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Fixing Leaks at Toe rail to decks.?? Advice Tom Y Maybe??

Dec 4, 2007
52
Hodgdon Bros. Alden Caravelle Seabrook, Texas
Like all of us I kind of like a dry boat. ...It won't ever be dusty dry but one can dream of dusty bilges.

Right now I've got a few leaks along the toe rail and a couple of leaks at stanchion bases that I'm working on. Any advice on fixing toe rail leaks other than pulling the whole thing up and refastening and rebedding (a very large job that I'm not ready to take on) The most annoying of the bunch is in the cabinets in the galley. ...nothing like wet groceries. The leaks are minor but an annoyance. I'm also scared because I'm about to put down new jib tracks that will be through bolted along the toe rail/decks creating potential new leaks. Those I think with butyl tape and such I am hopeful end up being OK.

Thanks in advance.
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,394
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
Sorry Jayz to be the bearer of bad news, but.... Our previous boat Silverheels is a Pearson 39 yawl. She has a beautiful 2-1/2 inch high teak toe rail. We owned her for 23 years and redid the toe rail twice, at great expense. With us it was more appearance than leaks, but you cannot fix either without removing the toe rail completely, and sealing and reinstalling, or installing new. The appearance deteriorates because water intrudes beneath the toe rail and is absorbed, causing the varnish to blacken, then lose adhesion and turn yellow. But that same mechanism leads to leaks below.In my experience, a bead of caulking along the deck-toe rail joint may work for a time, but looks awful. Really, in my experience, the only way to have a satisfactory outcome is to remove and replace.
Sorry,
Rick
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,191
Hunter 27_75-84 Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
Two ways have worked for me:

1. Tightening the nuts on the bolts that hold the aluminum toerail down. With the right tools and some interesting contortions I can reach 95% of the nuts. This gave substantial improvement until I tried 2.

2. Tired of doing 1 every spring, and after a lot of thought about the toerail configuration on my Hunter 27, I laid a bead on 5200 along the inner edge of the toerail where it meets the deck. On my boat, this proved to be a 100% solution! It has lasted 5 years, and I will renew it this spring.

Not sure these will work on your boat, so they are offered as my experience.
 

Ted

Jan 26, 2005
1,119
C&C 110 Bay Shore, Long Island, NY
The leaks coming from your toerail may be causing other problems bigger than wet groceries. The holes from the fasteners holding your toerail in place also penetrate the deck. If there is a leak at any of those fasteners, there is a very good chance that your deck may have moisture issues at those locations if your boat has a cored deck. Fix those leaks properly as soon as possible. Alden Caravelle, beautiful boat.
 
Dec 4, 2007
52
Hodgdon Bros. Alden Caravelle Seabrook, Texas
Sorry Jayz to be the bearer of bad news, but.... Our previous boat Silverheels is a Pearson 39 yawl. She has a beautiful 2-1/2 inch high teak toe rail. We owned her for 23 years and redid the toe rail twice, at great expense. With us it was more appearance than leaks, but you cannot fix either without removing the toe rail completely, and sealing and reinstalling, or installing new. The appearance deteriorates because water intrudes beneath the toe rail and is absorbed, causing the varnish to blacken, then lose adhesion and turn yellow. But that same mechanism leads to leaks below.In my experience, a bead of caulking along the deck-toe rail joint may work for a time, but looks awful. Really, in my experience, the only way to have a satisfactory outcome is to remove and replace.
Sorry,
Rick
Thanks Rick. I know the Pearson 39 yawl and they are beautiful boats. The toe rail will hold varnish pretty well but I've had a few black spots show up here and there. I don't think I'm prepared to attempt to pull the entire toe rail off at this point so hopefully I can come up with a fix and isolate any leaks to the best of my ability. I don't mind replacing a few fasteners ...
 
Dec 4, 2007
52
Hodgdon Bros. Alden Caravelle Seabrook, Texas
The leaks coming from your toerail may be causing other problems bigger than wet groceries. The holes from the fasteners holding your toerail in place also penetrate the deck. If there is a leak at any of those fasteners, there is a very good chance that your deck may have moisture issues at those locations if your boat has a cored deck. Fix those leaks properly as soon as possible. Alden Caravelle, beautiful boat.
Thanks Ted. Luckily the decks at the edge where any penetrations occur are not cored. The wide expanses are cored but no penetrations in those areas.
 

Ted

Jan 26, 2005
1,119
C&C 110 Bay Shore, Long Island, NY
Thanks Ted. Luckily the decks at the edge where any penetrations occur are not cored. The wide expanses are cored but no penetrations in those areas.
That's a great construction detail. C&C's have the same detail. In that case, can you seal the leak from below? Two thoughts come to mind if the toerail fasteners are through bolts with washers and nuts.
1. Maybe you can add an "O" Ring to the fastener between the underside of the deck and the washer.
2. Wrap the fastener with a small rolled up length of butyl tape before installing the washer and nut.
I personally like the butyl tape solution because it would make a better seal on the fastener threads preventing water from following the threads and possibly allowing minor drips.
 
Last edited:

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Like all of us I kind of like a dry boat. ...It won't ever be dusty dry but one can dream of dusty bilges.

Right now I've got a few leaks along the toe rail and a couple of leaks at stanchion bases that I'm working on. Any advice on fixing toe rail leaks other than pulling the whole thing up and refastening and rebedding (a very large job that I'm not ready to take on) The most annoying of the bunch is in the cabinets in the galley. ...nothing like wet groceries. The leaks are minor but an annoyance. I'm also scared because I'm about to put down new jib tracks that will be through bolted along the toe rail/decks creating potential new leaks. Those I think with butyl tape and such I am hopeful end up being OK.

Thanks in advance.
I'm at a loss as I haven't had any leaks in that area. At least none that are visible or collect in any lockers. Around the galley, I suppose that is where the genoa tracks are located? If you did find the exact location, it might be worth it to pull a few plugs and tighten those fasteners down?
Plus you say you're replacing the genoa tracks. Maybe you'll be exposing the fasteners in the leaking area. If you found them a bit loose, drawing the toe rail back down might help.

The original sealants used, that I can see from below in my boat, are still pliable. They may seal by taking the fasteners up a bit at the leaks. Worth a try as opposed to removing the toe rails.
 
Dec 4, 2007
52
Hodgdon Bros. Alden Caravelle Seabrook, Texas
I'm at a loss as I haven't had any leaks in that area. At least none that are visible or collect in any lockers. Around the galley, I suppose that is where the genoa tracks are located? If you did find the exact location, it might be worth it to pull a few plugs and tighten those fasteners down?
Plus you say you're replacing the genoa tracks. Maybe you'll be exposing the fasteners in the leaking area. If you found them a bit loose, drawing the toe rail back down might help.

The original sealants used, that I can see from below in my boat, are still pliable. They may seal by taking the fasteners up a bit at the leaks. Worth a try as opposed to removing the toe rails.

I'm leaning towards pulling the toe rail from about the aft lowers and back and rebedding and/or replacing where necassary. I think I'd rather do it now rather than after replacing and thru-bolting the jib track.
 
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