View Full Version : when is a leaking timber boat ok?

21-11-2009, 09:19 PM
I took this video the other day at vic point U5rYnXbfpXw

Looking at the video it seems to me it has been just painted and perhaps just came from samsons marina around the corner.

So i am thinking it was on hardstand for a while and the timber hasn't soaked up yet to close any gaps.

Having said that i often worry about my 30' timber boat that has what appears to be some separation occurring in my double diagonal plank hull.

As far as i know my bilge pump comes on maybe once ever 24hrs or maybe even longer to empty it.

Its a very slow leak and the bilge empties it when there is maybe 60 ltrs of water at a guess. about 6 buckets worth.

I know the only true way to see whats going on is to dry it out on a hard stand and strip it back to bare timber to see whats happening.

otherwise i think i can only poke and prod the hul floor from the inside to find any soft spots?

But then i see a boat like that in my =video and think WOW mine leaks NOTHING like that! and they don't seem too worried! lol

different story if my hull was epoxy sealed and was ply and i would certainly worry then.

Also a glimpse of my boat is on the swing mooring in the background(dark blue covers) as this boat passes it by at coochie.

22-11-2009, 07:15 AM
A plank boat will almost always leak. What construction is yours? Sounds like it might be cold moulded?

22-11-2009, 08:19 AM
Hi Raz

The New Endeavor leaked too. One of the duties when I was on her as a ship keeper was to check the bilge pumps were working. (winning!)

Sounds like theres a role for ship keepers on a lot more boats.

By the way the water exiting the hull on your video wasn't engine cooling water was it? Looks like it to me even tho it was not possible to see steam but in this climate it may not have been obvious.


22-11-2009, 08:55 AM
Hi Razgo, could it be someone using water aboard? Looks about the right place for the head to be - might be where the shower sump gets pumped overboard

22-11-2009, 11:49 AM
I don't know if mine is cold molded or not. I think i have some video somewhere i will dig out.

I don't think its the header or shower as this is exactly where my bilge pumps out water also which is where the header is.

Its possible its water coolant i guess. I did see it again on a swing mooring at vic point but didn't take enough notice to see if water was still coming out or not.

Its just that the paint looked knew which means it was more than likely on a hard stand for a while at Samson's marina.

I just never know at what point i should be more concerned or not sometimes.

I know i will never really know unless its fired and stripped back i guess. but the rest of the floor that i can see seems dry and leak free. just this one spot.

well there is some rot around the cleat port side that lets rainwater in too.

I am brining it into manly harbour hopefully next week sometime so i can do some general maintenance and go out in her every morning next month. Got one of those new berths they built and right on the arm so i can get my wife in off the wheelchair.


22-11-2009, 05:19 PM
that's water from the heat exchanger.i be worried if didn't look like that.

22-11-2009, 05:31 PM
hmmm.... an old style heat exchanger? mine doesn't do that. although mine is fresh water.


Actually i remember now even my boat has the remnants of the old copper heat exchange pipe or where it would have gone under the boat and around this bracket under the header area and out the side. so yeah that makes sense too.

Pedro Jnr
22-11-2009, 07:21 PM
when is a leaking timber boat ok?

When its not your Boat!!!!!!

22-11-2009, 11:28 PM
That slow leak you have Razgo. Have you identified where it is?
You might find its the stern gland. Depending on the type of gland, there is often a slow weep around the shaft, a necessary evil, designed to lubricate the shaft in its bearing.

23-11-2009, 06:54 AM
Hi Rando, yes i have identified the leak and when i get it into manly harbour i will try and do a video of where it is.

No it's not the gland. in the past it was :). I have brand new prop shaft and bearing & gland seal and gland inspected. It's a sealed gland type but yeah sometimes water can leak a small amount if v-drive movement. I keep it greased up and it seems dry.

The small leak is about mid section part of the floor and i can push in the timber where it leaks. so its a little soft in the small part.

sounds more drastic than what it is which is why i will do a video of it.

It is very difficult to get advice from a boat builder as they tend to not want to give advice on a patch job. I might even run it by many harbour work shops and see what they say.


24-11-2009, 10:14 AM
I grew up around boats and my family owned a carvel planked boat for many years. I remember as a kid it was my job to hose down the hull every day when she was on the slip. There was always some shrinkage of the planks and would leak for a while after putting her back in the water.

I seem to recall there always being an amount of water in the bilge.

But from the vid I would say it is engine cooling water. Generally a bilge pump will give you a variable flow rate when the boat is moving due to the water in the bilge moving. The vid shows a steady stream which to my eye looks like cooling water.

I could imagine in this day and age that repairs to these old girls are getting harder and harder with the art of wooden boat building dying out.

24-11-2009, 01:59 PM
yeah, i would have to agree given the evidence in the video that it is indeed a heat exchanger throwing out the water at a steady stream like you say.

regarding repairing old wooden boats there are still quite a lot of boat builders out there. Particularly in Brisbane at least.

Pelican slipways at redland bay weinam creek is primarily a timber boat yard.

Samsons marina ( near vic point) also has at least 2 wooden boat builders by trade on site and they are flat out all the time. I had my stern replaced by a wooden boat builder at samsons.

And horizon shores marina has a qualified boat builder as well that focuses on timber boats.

so plenty around to chose from :)