Wooden Enterprise leak solving advice?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Smeeagain, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Smeeagain
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: Lee on the Solent

    Smeeagain New Member

    Hi

    I'm new to the forum - I learned to sail RYA level 2 two years ago. I bought an old wooden enterprise from our sailing club. I stripped off the old flaking wooden paint, sanded it down, filled a couple of minor scrapes etc, then sanded, primed, undercoat (x 2) then gloss (x2).
    Every time It goes afloat I have water coming on - not around the centre board or transom but from random places

    It has been suggested elsewhere that I should submerge the boat for 48 hours to allow the wood to bulk up a bit. However others have suggested that as it is marine ply and not clinker built this will not work

    Other again suggested filling it with water whilst on the trailer to see where the water is coming out of (rather than where it gets in)

    then I discovered this forum - can anyone offer any tips advice suggestions please?

    Thanks
    Robert
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Do not fill the boat with water. The pressure of the water will damage the hull. Plywood, and the wooden structure will swell and "take up" a bit. However, older boats sometimes have loose or damage fasteners, glue or faying that deteriorated and/or rotted wood. This is something that an inspection by a boat carpenter or surveyor would discover. There should be a fair amount of knowledgeable repair people in your area.
     
  3. Smeeagain
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Smeeagain New Member

    Thanks for the quick reply. JUst to clarify when you say do not fill with water, presumably you mean not filling it with water on dry land as opposed to filling it with water submerged ?
    Thanks
    Smee
     
  4. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    I am moderately familiar with Enterprises both timber and GRP/FRP. What age is your Ent? Do you know who built her and what glue they used? The latter is particularly important.

    Check the bottom ply panel it should be a 5 ply, older ones have a weaker 3 ply which tends to be a bit soft. In fact the two other panels and deck should all be 5 ply on a good one. In the last couple of years I have repaired a 50s' amateur built one which is more sound than a 70s' one because it was built with a superior adhesive. The latter I could peel every joint in 20 minutes with a chisel - the glue has given up.

    Usual leak points on very old Ents are board case, because the case is siliconed to hog, c/board pin and rubbers rotten/perished. Self Bailer is another leak point too. Decks tend to go around the shroud points, not a very good design at this point. Worth a feel inside the centreboard case underneath ie inside the slot gasket - How solid is the timber there?. Also how good is the slot gasket as with an open case (on top) a poor gasket will allow a lot of water to slop in.

    GRP ones tend to have rotten timber under the glass even though the glass is sound. I've just cut almost all new timber cores for one, including king plank (under mast support) so that one will be better than new soon.

    Sorting the case leak to hog is a tedious business as it means removing thwart, side bench etc. Poxy design, which should have been let into the hog rather than resting on it. Nothing to stop a new box doing exactly that, it is easier and stronger with much less end grain showing.

    If she is leaking at the plank joints I would suspect the adhesive is Cascamite which is a slightly milky cream colour and it eventually gets saturated and lets go. The only long term solution is to take the joints apart and re-glue them. Not worth doing exept oneself, and only if the timber is in very good condition. Cheaper commercially to build a new one.

    Local points can however be treated individually if the glue is still primarily sound. Watch out for pins or screws which may or may not have been left in when built. Newer ones will have far fewer of these but really old ones have loads of brass pins as my chisels can attest...;)

    Keep the boat as dry as possible, no water swelling is going to cure it and it will make it harder to get the moisture out for repair. Paints and varnishes for these old Ents should be Marine one pack polyurethane unless you know with certainty the substrate finish.
     
  5. Smeeagain
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Smeeagain New Member

    Thanks for the reply. I believe the boat is a 1970's one but Im not 100% - I'm simply going on hearsay within the club as I have no history on the boat and subsequently I don't know what type of glue was used
    Smee
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Yes, I meant don't fill it with water while on the trailer. A solution to leaky joints on plywood boats is to tape the seams with fiberglass/epoxy.
     
  7. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum. good advise above. most all wood boats have a slight amount of seepage. Presuming it is not stored in the water, and it is not much, just ignore it and dry it out after each use. When it gets bad enough after a few more years of use, than do a major tear down/repair and get all of the issues at the same time.

    I have owned a number of wood boats, some bought, some home made, and often there will be a small amount of seepage that I just live with until I am ready to rebuild it.

