Keeping the water Outside.

This weekend we took advantage of the fine weather and tried to eradicate a few of the leaks.

The two portlights in the v-berth were sealed in place. Luckily, I forgot to take pictures. I have a hate-hate relationship with mastics of all kinds and I just can’t seem to pick up a mastic gun without making an inordinate amount of mess. I even begin to wonder if I’m deficient in some kind of saliva enzyme that enables plumbers and window fitters to just lick a finger and run it down producing a glass smooth finish.

If I try that with my mastic reactive spit, I just end up with it over all of my fingers, one by one, and then probably my tongue.

Thankfully She has a knack of making my bodges look somewhere near respectable.

The next biggest source of ingress of water was through the cockpit seating slats into the rear locker:



We removed the slats, and while She was doing a fabulous job of removing the underlying green mould and silicone sealant from a previous owners attempt at sealing:





I set about preparing to seal the seats with Butyl Rubber ‘Tape’.
Butyl Rubber is like Blu Tack in consistency, it should never harden and I hope it will keep the water out of the holes.



It should compress nicely and seal both the threads and the hole. Time will tell! I have absolutely masses of the stuff! I bought a 10m roll for about £10 and have used about 50cm at most, for both seats. Still it doesn’t go off and I’m sure I’ll find other places for it.

Here is the finished seat all cleaned up (by Her) and tightened down:


Another area of ingress was through the retro-fitted* engine instrument cluster. (I forgot to take a picture of before, but ‘Free’ is fitted with a Beta Marine 20hp engine with a Type C Deluxe Instrument panel.
This is quite a large panel and whenever the engine was fitted they obviously decided it was too large, or perhaps too fragile, to try and fit where the Centaur instruments were, and so a hole was cut into the starboard coaming.

The panel was mounted in a crude, (even by my standards!) wooden box, with a perspex facia,and all held up against the fibre-glass with 22 stainless screws through an aluminium angle type picture frame and copious amounts of silicone sealant. Needless to say this isn’t effective and the water just sits on the bottom right corner of the angle, into the box and onto the quarter berth.



The perspex hole-covers are annoying and fiddly to use and I’m trying to come up with a better solution, and one that keeps the water out.

Any and all ideas are welcome!

The dials on the Control Panel are all cracked and crazed and I’d like to replace those if it’s financially viable. There are some contact numbers on the back of the dials so I’ll try them first:


And finally, perhaps this is the reason that so little work gets done:


With views like this, lunch hours and tea breaks are a-plenty. And never just an hour.

*On a 40 year old boat almost everything is retro fitted I suppose.

3 Replies to “Keeping the water Outside.”

  1. Great write-up! Keeping the water outside is something we all try to do, but likely we’re fighting a futile battle. 🙂

    Butyl tape is one of the greatest weapons in this battle, but I have one comment on your use. It looks like you put the butyl on the underside of the bolt. To be most effective, it should be on the topside. I place the butyl over the hole, then push the bolt (with washer) through the hole. After tightening, the butyl will push out from under the washer and you can just scrape that excess away.

    Just my humble opinion…your thoughts?


    1. Hi Mike, good to hear from you.

      I can see the merits of putting the tape next to the washer as you describe. In my case, I wanted to seal between the wooden slats and the fibreglass around the bolt holes. Having the tape on top of the wood would still allow some water down between the slats and fibreglass I would think.

      Anyhow – so far it seems to be working!

      1. Hi Jon, you’re absolutely right. I see what you’re talking about in this case now. I took another (closer) look at your setup and then realized how it attaches. As long as it’s working, that’s what really matters!

        You’re making great progress and I’m really liking sooner of the ideas you come up with for repairs. Some good “outside the box” thinking.


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