Re: deck leak

James Alton


   I am glad that you pointed out the concern of leakage into the core from cracks as this does happen.  Not all cracks are the same, some are a concern and some aren’t and telling the difference is sometimes difficult.  Here are a  couple general things that I have learned.

1.  Cracks that occur near a high load areas where hardware is attached usually extend into the glass laminate.  

2.  Cracks that form on an open deck area such as what we commonly see in the simulated teak decks should only be in the gelcoat so there is no path for water to leak into the core.

3.  You can get some idea of whether a particular crack is serious by how much displacement there is on the surface.  Is the top of the crack level or is one edge raised?  If level, odds are pretty good that the laminate is still ok.  If you can catch your fingernail on a raised edge, the crack likely extends into the laminate at least some.  

3.  Your advice to fix damage caused by dropping something heavy and fracturing the glass laminate is really good advice.  An amazing amount of water can enter through even a small crack or hole over time and it is a one way trip since it is pretty much impossible to remove short of using vacuum pump.  



On Sep 21, 2020, at 10:09 AM, CW Bill Rouse <brouse@...> wrote:

Bill & Karen and everyone,

I love your sketch and simple explanation of potentially a serious issue. I will add a word of caution. Small cracks in the gelcoat of any Amel can possibly lead to a serious core moisture problem. 

How many of us have walked past a tiny crack without thinking through the potential of a serious repair? If you choose to do nothing, one day you might regret it. I suggest that at the very least, temporarily seal that crack until gelcoat repair can be done. The most common areas that I see cracks that will cause moisture penetration is near the aft lazarette and on the cockpit seats where something heavy has hit the area with force. The most common cause is damage from the bottom fin of an outboard engine. 

If you have created a small crack, don't wish for the best, do something.

CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar

On Sun, Sep 20, 2020 at 7:41 PM Karen Smith via <> wrote:
Hello Amelians,

Here are our thoughts about this deck leak!

Any deck leak, no matter how small, in the main cabin of a Super Maramu is a serious issue that needs to be addressed RIGHT AWAY.  
This is the voice of painful experience. A TINY little salt line was all that alerted us to one of the biggest jobs we have had to do to our boat.

Here is why...

From the aft edge of the hatch in the main saloon forward, the deck is pretty standard balsa cored deck. 
Right behind the hatch, the deck surface rises about 3 inches, while the cabin ceiling height does not change. 
The cabin ceiling here is thin (4-6mm plywood) and there is an empty space between the cabin ceiling and the structural underside of the deck. 
If there is ANY leak into this space, the water is free to roll around, and will find a place to drip down probably quite remote from the actual source.

What makes this situation so serious, is the back edge of the balsa core on the forward deck is not sealed, and is exposed into this space. It will soak up that water, and rot.  This is a big expensive repair to do right.  

Leaks into this space can come from the traveler, but more likely is from the hatch in the main cabin.  

There is a hardwood frame around the hatch opening, and the hatch frame is screwed into this with wood screws.  
 A lot of force is applied to the screws that secure the hinge side of the frame.  
If one of these starts to leak, the wood saturates, and water is then deposited into that empty space between the sailing and the deck, and problems start. 

Karen Smith & Bill Kinney
SM #160
Annapolis, MD

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