Baggy Wrinkles

Baggy Wrinkles
S/V Nautica, Hull #614, Built at Whitby Boatworks Ltd., Ontario, Canada 1977, one of the most recognizeable Carl Alberg designs. A masthead sloop displacing 9000 lbs, keel hull, Yanmar 15 hp diesel, LOA 30.27 Beam 8.75, Draft 4.29, roller furling headsail, tiller, berths for 4, interior teak bulkheads, teak cap rail and cockpit teak coamings, 12 volt lighting, aluminum mast support, Harken self tailing winches, in its day was designed for customers as a Cruiser-Racer, the Alberg 30 remains a Classic design of the large Alberg inventory.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Getting one thing done after another.  So I'm making progress!

Since Hurricane Hermine and the persistent rain it gave us a couple of weeks back, I've been on a detective mission to seal off "presenting" areas of a possible slow leak on my port side.  

Aside from the torrent of helpful conversations with many smart skippers on the Alberg 30 site (http://www.alberg30.org/) , with specific reference to deck core replacement, I chose to probe some of the more obvious areas where I knew water probably entered.  Besides, tearing up my deck right now is beyond the scope of my initial splash efforts.  Putting on my detective hat, I was able to deduce where previous owners had already chased some problems and this gave me additional motivation to look and see what had been or not been done to stop the "apparent" places where water had entered.  Not much water, but slow leaks that had saturated one section, the port quarter near the ice-box, was wet when the Berg arrived in July.  The photo here is an example of the destruction of water over a long period of time.
If you see what looks like mulch in the bottom of this cabinetry, you're correct.  All of the cabinetry was soaking wet here, without even the semblance of its original shape or form.  The parts still attached I salvaged to some extent but decided to clean this out, sand, and repaint with Brightsides while awaiting its entrance on my work agenda.

That first week I probed this area and tore out the wood shelving which was wet to the touch and crumbled in my fingers.  Underneath, near one of the escape routes in the liner (for water to run to the bilge) I found wood which had not been dry for many years.  I removed everything, cleaned things up and painted with Brightsides (remember reading this here?), to enable me to get an easy view of new streaks of water, trails of debris, etc. 
The same area as the previous photo except where the shelving attaches to the cabinetry the water ran to the fiberglassing on the bottom of photo, rotted the wood (now removed) and then exited for the bilge (the small dark hole in the center bottom of photo. 

Here, with cabinetry removed sunlight comes through a chainplate backing plate which obviously had had a lot of water entering the inside.  Long term, I think I will remove and repair these all and re-attach with sealant.
While the stanchion just outside the salon on the port side was a leak suspect, re-bedding it perhaps helped but did not finish the job of stopping the leak.  So, the other day, I rather begrudgingly set to work on removing the genoa track.  I had taken the time just after the rains ended to get below decks and look for obvious droplets.  I found several on through-bolts entering via the genoa track.  

Well, the easy answer did not meet me well, the thought of removing that genoa track brought to mind several challenges,  "Could I get it to re-seat as well as it is now? or Would I run into a problem extracting these bolts? and What if I tear into a perfectly good thing and disrupt something that is working?  Perhaps my hunches and detective work are wrong?"

Naysaying my conscience aside, into the fray I jumped.  I was rather startled at what I found.  
A half dozen of the bolts, here marked by an arrow from when I observed droplets of water hanging from them after the storm, were neither tight nor showed any signs of significant sealant.  The white in this photo is from the Brightsides I applied, not sealant from a previous period.

Each bolt, seen in this close-up, had the same feature, clean threads (again the white is paint I applied inside) and a chalking residue underneath the head from "originally" installation in 1977, two years after I graduated from college.  I was 24 then and am 63 now.  Who would have figured we'd meet this way?
Look closely at the hole in the teak and the white corrosion left by the aluminum track which was on top of it.  Water and time have had their play with these 20 holes on the port side.  Why the port and not the starboard?  Perhaps this side was weaker and perhaps the other side is leaking yet I don't know of it yet.
Outside I pulled the genoa track off and discovered these lovely florets of 40 year old adhesive


This interesting close-up is to illustrate the design of the hull which has a lip into which the teak cap rail sets, deliberately designed to keep water from washing straight into this area of joinery.
As I pulled the track off and then lifted the cap rail, I found no evidence of wet teak, but I did find plenty of places where water could enter freely.  It must have run through the spaces and into the hull as it managed whether when sitting on its trailer in weather or while it was on a starboard reach underway and water may have lapped over it during sailing.  You can see the dirty blackish residue of water which had stood underneath the teak cap rail. 

Once apart, I left the florets in place, and cleaned the genoa track of its bulky residues of varnish and underneath of its oxidation.  I would then caulk sealant ( not using 4200 ) under the genny track and under the cap rail.  One long continuous and generous trail so that water would be forbidden at a variety of angles.  It may not be perfect but I think this gets at the first problem quickly.

Pretty huh?  Bolts without sealant permitted water to seep in from genoa track to cap rail to hull seam into the cabinetry. 
This view shows the battle scars of previous attempts to varnish and seal.  It is not a perfect solution, but after cleaning off the exterior sealant I think I've provided a wall of defense.  

As a note, the bonding rivets looked absolutely fine underneath this section of cap rail.  The bolts however were loose and dry, and easily permitted rain to soak them and formed a leaky entry to the salon.  This is how I am approaching this problem at this time.  Will have to wait for some more rain to see if this helps stop the problem.