Day 32: plugging the leaks

Now that Odyssey’s pretty much dried out after a week in the sun I’ve decided it’s time to try to make her a bit more watertight before the next storm arrives. At the moment if it rains or if waves wash over the deck then water comes pouring into the cabin all over the place, and since the whole point of a boat is to keep the water on the outside this is really not good.

Most of the water comes through the opening hatches, some of which I’ve now managed to seal. The only leaky ones now are three of the big ones in the coachroof and I think I’ve found out why. The sealant I used is supposed to be very good but just comes away from the perspex (or is it Lexan?) ‘glass’ bit of the hatch, despite me using lots and lots and getting it smeared all over me and everything else in the process. However yesterday I noticed that it says on the tube that it’s not suitable for use on plastic. Is perspex plastic? I don’t know, but it might explain why this stuff doesn’t work. I’ll have a rummage around in my bosun’s locker and see if I can find something more suitable.

One of the other worst culprits was the chainplates, which are steel rods bolted to the inside of the hull and protruding up through the deck, onto which are attached the wires which hold up the mast. Over time the movement of the mast has caused the sealant around all of these to come away so I’ve now gone around the boat and re-sealed all 14 of them. It was water coming through these gaps that was getting my bedding wet, I’ve found, as the water would run down the inside of the hull and onto the bunks under the mattresses, getting them wet from below. I’d assumed they were wet from water dripping down from above so hopefully now I won’t have to lie on a soggy sponge if it rains again.

However, the biggest problem is where the masts come through the cabin. Both masts are mounted directly onto the top of the keel inside the boat, and stick up through the cabin via big holes which leak like crazy when it rains. I say leak, but if a wave comes over the deck then I get literally a waterfall cascading into the cabin. OK, so I know indoor water features are all the rage, but when it gushes straight into my drinks locker and soaks the boxes of wine into a mush then I’m not happy.

I’m not sure how to tackle this one as the masts move noticeably in any wind, up to a centimetre in every direction if it’s really blowing a gale, so I guess I’ll just have to bung loads of flexible sealant into the gaps and hope for the best.

Luckily it hasn’t rained for over a week but since I’m going to be back in England in a couple of weeks I need to be prepared!

Meanwhile the nice westerly I’ve had for the last week has finally fizzled out. It died completely around 4am so we drifted for a while, then a little southerly breeze started to apppear around midday. This is giving us around 3 knots in the right general direction, and it’s actually rather nice that it’s so calm now as the big swells were getting a little tiresome. I’ve lost count of the number of bumps and bruises I’ve accumulated as a result of my drunken lurchings around the cabin, not all alcohol-related either!

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