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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.

How a propeller works

Have a look around any boatyard and you will notice quite a variety of propellers – some have two blades, some have three and others have four or more. While most propellers are completely rigid some have blades that fold.

Propeller care and maintenance

Propellers are complicated and repairs should be done by specialists but owners can carry out checks and some routine maintenance themselves when the boat is in the boatyard. A propeller is critical to a boat’s performance, fuel consumption and ride, so it makes sense to keep a propeller in good working order.

Keeping boat records and doing checks

A boat’s records should provide information about maintenance schedules, when major work was done and when equipment was replaced or added to the boat. Without this information you are left guessing when things are likely to need replacing in the future and also what the costs are likely to be.

Sailing to windward – how to take advantage of wind shifts

For most sailors, sailing upwind is the most exhilarating point of sail as you tack your way to your destination. Sailing to windward is a bit like zig-zagging your way up a mountain road through a series of hairpin bends – great fun but also calling for concentration and hard work.

Jester Challenge 2022 – Sailing single handed from Plymouth UK to the Azores: Part 6 – Communications

Jester Challenge – A modern experiment in old-fashioned self-reliance, self sufficiency, and personal responsibility. This is the sixth of a 10-part post where solo sailor, Bernie Branfield, shares his first-hand account of his single-handed, 2022 Jester Challenge, from Plymouth, UK to the Azores, in his 26′ Invicta Mk2, Louisa.

Narrowboating on the Kennet and Avon Canal

A recently cancelled sailing event I was due to take part in left us with a free weekend in the diary. Given that my wife and I were celebrating a bumper wedding anniversary and the weather forecast was for fine weather, we decided to hunt around for a last minute canal holiday.

Jester Challenge 2022 – Sailing single handed from Plymouth UK to the Azores: Part 10 – The Return Trip

Jester Challenge – A modern experiment in old-fashioned self-reliance, self sufficiency, and personal responsibility. This is the final instalment of a 10-part post where solo sailor, Bernie Branfield, shares his first-hand account of his single-handed, 2022 Jester Challenge, from Plymouth, UK to the Azores, in his 26′ Invicta Mk2, Louisa.

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...

Boat engine cooling systems

Some boat engine breakdowns are unavoidable but those caused by lack of maintenance or regular checks can be avoided. Failure to maintain an engine’s cooling system is a well known example of this, so it is well worth spending time checking over the cooling system both when the boat is ashore and afloat.

Marine engine electrical system

The typical basic electrical system associated with a marine engine includes a dedicated engine starting battery, a starter motor, a charger in the form of an alternator, a solenoid and some engine sensors and instruments.

Engine failure at sea – common causes and how to avoid them

Many engine failures are caused by lack of maintenance, resulting in fuel filter blockages, water pump failures, overheating and other breakdowns. Indeed, one of the most common reasons for marine rescue service call outs is for one of the most basic reasons possible – boats that have run out of fuel.

How to operate a winch

Winches are drum shaped mechanical devices used to handle halyards, sheets and control lines. One of the important crew...

The give-way hierarchy at sea – who gives way to whom?

Whatever their size or type, all skippers have a responsibility to avoid collisions with other boats at sea.  It is...

Essential yacht tender safety for skippers and crew

Essential yacht tender safety - the dangers inherent in using a dinghy to get ashore from a moored or anchored yacht are all too easily...

Essential Knots: Bowline

Essential Knots: Bowline Use: Making a secure eye or loop in the end of a rope. Bowlines have many uses on a boat, for example to make a...

Sailing at the touch of a button

Easier and more controlled sail handling can also be achieved by powering up a furling mast. I came across some interesting solutions at the Southampton Boat Show this week on the Selden Mast stand, where they were running demos of their E40i electric winch and SMF furling system.

Boat maintenance log

Keeping a boat maintenance log is an ideal way of reminding owners what needs to be done to a boat and when. Read on for some tips,...

Seacock maintenance

If seacocks are always left open and neglected they can eventually seize which will prove a serious threat to boat safety should a connecting hose fail and the seacock refuses to close. There are three main types of seacock – ball valves, cone valves and gate valves.

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

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

Essential Knots: Clove hitch

Essential Knots: Clove hitch Use: Tying a rope to posts, bollards, rings or a guardrail. Step 1. Make a turn around the object and lay...

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.

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.

Weather forecasting resources and tips

All competent sailors need to have a good basic understanding of how to interpret a weather forecast. They also need to be able to interpret the actual conditions they are experiencing.

Fractures, sprains and dislocations at sea

Moving about a boat at sea often results in a few knocks and bruises, but if a crew member has a fall or major bump and is in serious pain, they should be examined and treated accordingly.

Rig check – how to prevent failure at sea

Regular rig checks prevent the risk of mast and rigging failure at sea. This includes regular rig inspections of the spars, ...