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 Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26

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Posting Member

Posts : 20
Sailboat : CM26
Male Birthday : 1960-11-03
Join date : 2013-03-03
Age : 58
Job/hobbies : Computer/Electronics Technician/Business Owner, Sailing, Music, Movies

PostSubject: Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26   Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:48 pm

The story
It was midday, early spring of 2000. My wife, daughter (12yr.), son (10yrs) and I were on our first voyage in our recently acquired CM26. Our destination was "Skull Island" for a weekend of cooking out and camping with friends. It‘s a ten mile trip by water. We put in at the Chickamauga Dam and headed northeast. It was a little over cast when we started. The weather forecast called for 20% chance of isolated T-storms late afternoon, then clearing. We had been on the water 45 minutes or so, when I noticed something scary. It was a solid wall of weather coming up behind us. It was scary because it was coming fast and as I watched from about 3/4 of a mile away, it totally enveloped the dam, bridge and everything else to the point we couldn't see anything behind it. I went into emergency mode and began securing things, putting on life jackets and rain gear. I dropped and stowed the foresail, battened down the hatches. No way to know how much rain would be dumped on us or how long it last, I thought it would be best to put the kids in the cabin with the hatch closed. In case it got rough, they wouldn’t be tossed out of the boat. I figured that if I take the weather on the stern with the main in a full broad reach it would be easier to spill the wind if I had to. Besides, the wind was blowing in the direction we wanted to go. I guess it was blowing 25 to 35 knots when it was full on us. I was very pleased with how well the Clipper handled during the storm. I didn’t have to fight the helm at all. We began moving fast and there was very little rain to my surprise. About ten minutes after the storm hit us, I started hearing my kids screaming and beating on the hatch door. I gave the helm over to my wife and raised the aft end of the pop top to find out what they were freaking out over. My daughter with tears in her eyes, yelled panicking, “We’re sinking”. Seeing the fear in their faces, I felt my stomach jump to my throat. As I went into the cabin to investigate, the storm had started to subside. Sure enough, there was at least five gallons of water in the floor and more in the compartment beside the keel wench. I saw water coming in the opening at the top of the keel boot, and as we slowed down, I noticed less and less water came in. To help the kids calm down, I had them help me bail with buckets. I also showed them the water had stopped coming in and that we were not going to sink. After a little while, they were fine and we started having fun. The wind died, so we motored the rest of the way to the island. The weekend went great. When we got home, I removed the wooden panel that the wench is mounted under, revealing a rectangle whole, where cable comes through, measuring 1 X 4 inches. I knew I had to deal with this. That week at work, I had a service call to repair a copier at a machine shop where I had the opportunity talk to a machinist, I told him about the problem and that I had an idea for what I needed. He let me look around the shop through bins of scrap metal. After a short while, I found the piece I needed.

The Fix
I found a 1/8” thick steel plate the exact size I needed, large enough to overlap the hole in the keel boot. We drilled a hole in each corner and one in the center of the plate. I got to thinking, there needs to be some sort of guide to keep the cable from fraying on the edge of the hole in the steel plate when the keel is raised and lowered. I started looking around the shop again and I spotted a stainless steel tube about 2” long and 1/2 “outer diameter. The inner hole was too small for the cable to fit through, so we drilled it out and flared the inner hole on both ends. Then we welded the tube half way through the plate at a slight angle. It came out just as I had visualized it. When I got home, I spray painted the part with Rust resistant paint and cut a piece of sheet rubber to fit as a gasket. I threaded the cable through a small hole I made in the sheet rubber and then through the part, then I screwed it into place with four stainless steel course thread screws. I tested it out the next weekend. It made a major difference! After a weekend of sailing, I noticed a small amount of water was still coming in. There was still work to do. The next weekend, I had the family on board and the boat was sitting lower in the water. Under sail or under motor power, I noticed that with every wave, water would squirt out the hole. I thought about it for a while and realized that there is a vacuum in the boot cavity. When the boat moved up and down in the waves, the air forced in and out of the cable hole, causing any water splashing up to squirt out. Kind of like it’s breathing. So why not let it breathe? Relieve the pressure. That next week, I went to the hardware store and bought two PVC pipe connecters and 24” of ½” clear tubing. I drilled a hole in the top aft end of the keel boot and installed one of the pipe connecters and drilled another hole in the forward end of the cockpit wall, installed the other pipe connecter, then attached both ends of the tubing to the pipe connecters, securing the tubing to the center forward cockpit support with clear wire ties. I went sailing the next weekend, it stayed dry as a bone. It seems I was right, it needed to breathe. Now, when I’m under way, and get into waves, I can hear the air moving in and out through the tube and even a gurgle from time to time. Hope this fix helps any of you having the same problem. I hope you enjoyed the story too. Chip
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Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member

Posts : 113
Sailboat : Clipper
Male Birthday : 1959-02-21
Join date : 2012-06-14
Age : 59

PostSubject: Re: Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26   Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:49 am

This is a problem it think is shared by all owners of our swingkeelers. Your analysis is very insightful, and your solution, by my way of thinking, is much of the same. I think I'll try and implement a similar system to my keel trunk and see if things stay drier. Thanks a lot.

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Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member

Posts : 149
Sailboat : CM 26
Male Join date : 2012-08-09

PostSubject: Re: Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26   Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:30 am

I had to repair that area of my keel but instead of screwing steel plates, I used fiberglass and brass pipe. That way I have no screws going into the glass. If you use screws, bed them with properly with 3M 4200 adhesive/sealant to keep water from getting into the fiberglass. If there is a way in, water will always find it and your fiberglass will suffer for it.

Make sure it's sealed before you end up with a rotten keel trunk.
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Tiny Dancer
Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member

Posts : 80
Sailboat : 1971 Clipper Marine 21
Male Birthday : 1961-02-06
Join date : 2013-02-28
Age : 57
Job/hobbies : Small business owner/Tile installer Sailing

PostSubject: Re: Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26   Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:58 am

Brilliant! cheers
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Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member

Posts : 167
Sailboat : Clipper Marine 26
Male Join date : 2012-10-27
Job/hobbies : IT

PostSubject: Re: Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26   Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:00 pm

Triticum was out in the bay Saturday. Coming back in we same quite close to the point which is known to be shallow. Sure enough, we got stuck in the mud. I went below and started cranking the keel up. After a while I stuck my head inside the hole and sure enough the cable was all wound up on the spool. I fired up the motor and was able to push us out of the mud and some serious work with the crank got her back on the trailer.

I replaced the clamps that held the cable to the keel right after I bought her last summer and again about a month later. Now I am looking at doing this again which is giving me the sense that I do not have the correct solution. I've looked at the aluminum blocks which get swaged to cable but the idea of aluminum and stainless in salt water diesn't thrill me. What do you have holding your cable to your keel?
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Posting Member

Posts : 20
Sailboat : CM26
Male Birthday : 1960-11-03
Join date : 2013-03-03
Age : 58
Job/hobbies : Computer/Electronics Technician/Business Owner, Sailing, Music, Movies

PostSubject: Re: Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26   Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:16 pm

Top of the to you all! I just read Triticum's post. If it helps, mine is a simple u-shaped stainless steel piece with a pin that goes through holes at the open end. It's very much like bow shackle. I've never had any problem mine. Good luck finding something that works.
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Water gushing in to the cabin of my CM26
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