Author Topic: Something else a new boater doesn't know : mooring lines and leak sealing!  (Read 10899 times)

Stuart Kimber

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I'm needing to re-equip John Nelson's old boat including getting new mooring lines.
And I realise I don't know how long these should be! And do I need 2 or 4?

And what does anyone recommend for sealing a bit of a leak around where the tow bar joins the hull? John had fitted a new chassis piece connecting axle to tow bar and I think the bolt holes may be leaking. Is there something I can use to seal it from inside? Do other Caraboaters put up with a bit of leakage and just bilge pump it out regularly?

Thanks!

First time due on the water 27th June on the Chelmer Navigation, then three weeks holiday on the Stratford-on-Avon and the Worcester & Birmingham from July 6th. So I need to be ready soon! Can't wait.

Regards.

STUART KIMBER
« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 01:56:02 PM by Stuart Kimber »

Tom Bradley1

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Stuart,

I used to use 4 short lines about 15' each & 2 long lines about 30' for going through deep locks, twice the depth plus a bit.

I remember leaks, I wrote a hole page on it on my website.
Polyurethane sealant is excellent stuff probably cheapest from car body repair shops, Tigger brand. If you get it on your hands it will be there for a week.
I made the mistake of inserting the bolt liberally coated with mastic & then rotated the bolts. It worked better when I held the bolts still & tightened the nuts.
I had a very small crack in the hull at the very sharp corner by the plate on the end of the chasis & took out the chasis to fix it with resin fibre.

http://www.geocities.com/Littlesue2323/leaks.html

Tom Bradley

Stuart Kimber

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Thanks for those helpful comments Tom.

I think my towbar bolts are sealed now. They were loose! I've now tightened them (from the outside mind you) and with water inside the front of the hull covering the nuts there's no dripping on the outside. Additionally, I've smothered the outside of the bolts with silicon sealant. It looks as though John had used thick grease! Does this sound to you as though the problem's solved?

My main problem is leakage right at the lowest point of the hull at the rear where it has had a tendency to scrape the ground. I've fibreglassed the outside on that corner and a little way along the bottom surface, but I'm still getting dripping from the edge of the patch when I fill the inside with water. There's evidence of old silicon or some other sealant on the outside of the boat around that region. Once I've put another patch on it, will silicon sealant last well enough for the week or two at a time Caraboats spend in the water?

Do other Caraboaters have completely dry boats or does the bilge pump usually have to do duty?

Any advice?
STUART

Tom Bradley1

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Stuart,

Going by my experiences I doubt you have fixed the leaks, I had about about 6 goes but the hull was totally leak free in the end.

The quality of silicone varies, marine grade is definitely best & lasts reasonably well when the tube is opened but polyurethane is still the best but doesn't last long once opened.
I would recommend Gramos bridge-a-gap glass fibre bridging compound to repair your leak at the back.
 It is resin & glass ready mixed & applied like a paste. My tin is probably 10 years old so don't know if it is still available but assume something similar is available.  It came from a car body repair supply shop.   
 I would recommend repairing it from the inside & pressure wash the area first to get a good bond but that depends on how good your access is.

Tom

Stuart Kimber

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Dear Tom,
Thanks again.
I had the Caraboat in the water for the day on Saturday. It was great!
But it DID leak around the bolts at the front. Only a little, but I think too much. As I tilted the boat to get it out, water flowed to the back and I discovered my bilge pump works excellently!!

I think I'm going to do as you suggested and remove each bolt one at a time, polyurethane it in, tightening it from the inside, and also put two rubber washers, one between bolt head and metal washer and one between metal washer and towbar frame. Then I'll smother the outside with silican sealant. Do you think the rubber washers will help?

It's very useful being able to bounce this off someone who's already wrestled with this one!

Regards
STUART

Tom Bradley1

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Stuart,

Did you actually see the water coming through the bolt area?
I had water coming through the lighting socket when the bow wave went up to the socket when heavily loaded. That was the only time I took on enough water for the bilge pump to run.
I moved the socket up & tried to seal the cable entry just in case.

I don't think the rubber washer will help.
If any water passes between the fibreglass & the bolt it will easily find a way between the fibreglass & the front of the chassis.
I applied sealant on the end of the chassis to stop that but doubt you want to remove the chassis.
The rubber washers would allow the hitch to flex during towing which might damage the seal between the fibreglass & the bolt.

Tom


Stuart Kimber

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Good advice there, Tom. Thank you.

Yes, I did see water entering in the bolt hole area. Looking through the narrow panel below the front patio doors I could see a very slow drip and a tiny rivulet from under the bottom surface of the upward-facing part of the internal bracket. I'm sure the leak must be here because a couple of weeks ago I discovered that three of the four lower, upward-facing bolts were actually loose and needed considerable tightening. I think John Nelson can't have quite finished the installation of the new internal chassis member when he ceased work on it, but I was not aware of that. The four higher, downward-facing bolts are all tight and the top two of these have internal nuts that have now been sealed over from just above floor level within the front well deck - the filler there is very clear and remains unpainted. I shan't be touching those two - I'll just smother them with polyurethane on the outside.

