Weeks of Leaks – Part 1

Old sailboats have leaks.  New sailboats can have leaks too…maybe not the first few months, but eventually leaks will develop even on a brand new boat.

Bottom line…if you got a boat, you got a leak.  The best thing a boat owner can do is reduce the amount of leaks they have.

Our 35 year old boat, Trini has her share.  We knew this when we purchased her.  What we didn’t know is how much work it would take to repair a specific leak we found a few weeks ago. So I will begin with our first naive attempt to repair the leak we found.

The V-berth was damp after it rained.  Upon inspection we found the source of the water in our chain locker located forward of the V-berth.

The leak was coming from several bolts out of the top deck.

roof of chain locker
Roof of chain locker



These bolts secure the bow pulpit, cleats, windlass, padeye, and anchor pad. Over time the bedding compound (it’s like a silicone), wear outs and allows water to seep in.


Bow pad & cleat
Photo of one out of four pulpit pads and one of two cleats
Padeye and windlass
Photo of the padeye (left) and windlass (right)


To get better access to the bolts, Captain Kelly took out all the chain and cleaned out the chain locker.

He needed someone in the locker to hold the bolt nut while he was on the deck taking off the bolt.

To entice me (his adorable boat wife) to help he placed a couple of old blankets into the locker so I would be more comfortable stuffed in the small space.


Chain Locker
Boat Wife happy to be only 5’4″
Captain on deck taking off the bolts to the pulpit pads


On deck there were four pads to take off and clean up.  He scraped off the old bedding compound and dirt.  Then applied new bedding compound.


neighbor 2
Prepping the deck while a pelican watched


A neighbor came by to watch his progress.



This leak repair was quick.  All the bolts came out easily and we were able to get the job done in one afternoon.

A few days later, a day of heavy rain revealed we had correctly sealed the leaks.  Unfortunately, water was still coming into the V-berth.  We found the second source of water.  It was coming from the cap rail.

cap rail
Teak over cap rail


The cap rail is located under a piece of teak wood that lines the whole boat.  There’s 90 feet of teak we need to take up in order to access the cap rail.


cap rail
Under the teak

What is a cap rail?  The cap rail secures the boat’s hull to its deck.  Our cap rail has both rivets and bolts securing it.

I will have more details of our leak repairs in our next post, Weeks of Leaks, Part 2.

Until then may you have Fair Winds!


cap rail
A small section of the teak & cap rail