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Old 21-05-2014, 18:58   #1
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Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

So I bought a 36 Union Cutter sailed here home and love the boat. But with any new boats there are problems. My toes rails leak, a lot. The toe rails have cracks (which someone tried to fill the cracks with tar),old screws, and there just plan old teak 5 inch toe rails.

I am thinking about sanding, staining, then rolling resin over the entire toe rail. Will this work, meaning seal out water? Anyone having fix their toe rails from leaks or knows how to, please info me.

Thanks for your time.
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Old 21-05-2014, 19:52   #2
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

My first thought is you have to fix the leak from the bottom up. Trying to seal the top is like putting a bandaid on deep wound. Need to stitch up the cut underneath before sealing the surface.

Would help to post some photos or a diagram of how the whole thing is put together.
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Old 21-05-2014, 20:00   #3
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

The problem is could be a lot of moisture under the cap rails, failing sealant and who know, rolling epoxy over can be a disaster, first the teak spand and contract ,breaking the joints again , if you can keep the teak dry and stable could be a good idea, best thing you can do is pull off the cap rails and start again the whole process of cleaning , sanding and resealing the pieces, big job!!! or leave the joints with new sealant and epoxy the rest if its dry, black spots its a source of moisture underneath and around plug holes same....cheers.
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Old 21-05-2014, 20:26   #4
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

2nd SkipMac's advice. Teying to fix a deck leak by caulking or resining the cap rail almost never works. Unless you can live with the leaks, pulling the cap rail and the fasteners securing the deck to the hull is the only way to have some hope of curing the leaks permanently. Even doing that, you may not be successful if the hull to deck joint was not properly bedded when the boat was built. I'd get access to the underside of the deck all around the boat where it joins the hull. Then have someone hose down the deck joint as you inspect from underneath to try and identify the location and causes of the leaks. Proceed from that inspection to try and stop them.

Had bad hull to deck leaks on my current boat. Turned out it was mostly the machine screw fasteners securing the deck to the hull that apparently were run in without caulk in a lot of places. Had to pull the cap rail to R&R the fasteners. Because of other issues as well, ended up glassing the hull to deck joint. Now have the first FRP boat that I've owned that has no hull to deck joint leaks.
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Old 21-05-2014, 21:03   #5
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Young Salty,

I don't know if you have been following the (mis)adventures of Rebel Heart, as chronicled here on CF. In that thread, it has been revealed that some HC 36's and perhaps their sisters, Union 36's had different deck construction methods. You should read that very long thread to bring yourself up to speed on the issues.

But, the general advice that has been offered in several posts above is right on target: not something that can be patched from the deck side.

Not good news, but better to know than to waste time and money in a doomed attempt to cheap out!

Jim
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Old 21-05-2014, 22:57   #6
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Had a similar issue with the traveler on mine...

Turned out the screws had just never been caulked (or sealed as I used goop and life caulk for the job) and it was as simple as resetting the track with new sealants... Nightmare getting to all the screws on my boat but essentially an easy fix
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Old 22-05-2014, 10:49   #7
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

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Originally Posted by youngsalty View Post
...I am thinking about sanding, staining, then rolling resin over the entire toe rail. Will this work, meaning seal out water?...
NO.

Hire a professional.
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:02   #8
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Big job. You need to pull the rail and glass the deck hull joint. You can probably do it from the top. You might even be able to glass over the screws and/or bolts it depends on how it was constructed. The cap rail itself is just a covering. The problem is what lies underneath the rail. It can be fixed but it will take a a few weeks of daily work.
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Old 22-05-2014, 12:45   #9
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Glasssing the hull to deck joint is no small job. Besides the time to grind the joint in preparation for glassing, you'll have to do the cosmetic work to make the job look decent. In the case with my boat, it took 3 professionals working full time to prep and glass the hull to deck joint and then prep and paint the hull and deck. It was a job that was above my skill level to attempt and would have taken me months, not a week or two.

