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dejavu's picture
dejavu
Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 11/6/08
Posts: 431
Mast Leak

After two days of rain, I went to the boat today to find that the little reservoir inside at the base of the mast was full of water and that it had overflowed and soaked into the big midship floorboard. I've removed the floorboard and have it drying and have sopped up the water, but obviously I need to find the leak. I tried searching, but couldn't find anything. Has anyone had this issue and how did you solve it? My immediate thought was "new mast boot", but I want to be sure I'm not missing anything. The floorboard looks pretty bad after soaking for 2 days, looks like I have a new winter project.:( Funny thing is that the weekly hosing down of the boat has never caused this. Was it just a fluke?

Mike

Deja Vu
1991 MK I # 1106
Marina del Rey, CA

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Deja Vu
1991 MK I # 1106
Marina del Rey, CA

mutualfun's picture
mutualfun
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 6/25/07
Posts: 455

Mike:

I think what your experiencing is inherent of our style of mast. I get the same thing when it rains and it bugs me to get water down the mast. I have taken modeling clay and filled the sail slug track and the small crease on the back side at the mast at the boot to stop the water egress at those points. I do not get any water around the boot so i know it is not coming in there.

I have had the mast down and I pulled the top off to put new sheaves on and the top is closed about 90%. But it is open where the halyards exit the mast and it has to be where the water gets in. Short of making like a aluminum flashing that would go over that area on top. I do not think we can stop it. If you also search on here there has been discussion on this same topic.

Randy

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Randy Sherwood
Mutualfun 1990 # 1057
T/R W/K M35a
Home. Charlotte, Mi.
Boat. St Augustine,Fl.

jackfstewart's picture
jackfstewart
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 6/12/08
Posts: 41

Mike, I have the same problem every winter. After two months on the hard with rain, I will accumulate 4-6 inches of water in the bilge. I plan to solve the problem next week by drilling a 1/4 " hole at the bottom of the aft section of the bilge, about 1/2" above the bottom of the bilge. This location is just below the curve in the hull transition between hull and keel. In the spring before launch I will place a round head SS bolt with SS washers and neoprene gaskets in the hole.
I learned this from my cradle neighbor who did this with a Erichson 35 only using a 3/8 " bolt. He says he never acculumates excessive water in the bilge during winter. If I have a problem with my 1/4" hole, I can enlarge it to 3/8 ".

Let you know in a few weeks if I run into problems. I just hate drilling holes in my hull, at the same time this hopefully will reduce or eliminate my monthly trip to the boat in winter to remove the ice and water from the bilge. For me this is a 6 hour round trip. Between savings in gas and RV antifreeze, this little hole should save me $100 each winter.

Jack F Stewart
1993 C36 #1233 "Windancer"
Port Clinton, OH

Allan R's picture
Allan R
Last seen: 5 years 4 weeks ago
Joined: 6/26/07
Posts: 177

Drilling a hole in a perfectly good hull just does't sit well in my mind (little as it may be).

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Allan Rex
# 2216

William Matley's picture
William Matley
Last seen: 1 day 12 hours ago
Joined: 1/15/08
Posts: 160

Jack,

Won't the water just freeze and plug up the hole?

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Bill Matley
Duncan Bay Boat Club
Cheboygan, Michigan
Lakes Huron, Michigan,
Canadian North Channel
"Spirit of Aloha" Hull #1252

mutualfun's picture
mutualfun
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 6/25/07
Posts: 455

Mike:

It is interesting that you do not have a hole already in the forward section leading back to the rest of the bilge. Ours has what looks like 1/2 pvc pipe glassed into the stringers. It is not a after thought but was done at the factory.

I wonder when Catalina stopped doing this? Also if others are worried about the water freezing, a lot of us in our marina dump a gallon of -100 anti freeze into the bilge so it does not freeze when water gets in it.

