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Old 09-10-2021, 18:21   #1
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Where is water coming from??

Hi All.

I'm trying to find where the water in my bilge is coming from. The water is fresh, so it has to be rain. She's a Tashiba-31. The only deck teak is in the cockpit and I replaced that last year. She also has a keel-stepped mast. I've already caulked on both sides of the cap rail.

Any suggestions for finding where this water is coming from? I've already eliminated around the mast (dry). I also can't find any obvious leaks - windows and hatches are all dry. I swear someone is sneaking aboard and dumping 3 gallons of water into my bilge!
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Old 09-10-2021, 18:27   #2
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Re: Where is water coming from??

You can caulk around the mast all you want, but if water is getting INTO the mast, through sheaves, light fixtures, rigging fittings, or rivet holes, it will come down inside the mast where you can't see it and end up in your bilge. Lots of rainwater can also get into the bilge by getting channeled into the luff groove on the mast.
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Old 09-10-2021, 19:15   #3
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Re: Where is water coming from??

The inside of our mast drains into our shower sump, so it doesn't wind up in the bilge.

So, another source of fresh water in the bilge are the water tanks. Also, sometimes refrigerator condensation is drained into the bilge, also. Other possible sources are stanchion bases, even through deck fittings, but they would leave a water trail.

If it's not from what comes in via the mast, it may be water tanks. And if you leave your system pressurized, then look also at the hose connections. If you have a tank style water heater, they can rot out and leak, or, again, leaky connections.

Not knowing how your particular boat is fitted out, those are my best suggestions.

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Old 09-10-2021, 22:18   #4
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Re: Where is water coming from??

In my search for my alleged water tank leak last month, I dumped a lot of food colouring in the tanks. Eventually it turned out the leak was related to a valve elsewhere in the system. Still enjoying green rice, blue tea, green orange juice...
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Old 09-10-2021, 22:35   #5
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Check stanchion bedding too. A friend of mine has non stop leaks there that he has yet to fix.
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Old 09-10-2021, 23:05   #6
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Don’t forget chainplate protrusions.
Correlate - does this only happen after a rain, or rain or shine (in which case, probably the water system). Are positive it’s fresh water?

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Old 10-10-2021, 08:46   #7
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Met a cruiser in the Caribbean who told me a story about an annoying leak - presumed deck/mast leak but he couldn't find it. His solution was to close up the boat as much as possible except to put a large box fan in the companionway and seal around it as well as he could. He then soaped up the deck really well and turned on the fan, effectively pressurizing the interior of the boat. Found bubbles coming from several places around deck fittings.
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Old 10-10-2021, 08:58   #8
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Unless anything is dripping in the interior it's the mast. Dont worry, be happy.
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:02   #9
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Time to get a hose on the deck and someone watching the bilge.
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:07   #10
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Re: Where is water coming from??

I use washable markers to track down mysterious leaks.

Just draw a line wherever you think water might travel and you'll spot the path, then can go upwards from there. Washes off easily.

My Selden mast has drain holes near the deck and is supposed to have a plug on the inside preventing water from draining into the bilge but that plug failed years ago. Next time the mast is pulled I'll replace it.
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:18   #11
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Re: Where is water coming from??

If you have a hawsepipe fitting on the deck check that the cap is on correctly. I have such a fitting for a secondary anchor. The top was on backwards apparently. Since I turned it around I haven't had a drop of water in the bilge.
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:45   #12
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
Hi All.

I'm trying to find where the water in my bilge is coming from. The water is fresh, so it has to be rain. She's a Tashiba-31. The only deck teak is in the cockpit and I replaced that last year. She also has a keel-stepped mast. I've already caulked on both sides of the cap rail.

Any suggestions for finding where this water is coming from? I've already eliminated around the mast (dry). I also can't find any obvious leaks - windows and hatches are all dry. I swear someone is sneaking aboard and dumping 3 gallons of water into my bilge!
I'm going to guess anchor locker, ours drains to the bilge.
If you can isolate the mast base and watch to see if water builds up around it.
Most keel stepped masts are on a step or base.
If not that you could tarp sections of your deck off to rain and then when you've stopped the intrusion of water uncover small areas till you see it reappear.
Start at the bow and move the cover back till it leaks again.
Then take a hard look at that area.
Food coloring will work if it's in the right area.
SV Cloud Duster
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:54   #13
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Re: Where is water coming from??

You can also temporarily stop up the limber holes between bilge sections to help narrow it down.
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:55   #14
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Re: Where is water coming from??

"The water is fresh, so it has to be rain."

No, it doesn't. Could be a leak from anywhere in your onboard domestic plumbing system.
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Old 10-10-2021, 10:05   #15
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Re: Where is water coming from??

Beware. If is coming down inside your stepped mast it may also be rotting out your compression post. Open it up and take a careful look..
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