We are three short weeks away from our (hopeful) June 1st departure and we both are wondering how we will make it all happen. On the plus side we are almost done with all the major leak repair work.
One of the major source of leaks on the boat were the port side thru deck fills/hardware. We have three of them for diesel, water and holding tank pump out. They have leaked so bad over the years that they not only rotted out one of the internal bulkheads but also caused the fiberglass tabbing in those locations to pop off the hull. Sometime in March we put a large cooking pot beneath the diesel fill thru-deck to see how much water we would collect in a period of one week. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we collected almost the entire cooking pot which would be about 1 gallon in just over 7 days.
As usual, we were un-pleasantly surprised when we started investigating the situation. The hardware was simply screwed onto the teak with a bit of polysulphide below. We figure water was entering from this interface, as well as getting beneath the teak planks and entering at that interface and finally of course from the soggy core which was wet from the teak deck leaking screw holes. See diagram below of original leak points.
I wanted to remove the crappy small screws into the teak deck and instead thru-bolt the hardware on a new solid fiberglass disk. I brainstormed with Peter the previous owner and he instructed me on how to build the disks by wrapping fiberglass around a PVC pipe. Our “mould” cost us $0.69 and we used car wax as the release agent once the fiberglass had cured. I then cleaned the old teak around the thru-hole so I could bed the new fiberglass disks and epoxied them in place. I also removed the old wood in the core around the hole and filled with thickened epoxy. Finally, I thru-bolted the entire assembly and bed in butyl tape. I have a new-found love for Butyl tape as a bedding compound. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and will last longer than our boat. You can read a great description of why and how to use Butyl tape here. Below is a sketch of the new installation. I have vowed to Saxony I will eat my dirty shorts if these thru-decks leak during our trip!
The disk in place in one of the three thru-decks. These were then epoxied in place.