area in the world!
To reply, remove "motion" from this e-mail address.
"Chuck" <hal___...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>I visited my boat at the
>dock and to my shock saw about three inches of water in the cabin...
>Anyway, the lowest point in the cabin was covered with carpet and some
>wood panels. Underneath the panels there are about 5 or 6 big bolts
>that presumably attach the keel. By the way the boat is a Beneteau
>First 235. I believe the leak is coming from the bolts. I say this
>because three days prior I had gone sailing at low tide. In turn, I
>ran aground about 5 times making my way out to the Gulf... These were
>very mild incidents, which took only a few minutes for even an amateur
>like me to resolve. But I guess they were enough to damage the seal
>around the bolts. Is this a sensible theory?
While possible, not very likely. My first suspicion would be the packing gland
on the propellor shaft. Open whatever access you have to the back of the
engine compartment and look at the fitting where the proppellor shaft goes
through the hull and check if it is leaking. This is a continuous maintenence
item requireing semi-frequent adjustment.
It would be nice if you had enought tide in your area (doubt it)to tie up to
a dock over a hard sand bottom and let her go aground on her keel before
you try bedding and tightening the bolts. Still, a tube of 5200 doesn't cost
much (use paint thinner to clean up)and while not the best way to treat the
problem, it will keep you sailing until you've finished making all the
alterations that will eventually require a haul out.
Find out where the water is coming from, stop guessing.
Check to see if the keel bolts are loose.
Plowville Pa. _/)__/)__/)_
Chuck wrote in message ...
DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT put Marine Tex, 5200, chewing gum nor chewing tobacco
on your keel bolts! If that is in fact the source of the leak (possible, but
least likely), covering the bolts from the inside will mask the problem and
"appear" to fix it. If left unattended, you will form what is known as
'crevice corrosion', a condition peculiar to stainless steels, where the
*lack* of oxygen causes corrosion. Eventually (probably long time) your keel
will fall off. Of course, this never happens in shallow water!
That said, before you get all excited about keel bolts, exhaust all other
possibilities. Do you have an inboard engine? How about a rudder stuffing
box? Either case, look at the packing. How about through hulls? if so, they
may need to be re-bedded, or the device they supply may be leaking, or the
If it turns out the keel bolts are the culprit, drop the keel, inspect the
bolts for crevice corrosion (add/ replace as necessary), COMPLETELY re-bed
it in 5200 and TORQUE THOSE BABIES DOWN!!
Good luck and Happy New Year,
Sailing parallels life: It is neither the origin nor the destination that is
important, but rather the journey.
I strongly suggest you haul the boat and look for cracks. You didn't say how
fast you were going, but you said you ran aground about 5 times. That had to
put some serious flex where the keel joins the hull.
Think about the torque produced - the forward part of the keel-hull joint is
ripped down, while the trailing edge is pushed back up in to the boat.
Unfortunately, I am speaking from experience here. While transporting my T-10
across Lake Erie we ran aground hard enough to do just what I described. We
were only going about 6 knots. We hit, skipped up on top of the obstruction,
and kept going like nothing ever happened.
I hauled her, repaired damage fore and aft. Had the yard splash her. She sat
for 4 hours with no leaks. Then, when they stepped the mast, just that
additional amount of compression, weight, whatever, caused a slight trickle.
Another haul out later I found one small crack, about 1/32" wide and 1/4" long
that I missed.