As far as hiring a professional, my kids inheritance is way less than it would have been before I hired the work. Hiring a professional is a very expensive option for major work especially if you are paying yard rates for the labor. My workers were independent contractors and were way less than yard rates I've heard quoted. They were way cheaper but still not cheap. Hiring a professional is not an option for many people struggling with a boat 'Jones'.l

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Big job. You need to pull the rail and glass the deck hull joint. You can probably do it from the top. You might even be able to glass over the screws and/or bolts it depends on how it was constructed. The cap rail itself is just a covering. The problem is what lies underneath the rail. It can be fixed but it will take a a few weeks of daily work.
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Old 22-05-2014, 12:52   #10
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

What I don't know is how the joint is constructed. Did they bolt right through the hull-deck joint AND the toe rail? They did on my Bristol. Very strong but I can't imagine how much work it'll be to re-seal the joint. A very good reason to keep that toe rail varnished and crack free.

I would strongly suggest trawling the forums and finding someone who has done this job, and can tell you what's involved. Is there a Union Cutter forum anywhere?
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Old 22-05-2014, 22:09   #11
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Thanks guys for the sound or painful advice. I will try to find the HC 37 forum about his toe rail situation. If anyone knows how to find that thread, that would save time. I am going to post pictures tomorrow to show the problem better. Sounds like the toe rails need to come off, what a project for summer! How hard is it to take a 5 inch toe rail off? Drill out the bungs, remove the screws, all the hardware connected to it and lift? Is the rail glued down to? I knew the easy way wouldn't work.

thanks again guys, keep you posted.
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Old 24-05-2014, 16:55   #12
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Used a 3/4" #14 self tapping screw with a hex head, nut driver and battery screw driver to remove the plugs on my cap rails. The hex head screw and nut driver gives you a stable platform. Center self tapping screw on the plug and screw it in drawing the plug out. For me, most of plugs came out clean. Those that didn't, used a narrow chisel to clear away what remained of the plug. Pulling the plugs turned out to be the easiest part of R&R'ing the hull/deck leaks.
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Old 24-05-2014, 17:24   #13
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Young Salty,

I don't know if you have been following the (mis)adventures of Rebel Heart, as chronicled here on CF. In that thread, it has been revealed that some HC 36's and perhaps their sisters, Union 36's had different deck construction methods. You should read that very long thread to bring yourself up to speed on the issues.

But, the general advice that has been offered in several posts above is right on target: not something that can be patched from the deck side.

Not good news, but better to know than to waste time and money in a doomed attempt to cheap out!

Jim
Yes, some of those 34's and 36's had plywood decks and cabins. (as well as many other early Formosa, CT and other boats) You need to find out. If so, unfortunately you may be in for a major rebuilding.
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Old 24-05-2014, 18:35   #14
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

All the toe rail bolts that are leaking are going to be rusted up and perhaps impossible to unscrew. The radical plan B is cut them off with an angle grinder at deck level or mid toe rail and punch out the parts. You can fill the cuts in the wood.
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Old 24-05-2014, 19:08   #15
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Re: Toe Rails Leak, How to seal leaks.

This in an excerpt from practical sailor:

Construction

From a structural standpoint, the boat is typical of Taiwanese-built boats from that era. Displacing 22,000 pounds, the hull is heavily constructed, almost to the point of being over-built.

The hull is thick, hand-laid fiberglass, while the deck is 5/8-inch teak planking over a sandwich of 3/8-inch fiberglass, 3/4-inch plywood, and another 3/8-inch glass layer. The cabintop is slightly lighter composite, using half-inch plywood as the core. The hull-to-deck joint is both through-bolted and glassed over on the inside. Rarely used in today’s production boats (which rely on high-strength adhesives at this joint instead), this labor-intensive approach yields a long-lasting watertight joint.

The full article here:

Union 36 Boat Review - Practical Sailor Article

Any idea which yard build yours? Build year might help reveal that. You'd almost have open something up and get into it deeper to verify the construction detail.
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