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RL28 suspected leaking hull
Last time I launched the boat I got in and found a bit of water (6 litres) on the floor near the galley. Water was also flowing out of the pipe at floor level below the post closest the door. The flow from this pipe diminished whilst afloat until stopping 20 minutes later. Suspecting a leak I loaded the boat on the trailer and pulled it up the ramp. The floor had a shallow layer of water right up to the front of the saloon. After mopping it all up, I repeated the launch and retrieve with the same result.
On returning home I filled the inside of the boat to 5 inches above the floor and checked for water under the boat, it was bone dry. I also filled the front bilge and toilet compartment to floating water level to immerse the low section of keel box and bolt and still bone dry.
When afloat I checked all the lockers and they were all dry. I looked under the cockpit and as far as I could tell anything above the keel slot was dry. Sail bags stored in this area were also dry.

Previous sail had a leaking keel bolt(2 litres every 5 minutes being pumped out by the front bilge pump) which has since been fixed. It is possible that voids under the floor were filled at this stage but no water was found on the floor after hauling out.

Has anyone with an RL28 had this experience or could anyone with knowledge of the construction answer the following:

- is the keel box above floor level a single layer of glass or 2 layers with a space between?
- what spaces are there under the floor that may hold water.
- The keel channel under the cockpit appears to have a bilge pipe glassed in, where does this pipe end under the floor space?

The boat is a 1986 build.

Any help or suggestion would be gratefully received.
Marcus Dedman 7-Dec-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL28 suspected leaking hull
Your comprehensive checks certainly point to a hull leak in that it needs pressure to leak, ie. the weight of the boat in the water.

Are you sure the keel bolt is not still leaking? This is by far the most common leak and can be difficult to stop. Mine still leaked after replacing the rubber washers/seals that fit between the bolt, nut and case. I eventually stopped the leak by filling a cut-down plastic chicken stock container with silicon and pushing it over the bolt and nut until it sealed against the centreboard case.The container was exactly the right diameter and after removing the excess silicon, I just painted over it.

On RL24s the centreboard case could flex and cause a crack along the join with the hull. This is much less likely with the '28 because of shower floor moulding strongly supports the case. However it is certainly worth checking along both sides of the case when in the water. The fix would be to put some layers of glass fibre tape of decreasing width along the join after sanding back to raw fibreglass.

The centreboard case is single thickness fibreglass.

The pipe to the bilge pump runs from just forward of the small bilge under the aft end of the front cabin bunk, covered by a small square ply cover under the floor to the pump in the aft starboard cockpit locker. Yes it is glassed in and there is no room for water as the keel is filled with heavy metal pieces and glassed over the pipe - as you have seen. So not really much space to hold 6 litres.

One other check to make - is the water there immediately on launching? I wonder if it could be a leaking transom especially if any modifications have been made in that area, say around the drain pipes from the cockpit. Presumably the transom goes underwater during launching. The transom I am referring to is of course the one on which the motor hangs in the well. The transom on the back of the boat does not serve any function for keeping water out. Though a leak here is unlikely given the apparently dry hull under the cockpit.
Keith Merkley 7-Dec-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL28 suspected leaking hull
Thanks for you thoughts Keith, they are much in line with my own. The things that puzzle me are:

-the previous outing I did have a leaking keel bolt caused by an elongation of the hole in the fibreglass. I fixed this by cutting the hole slightly larger then machining a spigot washer with a bush the size of the new hole, the whole lot installed and siliconed in place tightening just over finger tight.When leaking it would flood the front bilge. At home I flooded this area to check for leaks in the keel bolt.

- the next day out on the water the front bilge remained completely dry whilst afloat but I had the water problems aft as previously described. The front bilge has no connection to the rear bilge under the floor other than the small drain pipe which I had plugged.I know this because by sealing the drain pipe and outside keel bolt cover allowed this area including the toilet compartment to be flooded to the top of the center case above the keel bolt with no leaks found.
All this leads me to be able to rule out any leaks forward of the samson post including the toilet area/hull, keel bolt and center case in this area.

-Whilst afloat the water flowing out of the small drain below the post near the companion way slowed and then stopped whilst afloat after around 20 minutes. I only waited and hour on the water but it didn't resume flowing suggesting no leak under the floor? I might have thought being filled with metal and resin to just below the floor would leave little room for hull flex opening cracks in this area.

-All lockers were completely dry as were the 4 sail bags which are stored under the cockpit down the side and rear of this space suggesting no water had flowed there either.

The only thing I can think of is when antifouling a few months ago a large flake of filler fell of the end of the fibreglass keel. The glass underneath looked a little discoloured as if penetrated by water but looked intact. I didn't give it much more thought and antifouled it. The antifouling in this spot looks in unbroken condition. If leaking in this spot would water flow under the glassed in pipe to the bilge forward?

As you can tell I am completely bamboozled by the whole thing. I don't really want to start cutting the floor open unless I am reasonably sure the leak is there.

Any further suggestions would be gratefully received.

Marcus Dedman 7-Dec-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL28 suspected leaking hull
Problem solved I think. Another look under the cockpit found the hose from the drain from the front of the cockpit to the motor well broken off at the motor well end. The copper pipe had corroded and snapped off. As the exit is right on the water line it allowed the water observed to enter. The sail bags stored in there were dry when observed the next day but had spent the previous afternoon on a very hot day drying out completely at a guess.
Thanks Keith for your reply and advice, it was very much appreciated.
Marcus Dedman 8-Dec-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL28 suspected leaking hull
Glad you found the leak.
In answer to some of your other questions however, mine certainly has a bilge forward to the V berth locker behind the forward water tank. Sail No. 37.
By bilge I mean a space between the bottom of the boat, the hull, and the cabin sole or floor. The keel case beside the toilet is double skin, the forward part of the keel case and the bolt and steel brackets that the keel swings on is enclosed in a glass case which is separate to the step entry to the toilet. The starboard side locker behind the toilet is connected to the locker behind the V berth under the toilet floor. This in turn runs under the cabin sole and is connected to the bilge in the skeg behind the keel case with that 20mm pipe/conduit. There is a similar bilge to the port side of the keel, visible by lifting up the timber step into the little area outside the toilet. Any water that finds it way in forward, most likely through the keel pin will find it's way back to the main bilge in the skeg unless the boat is dead flat when on mine it can be heard squelching as you walk around.
Robin 9-Dec-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL28 suspected leaking hull
Thanks Robin. Thought there must be some voids in the bilge that could hold water as once afloat the water would drain out of the bilge for some time before stopping. I assume the bilge pipe glassed into the keel behind the fridge goes to a space below the floor in the bilge as once I had everything mopped up another 5 to 10 litres could be pumped out via this pipe.
Anyway, thanks again for the information, when I get back on the water after christmas I will let you know if the leak has gone.

Marcus Dedman 9-Dec-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL28 suspected leaking hull
Leak solved. The one of the drains going from the front of the cockpit to the motor well had snapped off at the copper pipe glassed into the wall of the motor well. When launching and retrieving these drains push deeper into the water allowing lots of water to enter through the broken pipe. Once afloat or on the trailer the water moved forward onto the floor and under the floor producing the leaks observed. Its a relief its not a cracked keel case! Thanks for the replies.
Marcus Dedman 28-Jan-2019    Edit    Delete 

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