Weeks of Leaks – Part 2

In last week’s post, Weeks of Leaks-Part 1, we thought we had fixed the leak in our forward stateroom to discover we still had a leak in another spot when it rained.  The leak was coming from the cap rail of our boat.

To remedy this leak issue, the cap rail needed to come off.  There is over 90 feet of cap rail on this boat.  The cap rail material consists of teak wood.  Let me clarify. 35 year old teak.

The wood’s condition is in poor shape and for many years had lacked a proper coat of varnish to protect it from the elements.  Also the years of sanding and varnishing have left this wood thin.

cap rail
Aged Teak Wood


The best solution would be to replace the rail.  But it would cost thousands of dollars for professionals to purchase and fit the wood to our boat.

After much consideration we decided the next best solution, a budget friendly solution, was to strengthen the wood with epoxy.  Then decide between varnishing the wood or painting it.

Varnishing the wood has it’s pros and cons.

  • Varnish Pros – Protects the epoxy and wood from weather & shows the beautiful  honey colored finish of teak.
  • Varnish Cons- Even with several layers of varnish, a coat or two of varnish would need to be reapplied yearly.  Too much work.

Painting the wood also has pros and cons

  • Painting Pros – Once applied the paint should last several years and may only need to be touched up in spots.
  • Painting Cons – It’s a shame to cover pretty wood with paint and doesn’t look as nice as varnish.

This was our dilemma.  To choose between paint and varnish was a topic of conversation for several days (thrilling I know).

When we come across these sorts of boat-altering decisions, we take our time and just start with the first step.  Which was to take off without breaking it.

We decided to take up the wood in sections and took off the two teak planks on the port and starboard side of the bow and then two more planks on the port side of the boat, which meant we also had to take off the sail-track attached to the rail.

Sail Track Attached to Teak Wood/Cap Rail
Metal sail-track on teak wood cap rail


Taking off the sail track wasn’t an easy task. The track is through-bolted to the deck of the boat.  To access the nuts on the bolts we had to take apart cabinetry inside the cabin.  The pictures below should give a better idea of what we did.

Cabinets inside boat
Cabinets inside boat


Removed cabinets to access sail-track nuts
Removed cabinets to access sail-track nuts


After the teak wood was carefully pried off by the Captain, he then mixed up a solution of epoxy to seal up the rivets and bolts on the cap rail.  Over the course of the next few days, he sanded the top and bottom of the teak which took off the old sealant, cleaned the teak with Teak Brightener and let it dry.  (I have a very industrious Captain)

Prepped for epoxy

I then applied epoxy to the wood.  This also took several days since we needed sunny warm weather for the epoxy to set up.

Applying epoxy
Applying epoxy


The epoxy strengthened the teak.  We still hadn’t decided to varnish or paint the wood.  But first the teak needed to be lightly sanded.   We finally decided to paint them.


Applying epoxy
Rolling on Paint


Followed the rolled on paint with a dry tip
Followed the rolled on paint with a dry tip


The paint dried and needs a second coat, which we will apply after we put the board back on the boat.

So back on the boat!

In order for the teak to adhere to the cap rail, we put adhesive sealant on the boat and the wood.

Adhesive on boat’s cap rail
Adhesive on teak wood


Once the teak wood was on, we had to put on the sail-track.


Putting on the sail-track
Putting on the sail-track


Okay, are you still with me?   Now that the track was on, we had to address the screw holes in the teak.  They needed to be plugged up.



The holes needed to be sealed to prevent future leaks


We used Six 10.  An epoxy that mixes within the blue tip.  It provided more control in applying the epoxy in these small wholes.



We had to stop after the plugs were applied due to rain.  But we have good news.  We had no leaks in the forward cabin.  The sweat equity paid off.

However, we are not done.  A second coat of paint is needed.  So the next warm day we should be finished….that is on this part of the boat.  We need to tackle the starboard side and it’s sail-track.

See ya next week!