Randy

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Randy Sherwood
Mutualfun 1990 # 1057
T/R W/K M35a
Home. Charlotte, Mi.
Boat. St Augustine,Fl.

jackfstewart's picture
jackfstewart
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 6/12/08
Posts: 41

Bill, Eventually the water in the hole will freeze, however for most of the winter precipitation falls as snow and does not enter the top halyard openings at the top of the mast. We usually have a January thaw that will allow the ice in the hole to melt [ I hope] and permit some of the melted water drain .In March and April when the precipitation is mostly rain there will be a mixture of ice and water in the bilge and should drain thru the 1/4 " hole. Will keep every one informed this winter if the system works. The drain hole is not in the small aft section of the bilge, but in the section directly under the inspection board in the cabin sole. It is high enough that will allow 1/2 gallon of RV50 antifreeze in the bilge .

Jack F Stewart
1993 C36 #1233 "Windancer"
Port Clinton, OH

benethridge's picture
benethridge
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: 5/13/09
Posts: 448

In addition to the antifreeze idea, couldn't you also just leave the bilge pump on? i.e. the "auto" setting?

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Ben Ethridge
Miami, FL
1984 MK1 Hull# 263

stu jackson c34's picture
stu jackson c34
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 12/3/08
Posts: 1270

[QUOTE=benethridge;2852]In addition to the antifreeze idea, couldn't you also just leave the bilge pump on? i.e. the "auto" setting?[/QUOTE]

Ben, wouldn't that auto setting then pump out the antifreeze during a thaw as the level rose and leave the bilge "unprotected?" Also, some folks take their batteries off for the winter.

Mike, you mention [I][B]the little reservoir[/B][/I] --- I assume you mean the portions or sections of the bilge separated by the athwartship stringers. If not, could you please explain "little reservoir?"

FWIW, our 1986 C34 has holes in all the three stringers for all four of our bilge compartments. I do not know if the factory put them in, or if the PO did it. It appears the holes were made and then a hose material was glassed or epoxied into place to seal whatever material the holes were made through, and the hose ends were cut flush. I have never in almost 12 years "had the nerve" :rolleyes: to look into the bilge of someone else with a C34! So I don't know if it was "standard." I can't recall this as a discussion point in Mainsheet or on our List or MB for having it "added" either, so maybe the factory actually did do it. Our C34s were designed and started to be built well after your C36s.

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Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

Jimmy's picture
Jimmy
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 1/12/08
Posts: 72

More like the bolts that secure the boot. Bet water is getting into the core too.

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Jimmy,
Secondwind
Hull No. 2058
Jimmy's picture
Jimmy
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 1/12/08
Posts: 72

I like to go with 1.5. I also go to the boat after large storms or a couple of small ones and pump all the water out and add more anti-freeze. The problem I am a afriad of, is the anti freeze not mixing with the water allowing the water to freeze at the bottom of the bilge This happen my first year owning the boat.

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Jimmy,
Secondwind
Hull No. 2058
jackfstewart's picture
jackfstewart
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 6/12/08
Posts: 41

Jim, my experience with antifreeze in the bilge during freezing conditions is the mixture of antifreeze and water forms a slush on the bottom and finally freezes with a ice layer of water on top. From here, any additional water coming down the mast lays on top of the initial mixture and freezes solid. For the past 6 winters, I usually have to remove ice from the bilge in Jan, Feb, and March, adding a new gallon of antifreeze each time. Hope this winter is different.

Jack F Stewart
1993 C36 #1233 "Windancer"
Port Clinton, OH

dejavu's picture
dejavu
Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 11/6/08
Posts: 431

[QUOTE=stu jackson c34;2853]Mike, you mention [I][B]the little reservoir[/B][/I] --- I assume you mean the portions or sections of the bilge separated by the athwartship stringers. If not, could you please explain "little reservoir?"[/QUOTE]

Hi Stu. I'm not talking about the bilge, the bilge didn't overflow. At the base of the mast inside the boat where the mast goes through the floor, there is a small, maybe 1/2" wide reservoir surrounding the mast. This is what was filled with water. However, after some of the responses, I'm now wondering if the bilge area under the mast is full and the limber hole is plugged as some have been talking about. This would cause the water to RISE around the mast and flood the salon which is something I hadn't thought of. I'll be at the boat tomorrow and will check this out.

