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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Sansbury

Locating the Leak

Boat work continued this weekend, and I’m happy to say that we located the source of the leak and successfully fixed it.  Turns out we had a slow drip in a hose that carries fresh water from our 100 gallon water tank to the starboard side of the boat.  From the amount of mold growing in and around the hose, it looks like it had been happening for quite some time. It looked like a petri dish under there. The ick factor was thru the roof.

First, we removed the piece of wood that separated the two compartments under our settee.  The water from the drip had been hugging the bottom of the wood divider and the bottom of the board was rotten.  We couldn’t really figure out what use it had anyway, so we figured getting rid of is wouldn’t be a big deal. As soon as we got that out, we broke out the latex gloves and water/vinegar solution – vinegar, as it turns out, is an EXCELLENT non-toxic, all natural way to get rid of mold and bacteria – and got after it.  Matt replaced the hose by cutting out and replacing the damaged section, making sure that all of the fittings were nice and tight to avoid any future leaks.  After he was done, I scrubbed every inch of that locker, making sure that not one spore remained to repopulate future mold colonies.

After it was all clean and non-toxic, we moved to the real test – drilling a hole in the remaining subfloor to see if the water has soaked down thru the fiberglass.  We had to be super careful doing this… Too much and you could potentially drill right thru the bottom of the boat to the other side,  Talk about pressure!  Thankfully, the fiberglass subfloor under the main section was dry as a bone.  Yes!! We nearly did a happy dance right then and there.

Don’t worry about the hole – we’ll fill it back in with epoxy and it’ll be good as new.  Then we took a sample of the floor inside the locker where the leak was.  Guess what we found?  Rot.  Ruh-Roh. Not good.  The more Matt drilled, the more it just melted away.  We knew right then and there that we had issues.  BIG issues.  We had no clue how much of the floor was compromised, but it wasn’t looking good.  To make matters worse, if the rot goes too far we may need to unstep the mast in order to get to all of the rot. Good lord.

Matt consulted some professionals, and they said that it may dry out on it’s own.  They also said to squirt acetone over the rot because it helps to evaporate the moisture. Who knew an alternate use for nail polish remover would be to dry out fiberglass rot?  We’re learning new things every day! So now we’re doing the waiting game to see if it helps or not. It seems to be isolated, so fingers crossed it won’t be a big deal.  However we need to remove one of the freezer compressors in order to cut all of the rot out which Matt did not want to get into this weekend.

Heck, I’m just proud of us for fixing the leak!  In hindsight, it’s amazing all of the things we’ve fixed on the boat with very little knowledge beforehand.  You just sort of figure it out as you go.  As a reward for our hard work and to celebrate small victories, we finally broke down and bought a TV.  It’s been nearly 3 months and we really didn’t miss it.  Until football started.  We’ve been hitting local bars to find a good place to watch the games, but we really haven’t been feeling any of them. We can’t even hear what’s going on and by the time the check comes, we spent enough to nearly pay for a small TV.  So we wised up and caved in and bought a tiny 20" TV.  

And it has been GLORIOUS!

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