Latest News: Forums Technical Leaky centre board case

This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  BluTak 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #29164

    Ian Fitzpatrick

    I’ve tracked down a leak in W2713 to the centreboard case. I wondered if anyone could advise the best way to approach a repair.

    20 litres of water tipped in when level on the trailer streamed out via the edges of the slot, so sadly not the bolt.

    I’m presuming that the centreboard and the grounding strip/s will all need to come off. Best with the boat in its side?

    Is there a known location where the leak is likely to be? I’d guess the corners would be the culprits? Glass or sika?

    Edit to add: a composite, so grp hull

    Thanks in advance 🙂



    My old fibreglass hull leaked through the screws holding the metal strips to the keel. It’s not easy finding the source of the leaks due to the construction of the keel. You can remove the screws and epoxy the holes before putting them back but you’ll have a job getting the screws out again if you need to. A better approach could be to epoxy the holes then drill and self tap when the epoxy has gone off with a squirt of sealant/ seakaflex. (If you do epoxy the screws in you can try heating them before trying to get them out to soften the epoxy with a big soldering iron)

    Or if the screws still have bite squirt sikaflex in and then replace screws. Probably not easy as the existing screw heads are probably damaged. Definitely replace with new screws!

    Or take the keel bands off. Fill in the hull holes with epoxy and either reposition the holes (what happens to the holes if you fit them “front to back”?) or fit new keel bands. You can buy half round brass a lot cheaper from a steel stockist. Drill the clearance holes in the band after bending or they could kink. When you fix them bed them in with Sikaflex. I put stainless runners on the bilge keels after beefing them up as they always get damaged. Simple if the boat is upside down. Don’t let the boat sit on the bilge keels on the trailer as this is a major source of damage to the stiffeners inside the hull

    Captain Tolley’s creeping crack cure is pretty magic for hairline cracks. The bailers can be another source of leaks. I took mine out and refurbished them and the boat is bone dry now (so far 10 years). You can get new gaskets etc from chandlers

    17mm x 3.5mm nitrile O rings (eBay) should cure any bung Leaks!

    Note that you need to get the holes dry before applying adhesive. Acetone (nail varnish) is pretty good for cleaning holes and can also help dry them as it is soluble with water. Followed by a hot air gun or hair dryer

    a temporary fix is a tube type pump but it’s not good if you sleep on board and it leaks above the bottom boards during the night

    one more warning. If you roll the boat over take care not to damage the stainless shroud plates that stick out and are easily damaged. Stainless work hardens with bending and you can weaken them. Easy enough to avoid with a car tyre carefully placed if you know about it. ( guess how I found out!)

    I hope this helps, good luck


    Ian Fitzpatrick

    That’s a brilliant and detailed reply (and exactly the sort of advice I’d hoped to get) thanks so much for taking the time to type it out. It looks like the boat will be heading into the lawn next weekend then.


    Ill post back here here once I start exploring:-)



    For the next instalment it’s easy ways to make a new mast out of Fosters Beer cans. I miss Swiebertje off this forum. He would have made his from Grolsch bottles and written pages all well thought out as to why they were the best. I got many a good tip off him.

    Good luck



    Apologies – acetone is nail varnish remover, not nail varnish. It used to be easily bought in 1 litre bottles but these days I buy small quantities from cut price chemists.


    Ian Fitzpatrick

    A bit of fettling over the weekend revealed some interesting things…


    the main one being the starboard side wooden trim that runs alongside the centreboard casing was rotten and sodden. There was a thin skin of glass over the top of it, which was easily removed. Plenty of poorly saturated glass low down in the centreboard casing. All looked a bit rough. So…


    A fat bead from a tube of nearly expired sika flex has been squeezed along there now. I’m going to glass a strip all the way along to secure and double waterproof it. Then turn the boat over and see what other delights await there!




    Ian I think I may know what’s wrong!

    I had the same problem with my boat.  The whole top of the case flexed if you put your foot against it and the two halves of the open slot could be squeezed together. All this flexing can obviously lead to cracking and leaks at the keel. With the boat upside down I made a laminated beam from 4mm plywood as shown on the photos. This goes from end to end of the case. I made it first embedded in polythene so that it was the correct shape. I then took it out and cleaned it up before epoxying it in place after removing the rotten wood. This means that you have two beams either side of the case running full length. You could fashion the beams from wood (eg oak) but I found it easier to laminate as I could borrow a lot of clamps. If you coat it fully in epoxy it should not rot again. This is not such a daunting task when the boat is upside down.

    Another job I did at the same time was to strengthen the mast step. I fitted stainless steel plates outside the cheeks as shown on the photos and carefully fitted a large piece of wood between the keel and front of the centre plate case. This is a tight fit to ensure that the mast foot weight is being taken by the keel . If you look really carefully at the photo you can see that the gell coat has cracked across the front of the slot. This is caused I think by the mast foot driving down the front of the case and is why I have inserted a wooden block.  It is probably worth strengthening the keel at this point with some resin impregnated tape but be careful to leave the “limber holes” for the water to drain through.

    You can see the stainless plates and resin/glass strengthening of the keel in the photo. The block of wood is partly hidden by the toestraps (which are screwed  to it)

    If the boat is like mine you will find that the mast cheeks and step arrangement is not fastened to the foredeck it just sits in a recess and can be wiggled out. Mine was cracked when I took it out but the plates and bolts hold it together

    I have no leaks and the case doesn’t flex. I don’t apply the recommended tension to the rig as I am frightened of the mast foot being driven through the bottom of the boat. I do use a highfield lever though and it is a definite effort to tighten it up so I guess I’m around 2/3 recommended tension

    The original glass Wayfarers were built from very heavy laminates before they learned how to make them lighter. This means that there are a lot of older ones around some 50 years old but they are often in need of repair. Since they are pretty solid repairs can be done where a more modern boat would be consigned to the bin. As you’ve probably noticed I’m not too worried about cosmetics! One of the great things about a Wayfarer is that once you have a solid hull you can source nearly all the other bits secondhand for a song. Masts, booms, sails, rudders, centreboards even tents appear as there are quite a few hulls around that people won’t repair

    Anyway once again Good Luck!




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