How long do I have to pump?

Sofus

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Having had my cravel built 6 meter lug rigged "misanier" from 1945 out of the water for some deep maintenance for nearly 6 months this winter it opened up quite a bit as the weather has been quite dry here in Bretagne. I caulked carefully with cotton and a special filler they use for making wine barrels leak free. However, it leaked badly when I put it to sea last week. The boat is oak on oak and is still leaking about 100 litres pr 12 hours after three days in the water. The leaks diminish slowly but I am starting to wonder if there is something seriously wrong. How long will I have to pump like this? The wood is healthy and I guess it is a matter of letting the wood expand properly. Anyone having had a similar experience? By the way, the hull didn't leak when I took it out of the water in October.
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Sofus
 

Sixpence

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I'm not one of the most wise in here but if you're sure you didn't miss a bit and haven't got a hole where caulking should be I'd leave it a while longer . Can you tell if the water is coming in from any one point or is it seeping slowly along all the planks
 

Casey

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When I first launched Kala Sona after a prolonged period ashore the shipwright in the yard told me to allow about a month before sailing her to allow for the oak ribs to take up. Experience has proved that the mahoganyy planks take only about three hours.
 

RogerH

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I know the feeling. It's a difficult judgement whether to hang in there with the pumps and hope she will take up, or decide that there must be a fundamental problem and haul her back out to investigate. The bottom 4 planks on my boat are oak and after the boat had been out of the water for 2 years I had the boatyard's large pump running continually for 2 days, after which it gradually improved. On this occasion I did resort to the old trick of releasing sawdust under the hull, allowing it to be drawn into the leaks. It really worked. You can make a box on a pole with a sliding lid attached to a lanyard, or do what I did and swim under the boat with a tupperware box. In our case, as soon as the planks have taken up we are as tight as a drum for the rest of the season.

Roger
 

Lakesailor

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I was talking to a guy who had his clinker dinghy out of the water for a year. He brought it up to Coniston for a holiday and reckoned by the end of the fortnight it had become watertight. Just in time to take it home!
 

Sofus

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Thanks to everybody. The sawdust proposal was really interesting, but I have decided to let the expertice over here take a look and propose something hopefully not too expensive. I will probably have to take it out of the water again.

Sofus
 

Seagreen

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caulking needs attention. I suspect the wine barrel putty is not suitable to a marine environment and should be replaced with white or red lead putty, or something else tried and tested. Hull is now too wet to use sikaflex for the caulking sealer, but works very well when the wood is dry.
 

mclark

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I would say the key was the fact that the planking is oak. I guess its clear that Oak will give up and absorbe moisture more slowly than pine will because of its much more closed cell structure. If she were mine I would fit a pump and float switch and let her continue to soak up.

As a tip I have always used straight putty pushed into the opened up seams when relaunching after an extended period. This as opposed to recaulking (unless you are sure she needs it) If she wasnt leaking last year she shouldnt leak this after she has taken up. The idea is that as things swell the putty is simply forced out harmlessly. Don't take her to sea like this though until the planking has taken up fully.

Is it possible you have driven too much cotton into these seams and as she takes up she is straining the fastenings a bit?

Mike
 

Sofus

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Re: How long do I have to pump - french name for red lead putty?

Thank you all. The boat is still leaking, but less than before. It has now been a week since I put her in the water. The idea with the wine barrel putty is that it will be squeesed out when the wood expands. However, I may have to recaulk some seams. I was very careful with driving in the cotton - hardly any use of the mallet at all.

Does anyone know the French equivalent to red lead putty?

Sofus
 

Lakesailor

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Re: How long do I have to pump - french name for red lead putty?

If it's slowing down, you're on the winning straight. Not long to go now.
 

Sofus

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Re: How long do I have to pump - french name for red lead putty?

Thanks again for good advice and french suggestions for red lead putty. I called a well known dealer (who is reputed to be the wooden ship accessories shop in France) and they suggested "minium" which is red but paintlike. That was the nearest I got in France so I ordered a five kilo tin from Tradboats in the UK. By the way, the shipping costs were about the same as for the stuff itself.

Maybe I will get some sailing after all this summer.

Sofus
 
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