Fortunately, my lighting socket is well above the water level even when moving with a bow wave, so I'm pretty sure that's OK. I was on the water for 10 hours on Saturday and although I could see that water came in quicker with three on board than one, and could be seen coming in whilst under way, water only built up in the front area of the hull and didn't get deep enough to flow back into the rear where the bilge pump is. I'm sure if I'd spent a lot of time fully loaded and underway it would have got to that point more quickly. Since I'm planning three weeks on the water, I think it all needs fully sealing if possible.

I'm sure you're right about the rubber washers. I'll leave them out.

My rear leak repair held excellently throughout the day having been liberally coated with epoxy resin, Unfortunately, I must have knocked the bottom of the boat again on the way back home and chipped off some of the repair. A very small drip from inside has returned! Blast. I'm going to re-seal that and probably have a professional job done on it for next season.

Once again, thanks a lot

STUART

Tom Bradley1

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Stuart,

If a nut were cross drilled & threaded to take a grease nipple & the main thread slightly undercut on one face. A groove could be milled from the undercut to the end if the grease nipple. The modified nut could replace
an existing nut & a grease gun filled with mastic could force sealant around the bolt & into any gaps between the plates. The normal nut could then be replaced.   The top 2 nuts could be tricky as the bolts would need to be withdrawn a little.
I have a lathe & a mill so could let you have a modify nut. Would you like to try it?

Tom

Stuart Kimber

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Dear Tom,
This sounds an ingenious idea!
I spent the whole of yesterday, with my wife, carefully removing and replacing each bolt in the way you suggested, with a generous smothering of sealant. Then we coated the nuts and bolt heads with it too! I'm into the water with it now on Tuesday. So I'll see how we've done!
If this doesn't turn out to be a good enough job I'll get back to you about the modified nut idea.

But I hope my job will at least hold up for the season.

regards STUART

Tom Bradley1

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Stuart,

Have you fixed the leaks?

Tom

Stuart Kimber

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Hi Tom,

Yes the leaks are fixed! We've just spent a total of three weeks on the Worcester & Birmingham and then the Taunton & Bridgewater canals and the leaks at the tow bar end are gone. Also had no problems from my somewhat crude repair of the small leak right at the back of the boat at the lowest part of the hull where it tends to hit the ground when being towed or moved around.
Mind you, we had a little bit of trouble with the well-deck. The drain tended to block up a bit and when it really rained heavily during one night the deck filled up and overflowed into the cabin through the front glass doors. I think, though, that that might have been because the boat was listing slightly away from the drain hole side and since the level of the well-deck floor is pretty well water level and the drain hole actually emerges below water level, it just couldn't drain away. Still, it wasn't much of a problem.

Thanks for asking!
Regards.
STUART

Tom Bradley1

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Stuart,

Glad to hear you have fixed the leaks.

I also had a problem with the well. When the door was fitted they had cut deeper than required. After glassing round the well it would take a couple of inches before overflowing. I also replaced the non return valve & supported the pipe better to reduce the chance of blockages starting & made grilles to fit into the deck fittings.
http://www.geocities.com/Littlesue2323/leaks.html

Tom

neil m

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Hi Stuart,
Just a note on the well deck, John Nelson told me his boat was a mark one, which he thought had a lower well deck than the later boats, he told me he sometimes fitted a plug in the drain hole as water would come up through it when the boat was loaded, so maybe the non return valve has gone, it has on mine but we havn't had the same problem. John told me his was the only mark one boat he knew of and concluded it might be the only one. I met a previous caraboat owner at grantham, last year, he showed me some pics of his old boat which had sank when water froze in the non return valve one winter and burst it open, so that could be something for owners to bear in mind if afloat during the winter, though i think most of us are ashore then.
how did you go on on the Bridgwater and Taunton for launching and the low bridges?.
Glad to see you are enjoying yor boat, have you chosen a name yet?
bye for now,
neil m

Stuart Kimber

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Dear Neil,

Thanks for these thoughts about the well deck. I'm also intrigued to think that mine might be the only Mark 1 boat left!

With regard to the non-return valve, I'll have to have a look to see if there is one in there at all. I took one of those flexible wire things you used to hang net curtains on to stick down the drain hole to clear it. I could pass the wire through from the outside to the inside but not vice-versa - if it's a simple non-return valve that might suggest it's in the wrong way around! This obviously needs investigation.

The Taunton & Bridgewater Canal was wonderfully quiet and peaceful. Apart from Sunday afternoon, I'm told we were the only boat moving on the whole canal! Two British Waterways blokes kept turning up and helping us with locks and all sorts of things. Felt like a very personal service! Sadly, Kings Lock, half way long the Canal had been vandalized and wouldn't open, so we had to stay at the Taunton end - not before I'd broken my windlass on Kings Lock. It was still a great holiday - apart from the moment the water came in through the patio doors during the night!!

Regarding the low bridges, I think Nicholson's may be out of date or something because although we didn't go under the listed low bridges, the folks we spoke to didn't think we'd have a height problem. Certainly, some of the Swing Bridges marked weren't Swing Bridges any more. We'll do this Canal again another year when we can get at all of it.

Kind regards
STUART

PS We won't be going out in freezing conditions........

Stuart Kimber

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Neil,

Forgot to mention :

Decided to call the boat The African Queen! Hope to have decals made of posters from the film to put on the side. Watch this space....

STUART