Mike

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Deja Vu
1991 MK I # 1106
Marina del Rey, CA

Jimmy's picture
Jimmy
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 1/12/08
Posts: 72

[QUOTE=jackfstewart;2856]Jim, my experience with antifreeze in the bilge during freezing conditions is the mixture of antifreeze and water forms a slush on the bottom and finally freezes with a ice layer of water on top. From here, any additional water coming down the mast lays on top of the initial mixture and freezes solid. For the past 6 winters, I usually have to remove ice from the bilge in Jan, Feb, and March, adding a new gallon of antifreeze each time. Hope this winter is different.

Jack F Stewart
1993 C36 #1233 "Windancer"
Port Clinton, OH[/QUOTE]

I have seen it happen both ways. I keep more antifreeze in now and yes the water is freezing on the top not the bottom. KEEP THE WATER OUT IS THE KEY!

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Jimmy,
Secondwind
Hull No. 2058
John Reimann's picture
John Reimann
Last seen: 5 years 10 months ago
Joined: 12/2/08
Posts: 321

If you have a roller furled main, you will get tons of water in through the opening in the mast. Previously, I put a foam dam in the mast just below the roller furling drum and drilled a little weep hole just above it.

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SF Bay
1998 C36
smithdav
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/14/09
Posts: 12

Next time a good rain is scheduled stay aboard and check it out. My guess is your boot is leaking. Same thing happened to me and I could not find it with a hose either. Then I stayed aboard and found it was coming in at the boot. I layed additional calk on and stopped it. I take the mast down every winter and in the spring reinstall and recalk the boot. My MKII does have a drain hole to the bilge from the mast stand and I never had water pool as yours has unless you have a hole and it got plugged with dirt.

mutualfun's picture
mutualfun
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 6/25/07
Posts: 455

Jimmy:

I am wondering if you do get water in the bilge when it rains? If you do not, what have you done to stop it from coming down the mast? As I have wrapped the boot with rigging tape and used putty in the sail track to stop all water.

The area around my mast is dry as I have a moisture meter and have only 2 spots that show some moisture (chain Plates) but they are not increasing in size in the last 4 years. So I know I have that problem fixed.

Randy

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Randy Sherwood
Mutualfun 1990 # 1057
T/R W/K M35a
Home. Charlotte, Mi.
Boat. St Augustine,Fl.

pierview
Last seen: 5 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 9/27/09
Posts: 474

Unless I am totally mistaken, they make drains for bilges called Garvey drains or plugs. It requires a hole thru the hull, but then there is a fitting that has a plug in it for "in the water time" and you pull the plug when on the hard, allowing water to drain out as it accumulates.

I've even seen a boat with a short section of hose attached to the plug on the outside of the boat to get the water away from right under the boat.

Its been said before, but Catalina does not seal the underside of the cabin sole panels, nor the edges. If yours have not yet been wetted down, they ought to be sealed in some way so you don't have to replace thew whole panel(s) if they do get wet.

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Chuck Parker
HelenRita 2072 Mk II
2002 Tall Rig - Winged Keel
Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Pgutierrez's picture
Pgutierrez
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 5/14/12
Posts: 119

Garboard Plug, $14.50 at West Marine.  I agree with others,why drill one more hole in a perfectly good hull.  Use 2-3 gallons of antifreeze.  Also use a good tight around the mast winter cover.  https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine--garboard-drain-plug--P006_181_003_505
 

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peter g

2000 C36, MK2, Hull. #1897
wonderful, wonderful, wonderful ! ! !.   5 th Catalina

 

 

Chachere's picture
Chachere
Last seen: 5 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 10/27/10
Posts: 587

I agree with Paul about not drilling a hole. 
But in my experience, antifreeze in the bilge is just a waste of money:  It does not stay in solution with whatever rainwater that gets in over the winter; rather it seperates out and the water forms a thick crust of ice anyway. 

