Select Page

If you suspect a hull-to-deck joint has failed, then being absolutely sure where the actual leak is occurring is of prime importance. Areas to check are near the deck fittings, where the decks may be put under considerable stress by the rigging and the continued flexing of the hull. Another area to check is where mooring cleats have been subjected to excessive strain or when a boat has been left tied alongside with insufficient fenders in place.

Hull-to-deck joints are designed not to come apart, so they are permanently bonded, often covered up and some are even glassed in. This can make repairing them very challenging:

  • Getting access – hull-to-deck joints are usually fastened with bolts from above and nuts below. Others are fastened by screws and others by rivets. Getting access to the underside of the fastenings usually entails stripping away the headlinings or panels. So the first thing to do is check what type of fastenings you have on your boat and then work out how you are going to get access to them and remove them.
  • Loosen the rigging – before you begin to unfasten things, it is a good idea to slacken off the rigging to ease the tension acting along the length of the joint.
  • Removing the rail – back on the outside, it is common for the joint to be protected by a rubber fender or toerail, which may be constructed either from aluminium or wood. The rail invariably needs to be removed first. Metal rails might be bolted, screwed or riveted. Wooden rails will be bolted or screwed.
  • With the rail removed – closely examine the joint and get a better idea of where the problem lies. It might be that there are only a few places where leaks are occurring, meaning that a localised repair is all that is required. A thorough inspection at this stage will help you decide.

  • Unfasten the joint – remove the fasteners holding the joint in place around where the problem lies. The reason for this is that you need to open up the joint in order to apply new sealant for the repair. Alternatively you may choose to re-bond the entire length.
  • Remove the old bedding compound – before new sealant can be added, all the old bedding compound must be removed, using a reefing iron or similar to scrape out the old material. Use wedges to separate out the joint flanges enough to get access for the repair.
  • Fill the joint with new sealant – with the old joint cleaned out as well as possible, fill the joint with polyurethane sealant, ensuring there is sufficient to reach well into the joint beyond the fastening holes. Once the sealant has been applied then remove any wedges and where possible clamp the joint to ensure there will be a good seal along its length.
  • Re-fasten the flange – re-fasten the flange with through-bolt fittings if possible , but if not use self-tapping stainless steel screws. Apply extra sealant beneath the heads of the bolts or screws, but leave the nuts beneath clear of sealant to make it easier for the joint to be undone in the future. Clean up any excess sealant before it cures.
  • Re-fasten the rail – re-fasten the rail, bedding it with polyurethane sealant and bolts or screws. Re-attach the fender strip if there is one.

Top 5 Reasons Why an Inflatable SUP Should Be Your Next Yacht Accessory

In this article, inflatable paddle board expert Jason Paul gives the top 5 reasons why an inflatable SUP should be your next...

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

Yachting Safety Briefing   Down below Lifejackets and harnesses - fitting, when to wear, clipping on Gas - risks,...

Boatyard Health and Safety

Boat storage facilities are potentially hazardous environments and it is the responsibility of both boat owners and boatyards to ensure that the...

Sending distress signals

In an emergency situation at sea, it is a top priority is to know how to send and receive emergency radio calls and alert others of your predicament. Likewise, if you receive a distress signal, you must be ready to go to the help of others.

Safety Briefings – leave nothing to chance

Before giving your crew a safety briefing, it is worth considering the specific circumstances of the planned trip, the...

Keel maintenance and repair – Part 1

Keels are designed to act as underwater foils that generate lift as the boat moves through the water, counteracting the leeward force of the wind and enabling the boat to sail closer to the wind. Keel maintenance and repair is essential for the performance of your boat.

Getting a tow for your sail or power boat at sea or on inland waterways

FREE tips from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone/iPad/Android: Getting a tow for your sail or power boat Plan how to secure a...

Marine engine oil system maintenance

The regular maintenance of a marine diesel is key to preventing engine failure at sea. This means doing regular checks of the fuel, cooling, electrical and oil systems.

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats   Liferaft line attached The liferaft will not work unless the trigger line is...

The VHF DSC Radio jargon buster

AIS - Automatic Identification System This system is used by shipping. It allows another vessel or coast station to use...

Engine failure at sea – keeping the boat safe

If the engine stops when you are underway, or your have to shut it down when a warning buzzer sounds, you also need to make sure the boat remains safe. It’s important therefore to recognise situations in which the boat would be immediately put in danger if the engine were to fail.

What boating skills should you have before you buy a yacht?

Many people dream of owning a yacht and sailing off into the blue yonder. What boating skills should you have before you buy...

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps Make Learning Rules on iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android...

Marine diesel exhaust checks

You should inspect the exhaust system for corrosion damage regularly, especially around the injection bend. If you have noticed the engine exhaust smoking a lot during the sailing season this can also indicate a number of potential problems.

Liferafts

Liferafts should be stowed where they are ready for immediate launching. All crew should know the location of the liferaft and know how to launch, inflate and board it. They should also know what equipment it contains.

Distress flares – which flare, how & when to use?

How to use distress flares at sea Flares should be kept in a waterproof container in an easily accessible location such as a...

Wooden Hulls – Part 2

It is important to ensure the essential hull maintenance of a wooden boat is done, even if you are paying others to look after your boat for you. The priority is to prevent rot from taking hold. The protective layers of paint and varnish over wood are far more critical than on GRP boats, where the topsides are painted more for cosmetic reasons.

Repairing chips and dings in gelcoat

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

Seasickness – how can you prevent it?

Seasickness is a common problem at sea and affects both seasoned sailors and novices. What are the causes and symptoms of seasickness?...

Sailing Boat Rig Care

The rig of a sailing boat is put under huge stresses and strains so it is important for inspections of a yacht’s spars and rigging to be carried out at regular intervals.

Essential Knots: Reef knot

Essential Knots: Reef knot Use: Tying two ends of rope together, often used for tying up a bundle of loose sail around the boom. Step...

You Need To Understand The IRPCS ColRegs To Pass Your Yachtmaster, Master of Yachts and Coxswain Certificate of Competence

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster Learning, understanding and remembering the International Regulations...

Understanding tides

If you are used to sailing in tidal waters, you will know that tides can be both a benefit and a hindrance to the sailor. In many ways,...

A five day sailing cruise of the Solent, UK

Welcome to our virtual Solent sailing cruise – a five day sail in the south of England from Bosham Quay in Chichester...

Passage Planning Advice & Safety for skippers

Passage planning helps you to: • Decide where to go • Calculate how long it will take to get there • Avoid bad weather •...