Leaking skeg?

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Leaking skeg?

Post by TM. » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:09 am

Hi all
My back hatch is wet every time I use my boat, and I'm wondering whether there is a leak around the skeg wire somewhere. I can't see anything or what I'd do if this is the case. Any advice? It's a Valley wire skeg on an Etain 17.1.
Many thanks, Tavi

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Re: Leaking skeg?

Post by PlymouthDamo » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:46 am

The most likely culprit for leaks is the hatch cover. However, to check the skeg system, the first thing to do is visually inspect it - i.e. check for holes in the cable, splits around the skeg box or anything wrong with the fitting where the cable goes into the box. After that, it's just a matter of filling things up with water and looking to see if any gets out. The two main things you can do are:
(1) turn the boat upside down, fill the skeg box with water and look inside the rear compartment to check for water ingress from the skeg box or anywhere along the skeg cable. To do this, you'll need to have the boat supported on a stand which allows you to get up through the rear hatch cover with a mirror and a torch. (Last time I did it, I had it lying across two fridges.) You'll find most of the water escapes out of the skeg controller slide at the cockpit but you can try minimising this by angling the boat so that the skeg slide controller is just higher than the highest part of the skeg box.
(2) fill the rear compartment with water, move the boat around and look for water escaping from the skeg box or elsewhere. While you're doing this, also check that water is escaping into your day hatch.

It can be tricky to determine where leaks are coming from if they're slow, so you've got to be very patient with your torch and mirror - drying off suspect areas with a paper towel to try and catch a new drip coming through.

Fixing the leak should be relatively straightforward - finding it is often the tricky bit.

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Re: Leaking skeg?

Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:14 pm

It's very rare that the cable to skegbox interface will be the cause of a leak. What I've had however (on various boats) is a pin-hole in the layup of the skeg box through which water was seeping, and also a tiny crack where the box hadn't been well joined to the hull. In both cases, I found these by the method of filling the skeg box and then checking inside.

Another common cause of water ingress is of course the bulkheads - and yet another is the hatch rim to hull join. This is especially true if the rim is bolted down and it's not unknown for the sealant to fail nearby because of this. One other leak I've had turned out to be the hole for the grab handle cord. The end-pour had cracked and was letting water in.

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