Restoration Tip 11-17-14: Attack water behind the lead from both sides
One of the first things we do when a boat comes into the shop for a full restoration is drill a hole through the hull behind the lead.
WATER ALWAYS COMES OUT! ALWAYS!
If you’ve been a long time Ensign owner, you are probably aware of this problem, and you may have even drilled the hole and let some water out, but this is a battle you have to fight from both sides of the boat. The water can come in from places like the rudder shoe or strap or a fiberglass failure outside of the boat, but it can also come in from the bilge side. Often this is from failed tabbing in the back of the bilge area.
We are in the process of restoring Ensign #95 and after drying the bilge, it started filling back up with water! We hadn’t drilled the hole yet (I guess it wasn’t one of the first things we did this time.) When we drilled the hole, about half of a gallon came out and the bilge stopped filling.
If you really want to solve this problem, it is really part of a larger project involving filling obvious holes on the outside of the boat and then applying a barrier coat product on the hull as well as the bilge area. In the bilge, you will need to restore all of the failed tabbing, and that will likely involve cutting out the failed tabbing and replacing it with new.
There is a lot more instruction for this project than we have room for in a tip of the week, but the take home point here, is to make sure that you’re thinking about both sides of the boat when you go after this issue. We will put instructions up on our website later this month on how to properly deal with the water behind the lead. Also watch for pictures of Ensign #95 as we move along on her new deck restoration.