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LEAKS - of all kinds (updated September 25, 2015)  

March 24, 2012. For some time we have considered the subject of LEAKS!! and have thought that they deserved a page in our Technical Section. Let's start with a definition (Wikipedia)

Usually unintended and therefore undesired, a leak is a way (usually an opening) for fluid to escape a container or fluid-containing system, such as a tank or a ship's hull, through which the contents of the container can escape or outside matter can enter the container. The word "leak" is also used as a verb; matter going through the opening is said to leak. The entry, exit, or exchange of matter through the leak is called leakage, the subject of another disambiguation article....

This is a very broad subject and fixes, if documented, will no doubt need their own dedicated pages. We'll start this off with an exchange of emails (edited) on February 4, 2012 with Brian Nilsson (Silver Sage, Yankee #100)

Hi Ron

Anyone have trouble with very leaky toe rails? Ideas on how to fix? Every time it rains without cover on I get one or two gallons in bilge ... water leaks down through toe rail bolts and they are too rusted and old to tighten or even remove without breaking.

Thanks. Brian


Hi Brian

I assume you have read the stuff up on the website? - if not here's a couple of links http://dolphin24.org/clamp_toe_rail_issues.html and http://dolphin24.org/waukegan_dolphin.html. These are O'Day/Lunn rail issues but worth reading, I think.

Yankee's did not have as much of a toe rail leaking problem, or at least, that I've heard about. This is a link to a Yankee, Hull #81, which is pretty early in their production - 20 boats before yours. Its worth a read http://dolphin24.org/aeyla_summer_report.html. Yankee probably made a number of production changes in their first couple of years. I think the boats around yours with wood coamings and hatches, etc., are some of the nicest Yankee built. But they had a lot of wood....

The picture we have of your boat shows a boat in very good condition. I am really surprised you are getting that much water in your bilge - 1-2 gallons just from the leaky bolts. I suspect that while you may have leaky toe rails and bolts, something else may be contributing.

One culprit is seat drains, if you have them. The caulking gets dried out around the tube that leads the water to a thru hull fitting, and water can really 'pour' into the boat when it rains. I had a problem and fixed it.


I would also check the cockpit drains. Wrap some towel paper around the inside tubing of these drains, tape it in place, and check to see if they are wet after a rain - or, a hose test might be worth the time. Another suspect is the chainplates - dried out caulking. If they are leaking water can get to the wood bulkhead where the bitter ends are attached - and rot develops. Not a good thing. And, check all the deck fittings, hatches, etc. Usually you can see evidence of significant leaks in these areas, puddles, wet cushions, stains, etc, but sometimes not.

BTW, I don't know what fastening system you have for your toe rail, but if it involves bolts with washers/nuts you often see rust/wood color stains from dripping against the bare hull. I have 'system' I use. On a nice dry day I clean the stain off the inside hull (mine is painted white) and I roll a piece of towel paper maybe 3-4 inches long into a fairly tight cylinder and force it in between the end of the bolt and the hull. This absorbs the water seeping through the gaps around the bolt and the stain gets imbedded in the towel paper. This 'process' keeps a lot of the staining in check. For really leaky bolts I tape a larger wad of towel paper around it. This is a temporary fix but allows you to prioritize your time. Bad leaks are soaked, minor leaks are visible because of the stain. Git Rot or its equivalent is a magical fix if you know where to put it....

What would be helpful is to see close up photos of your clamp system and bolts, stains if any, and seat drain system.



Hey, Ron

Thanks for the great links and info. No, I had not seen that stuff on the website ... is there some kind of search capability I'm not seeing? or do you just have to scroll through? I'll check your suggestions next month when I'm back with her. I do know, though, that there are no seat drains, and when I checked the cockpit drains they seemed to be OK, as well as hatches, etc. ... but I'll check more carefully.

Thanks again. Brian



There is a site search button top left of page. Select site/default or web. Type in a keyword, ie toe rails - will take you to links. You'll see toe rails are a favorite subject....Also scroll through Technical Section/Repairs for items of interest

With wood coamings, and especially without seat drains, you will want to check for seals on bottom edge and screw/bolts for coaming to deck/seats, And, forgot to mention stanchion bolts....Have fun



March 24, 2012

Hi, Ron ... thanks for the earlier info. You were right, the major leak(s) are in the cockpit drains, which I'm replacing



October 13, 2012 CORED DECK ISSUES -

We got an inquiry from a potential Dolphin buyer about cored deck problems (rot and leaks) with late Yankees. We have not heard much about this with Yankees. Here is a response we got from Clinton Hodges, Windswept too, Yankee #245 (edited) about thickness

I have some observations with two pictures to share with Dolphin owners but I have no way of knowing just how specific these are - meaning the deck construction very well could be different between early Yankee Dolphins and later Yankee Dolphins; one wouldn't think later Dolphins would be much different from hull #245

This hole is for the vent over the v-berth and as you can see previous owners attempted to resolve leakage issues by rotating the plate and drilling even more holes instead of doing the research to properly bed the vent hardware.

The combined thickness is 20mm (3/4”); the bottom layer is 7mm, the middle plywood layer is 8mm, the uppermost layer not including the non-skid is 5mm and including the non-skid is 8mm.

This chain plate hole is located on the port side and measures 7mm in depth and is solid fiberglass.

The roof over the cabin is plywood-cored and, my guess as to thickness, is 20mm; the same goes for the vent holes in the transom well compartment.


Webmaster Note. Not all reports of problems with leaks get to this page. While mentioned above this bears repeating - type in "leaks", or 'toe rail leaks, or 'cored deck leaks' into the Search Engine located at the top left of this page and enjoy!

Also, check the listings in the Technical Section/Repairs for other related commentary - September 25, 2015 - Here's one http://dolphin24.org/bilge_pumps.html








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