Wood Boat Repairs

Repairing a Leak on Papoose

The famous leak that rotted my mast step remained the next winter. I thought I fixed it but it turns out, as you can see from the pictures below, that it was a big problem. I decided to not just seal it up, but to fix it "right."

The leak was caused by the rod that connects the mast step to the cabin top. On Papoose, this is aft of the mast although apparently moved forward of the mast on the later L-36s. When the boat got deeper, it brought the cabin top down with it and distorted the cabin top. This caused a leak under the bronze ring around the mast. The gap was about 1/8 of in inch and got the 6 layers of 1/4 inch plywood that make up the cabin top around the mast very wet and flexible.

Here are two pictures that show that gap.


I took advantage of the plywood being wet from the rains and jacked it back up closer to its rightful position.


Here is a picture of the condition of the cabin top before I started fixing it

After letting everything dry out, I drilled a few dozen holes around the mast opening and filled them with West System. It took a huge amount of epoxy, about 24 oz. I added some thickened filler at the end.

Here is what it look like below. Chairman Bob advised me to watch for epoxy dripping below. Truer words were never spoken. I did all I could to seal the area so it wouldn't leak below but it still did. I lifted up the floor boards so they wouldn't get permantnely epoxied in place.

Then I added thick filler to bring the cabin back up to correct shape so water would more or less run away and not pool around the mast. After this dried, I applied a layer of fiberglass and filled over that.

The next step was to sand everything fair, prime and paint.

Now, just screw everything back down and we are done.

I want to thank Steve Hutchinson for all the advice and support on this project. If I had realized how long this job was going to take, I would have just waited and had him do it at the next haulout.

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