My practice is just go every few weeks to check on the boat during winter lay-up, and pump out the accumulated water with a hand pump into a bucket (I de-power the bilge pumps for the winter and pull them aside out of the bilge, so that they are not compromised by any ice build-up).

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Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

KevinLenard's picture
KevinLenard
Last seen: 1 week 1 hour ago
Joined: 1/28/15
Posts: 102

Well the very first thing you should do is drill holes in that so called water reservoir at the base of the mast. I have four drilled in every corner of it to drain the water that comes down the Mast, inevitably, into the bilge. Because there are holes in several places up the Mast, there is always going to be water coming down the inside of it. To seal the boot is not difficult, you just ease off the hose clamps holding it in place, raise it up a little, put a bead of removable caulking around the inside where the top of the Mast boot is supposed to seal, lower it and tighten it and fill the slot with some caulking.

Dealing with the inevitable intrusion of some water into the bilge over the winter, especially if you leave your Mast up, is more of a problem. I agree with Matthew that antifreeze is a problematic solution. Water does get in and dilutes it's to the point where it is ineffective. I have had to replace 2 bilge float switches over the past four years due to freezing. The drainage hole through the hole is the best solution I have heard of. Yes, it is another hole in the hull, but then we have many through Hulls already.

I am not clear on where that hole would be best to drill, however, as there is a lot of fiberglass holding the Keel in place down there. I'll take a closer look once the boat is out of the water and November.

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Kevin Lenard
"Firefly"
'91 C-36 Tall Rig, Fin Keel, Hull #1120, Universal M-35 original (not "A" or "B")
CBYC, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 17 hours 34 min ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 379

I wrap a wooden bung with old style window caulking rope (available from ACE Hardware) and insert it into the the limber hole of the second bilge compartment.  This prevents mast drain water in the winter from entering the other compartments and freezing the pump, float switch, AC strainer etc. It also means I'm removing winter water/ice from just one compartment instead of the entire bilge. I pour enough antifreeze into the sealed off compartment so that it backflows into the 1st compartment beneath the mast and prevents icing there. I use the -50 degree antifreeze and change it after it dilutes with water. When we get rain forecasted to be followed by a deep freeze, I will add a little salt to the antifreeze for insurance. This approach probably requires a couple trips/month to the boat which is a pain, but it gives me line of site to other problems that might be brewing like loose cover ties, overloading of snow on the cover, cover chafing etc.

I also leave the batteries on the boat- fully charged. I use to disconnect all cables from the terminals,  but found the only electrical leakage (via ammeter test) is created by my battery monitor so that's the only device I dettach. I've done this for the past several winters and have encountered no issues.  It beats the back breaking-job removing/installing the batteries every season. As long as wet cell batteries are in decent shape, they will not freeze.  
 

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Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

Chachere's picture
Chachere
Last seen: 5 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 10/27/10
Posts: 587

Damming up the limber holes so that the water stays in one compartment is a great idea - thanks! 
I still don't think adding antifreeze to the bilge is needed.  Any accumulated water there that freezes has plenty of room to expand which precludes ice doing any damage. 

But for those interested in the garboard drain approach, Randy Sherwood wrote an article on his installation a few years ago here:
www.catalina36.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Randy%20Sherwood%20garboard%20drain%20install.pdf

Mainesail (former C36 owner) has a nice article about the advantages of leaving the batteries on the boat, and notes that "A fully charged battery will not freeze until approx -70F." https://marinehowto.com/winter-battery-storage-self-discharge-characteristics/
He does recommend disconnecting them (which we do), as any chance parasitic load -- such as a dead cell in a paralleled bank -- could lead to a discharge.

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Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

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