Water Leaks? On a Sandpiper?

Sandpiper's are designed, and are, built to be water tight and dry! As proof, even the first few boats ever made in Canada that are still being sailed today are dry inside. Water problems develop over the years due to; abuse, lack of maintenance, improper storage, and even winter storage which creates ice build ups combined with melting snow. Water can also get in from many sources and the following checklist can be used to help one determine and correct a problem within a few minutes. A quick check can even prevent a soggy mattress.

Another factor is that "Sandpiper Sailboats are great to learn on and are a smaller sized boat" this tends to create over the years multiple owners for each boat. After the skill of sailoring is developed, the more serious sailors will move on from the trailer-sailor or day-sailor modes into the racing mode or cruising mode and upgrade to larger sailboat. Overall most Skippers maintain their boats very well for the resale value but others often in their hurry to upgrade create a lack of maintenance that can create water leaks.

Water Test Hint: To find 90% of most problems.

To test and find some common water leakage do it when the boat is out of the water and on a trailer. By using a garden hose, spray heavily, and even flood, all around the boat area by area. Have someone sit inside the boat to observe and mark the areas that if leaked with a pencil that can be erased later.

Topside Areas Checklist:

Anchor Locker: Ensure the drain hole is clear and is located at the lowest spot at the bow. This small hole is drilled thru the hull and exits the front of the boat near eye-bolt for the trailer winch. If the locker does not drain it can leak back inside the boat. The entire locker (all sides and bottom) should be water tight except for the open drain hole. Some helpful person may have even drilled a drain hole in the hatch cover gulley to drain water into the anchor locker. (Do you really want your anchor lines always wet, and anchors rusty all the time?) 
Forward Hatch: Check the seal between the hatch cover and cabin top but only lightly  tightening the hatch securing screws. With the hatch closed ensure the water proofing tape (sticky on one side) creates a seal all the way around. You make have to double up as it may not be equally flat on all sides.
Head Cover: The toilet pump out cover seal.
Windows: Check the seal between the Plexiglas and the hull also check the tightness of the  screws. Some boats may have used a sealing tape or some a small continuous bead of waterproofing.
Shroud Chain Eyes - Side Stays: Check around the bolts.
Wooden Handrails: Check around the screws.
Sliding Hatch Cover and Locking Boards: Check around the screws, does it fully close, do the two removable boards close the entry way?
Tabernacle / Mast foot plate: Check around the bolts.
Docking Cleats (4): Check around the bolts.
Stanchions/Pulpit Tubing Supports: Check all of the screws for the sides, stern, and bow.
Genona/Jib Jam Cleats: Check around the bolts.
Genona Sliding Tracks:Check around the bolts.
Spinnaker Sheet Blocks: Check around the bolts.
Bow Plate: Check around the screws.
Mainsheet Traveller: Check around the screws/bolts.

Inside Cabin Areas Checklist:

Use the Topside Areas Checklist: above for general water leakage. 
Cabin storage lockers (4): Check each one for water. Any water collected in the forward area ahead of the head (toilet) area can leak into the lockers. Some folks have installed forward plugs to drain. (Check water trapped under cockpit floor).
Head: Is the pump out hose still connected (has hose clamp rusted)?
Sliding Hatch Cover: Did you remember to close it fully last time used?
Cockpit: Check around the walls, sides, or floor of the cockpit.
Floor: Is it raised (water freezing under floor) or feel soft and spongy?

 Cockpit and Stern Stowage Areas Checklist:

Stern Stowage Cover: Is it on tight?
Stern Stowage Hull Thru Drains: Ensure both are clean and free flowing. Leaves or tree debris can plug the drains on the rear deck or the drain hoses causing water to overflow into the stern stowage area and or onto the cockpit floor. Replace the hose and clamps if aged and use a clear hose to easily spot obstructions.
Cockpit Floor Hull Thru Drain: Ensure it is clean and free flowing. Replace the hose and clamps if aged and use a clear hose to easily spot obstructions.
Water Trapped Water can built up in this area and may not be able to drain into the stern stowage area. You can overcome this by installing an access port in the cabin or by drilling a drain hole that uses a common boat hull drain plug, which that can be inserted and removed at any time. Drill the hole about one half inch above the hull through the wood divider. Then jack the front of your boat on a trailer, and all the water trapped will flow back into the stern stowage area. You can also use a one half inch inch copper pipe taped to a shop vacuum to help suck any remaining water out. It is recommended to keep the hold plugged to prevent any water back flowing in from the stern stowage area.
Outboard Motor Bracket: Check around the screws.
Rudder Pinions: Check around the screws.

Under Hull Areas Checklist:

Hull:  Check the overall condition of the hull, repair any sections in doubt that were damaged on any rocks or worn by being beached rubbed with fiberglass; lightly wet sand, and then paint using two primer coats and two anti-fowling coats.
Keel: Check the overall condition of the keel housing, you may have to crib up the keel so it won't drop and remove the entire keel housing top cover. This is also an excellent time to grease the keel screw.  You can also lower the keel for general inspection, wearing, or rubbing marks.
Trailer: Ensure that rollers are not worn down with no sharp steel edges touching or rubbing the hull. 

If you find no water leaks in any of these areas then your boat has been well taken care of. As this will ensure that the resale value of your boat remains high. As who wants to buy and old leaky boat anyways! ;)

If you know of any more, send us an email.

Website created on May 1/2007, Last updated on June 16, 2008. all rights reserved