    I bought an old wood canoe at a garage sale once for $20, I took it out on a local lake during a picnic when our kids were little. My wife paniced at seeing moisture in the bottom and did not want me to take the kids out in it (we were just paddling around near shore on a warm day, and everyone had PFDs on). she complained that boats should not leak. I told her that all boats leak to one level or another, and are therefore all in the process of sinking, eventually all boats if left in the water long enough unattended would end up sinking, it is just a matter of how long. And that we were not anywhere near that point since I can wipe it up and squeeze it out overboard easy enough every few hours. I did not want to rebuild the canoe, though it has some nice workmanship, so I sold it to wood worker to restore at a nice profit. and that had the effect of silencing the complaints from the wife too.
     
  8. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Thanks Gonzo and Petros. There is one other spot that can cause a lot of problems on old Ents. The bottom of the bow tank, and I am assuming this has the inbuilt one not a buoyancy bag like the really old ones. Rig tension over the years tends to force the bottom plank apart from the bulkhead. It is builder dependent, but lots of these boats were not designed to take 300lb (135Kg) + of shroud tension. The newer boats can take this and of course the sails are cut for it too. Rebracing under the deck to the shroud points can help eliminate most of this stress.

    Biggest restriction on upwind speed is the measurement on the jib fairlead from centreline. Almost every other class can point higher as they have moved this a lot inboard, mostly 1.5 - 2 degrees or more. Some of the best shape Ent hulls from the70s' are still competitive as far as I know, with a modern rig.

    Like Gonzo says, the drier the better, especially for repairs. In fact the epoxy solution (mostly likely the most expedient) will simply not bond properly unless it is really dry. If you examine the hull really closely you will probably find the leak points. When you rubbed her down to bare wood, these should have been more obvious, so start at those spots. BTW just putting a hair dryer on for a few hours will not dry her enough. With the crap wet weather we are having (south UK), you may need a month of dry weather in the spring to really get it dry enough. The other adhesive to use is Aerolite 306 (2 part urea formaldehyde) but you need clean faces ie not full of old glue flakes. It is more moisture tolerant than epoxy, but joints need to be tight. I use it for patching smashed ply panels and solid timber ie scarfed gunwhale repairs.

    If like Petros and his canoe, only a few spongefuls, I'd wait till it gets warmer before giving her the once over. See if you can find a buider to look her over. Maybe John Claridge over in Lymington? or Chris Somner over in Poole?
    I'd look her over if you want as I'm up near Hindhead, and there is Guildford Marine too in Old Woking.
     
  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Place the boat on the trailer, fill a 5 gallon bucket with water, add a good bit of food coloring and dump this in the boat. Rock the boat aft, so you can check the transom frame and chine joints aft, then rock her forward to check the stem seams. The colored water will find the same path out as it does getting in, making leak finding a tad bit easier.
     
  10. Smeeagain
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: Lee on the Solent

    Smeeagain New Member

    Thanks to everyone for their replies. I did consider that perhaps some leakage was normal, but being an inexperienced sailor I didn't know what was/wasn't an acceptable level of incoming water. So I've decided to wait until the weather is warmer, take an experienced sailor with me (its no great fun sailing an Enterprise an on your own anyway), and we will go out , while there is a safety bta around from the club just incase - I dont fancy sinking mid Solent!
     
  11. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    I tend to find most leaks either visually when on shore or by putting the boat in dry condition ie dry sunny day, into a small lake. Instant inspection usually shows the culprit area. If it is the side plank joints, generally heeling her over by pulling the shrouds from a jetty will submerge them enough. If she is dry inside any tell tale runs of water can be followed to the root. Launching into the sea at Stokes Bay or wherever will not allow you to do this test properly, unless uncharacteristically calm!.

    PAR's coloured water works well too, I've used it on 'mysterious' FRP tank leaks where even pressure testing can't find the fault.

    My money is still on something to do with the case/bolt, or beginnings of total glue failure. Hopefully not the latter.
     

  12. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If memory serves me, the case is bedded and these tend to work loose in time, often not many years if raced, before the case needs to be rebedded. If it's been 'glassed, someone skipped the right way and now you have to undo what they did. The stems on these where also troublesome, again if memory serves.

    The boat could be taped, but without encapsulation, you eventually have issues with this approach, so I wouldn't recommend it, unless you just want a few more years for the old gal.

    I disagree in that wooden boats just have to leak. I've been involved hundreds of builds, restorations and repairs and if the boat is built and cared for right, they don't have to leak. I have a molded runabout I built in '88 and it doesn't leak. It's been used extensively and until recently seen nearly continuous bashing from one of the several outboards it's worn. I can say the same of countless many others, that were built properly and given reasonable care.
     
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