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Old 29-09-2014, 10:28   #1
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Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Sorry if this subject has already been addressed but I can't find an answer anywhere! We have an Island Packet Cat with a deck stepped mast. We're currently in SW Florida and after way more rain than normal we've discovered our mast has filled with water and overflowed into our compression post (I found myself walking on water the other night as over a gallon of water filled the well underneath our salon floor and then overflowed under our carpet). The leak is not at the base of the mast; I sprayed a lot of water from our hose on that area and nothing happened. BUT, after spraying water at one of the halyard openings, water promptly ran down the inside of the compression post and filled the well. After a ton of googling I've discovered that we should have a 'weep' hole for drainage at the bottom of our mast. We don't. I called IP but they couldn't help me as apparently they've only installed keel stepped masts for the last few years (our boat is a '95). I currently have a call into a boat yard but am waiting to hear back. Oh, I didn't find a weep hole but I did find 2 screws near the bottom of the mast (each around 3 inches from the base, one fore and one aft) and I'm not sure what they do. They are not bolts, just screws, which makes me wonder if at least one of them was originally a weep hole. We had the boat re-stepped in 2008 when we bought it and I wonder if someone in the boat yard saw a hole and decided it should be plugged (sometimes strange things happen in boatyards, like when your propellers get put on backwards! Yes, that happened to us). I'm amazed it's taken this long for us to discover this problem but honestly this is the most continuous and heavy downpours we've experienced. Otherwise I think water has probably always drained down but not enough for us to notice. Any help???? Please????
Laura from the Knotty Cat
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:01   #2
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Thru bolt holes securing mast step to top of compression post ?
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:17   #3
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Pretty sure it's not that. It's truly coming down the inside of the compression post. No leaking anywhere else.
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:24   #4
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Really not familiar with your boat, so I maybe wasting your time If mast is stepped on deck, how would water get to internal compression post ? Is compression post a hollow tube immediately below mast ?
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:30   #5
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Good question!! There is a conduit coming out of the boat (a few inches or so high?) from the compression post; the mast fits over top of that. Supposedly rain water is supposed to run down the inside of the mast and out the weep hole. The conduit is the 'wall' that's supposed to keep water out. However, since we've had soooo much rain and there's no hole, the water has risen in the mast and overflowed that conduit. It's a given that moisture can get in but we shouldn't get water flow!! Believe me, I'm learning a lot here.
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:31   #6
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Who did you talk to at IP that said they couldn't help?
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:42   #7
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Is the heel of the mast surrounded by some centrallising and sealing medium,- which may be blocking the drain. My mast is deck stepped, but has a drain tube. Quite common.
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:45   #8
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

So why not just drill a couple weep holes?
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:58   #9
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

I'd call back and ask to speak to Engineering.
They have to have a drawing that shows you everything, company is still in business and I'm sure it was built to a drawing. I'm shocked that you were told they couldn't help you. I do not think that is the kind of publicity they want.
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Old 29-09-2014, 11:58   #10
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Who did you talk to at IP that said they couldn't help?
Carston, but he referred me to a couple of boat yards.
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Old 29-09-2014, 12:47   #11
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

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Is the heel of the mast surrounded by some centrallising and sealing medium,- which may be blocking the drain. My mast is deck stepped, but has a drain tube. Quite common.
Aha! I just came in from yet one more inspection (along with another live aboard here) and we think that's what's happened. There is a tiny spot in the support around the base off the mast that looks like a chip was gouged out of it. However, it seems to be full of sealant. Someone probably sealed it when it was re-stepped.
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Old 29-09-2014, 12:50   #12
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
So why not just drill a couple weep holes?
As a last ditch effort, we will. I just hate taking a drill to our boat. I can be a bit obsessive and it's driving me crazy that I can't find out exactly where that damn hole is.
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Old 29-09-2014, 13:04   #13
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

I dont know what kind of drainage hole Ip make in this boat but im going to tell you the 99% of the drainage setup in most deck steped mast boats, there is no drainage hole in the deck or in the top of the deck, most deck stepped mast are resting in a mast step at the deck level the mast step in almost the most popular brands, Zspar, selden, etc, have a drainagge chanel at the bottom of the step draining out in the deck, bits of old rivets, debris and crap block this chanel preety easy and flood the mast in rainy days very easy , your mast step i suspect is troughbolted to the compresión post like a sándwich with the deck in between , if you found wáter inside of the compresión post i suspect 1 . the compresión post top plate is hollow in the center with a opening and not a full sealed plate , one or two bolts leaking there and you have wáter coming to the post or 2... some smartass make a drainagge hole in the center of the mast step driving all the wáter inside of the post, lame....

We modify the mast steps each time we step a mast or make repairs in the rigging etc.. because is a popular problem, what we do with the steps is open the chanel bigger at the step with a dremel or fill the wide gaps in the mast step with sika and make 3 drainage smal holes at the bottom of the mast, in other words , in a deck steeped mast there is no way for wáter to reach the interior on the boat ....
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Old 29-09-2014, 15:00   #14
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

If its similar to Gemini's, the mast sits on a plate and in the middle of the plate is a small 1" diameter tube for the electrical cables to pass thru. The top of the tube is a few inches above the plate.
- The outside of the tube is sealed but not the inside in order to allow the cables to be pulled out when the mast is removed.
- The mast to plate is unsealed and will allow modest amounts of water to weep out but if the rain is heavy and hits from the right direction, the water doesn't weep out fast enough and once filled above the top of the tube, it drains into the boat thru the tube.

If the mast hasn't been removed for a long time, it could simply be that dirt and debris have sealed the area between the base and the mast reducing the weeping.

A couple of small weep hole drilled in below the top of the tube should address the issue and you can clear them easily if they get blocked up.
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Old 29-09-2014, 16:34   #15
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Re: Drainage or weep hole in a deck stepped mast

Sorry I haven't responded for the last few hours, I had to feed the husband and empty the pit bull (our term for walking the dog). Valhalla360, you hit the nail on the head, except sealant (probably 5200) is the blockage. After taking off the inspection plate I got a good look at the inside and it's exactly as you described. I'm going to try to dig out the gunk and if that doesn't work we'll drill a hole.
I'd like to thank everyone for their input here, I really appreciate it. I'd like to think this is one leak that's gonna go away but don't worry I know another one will 'spring' up somewhere else in the future.
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