The Petrel Project - Update 1

In my previous post, I talked about how water was entering the cockpit while sailing. The cockpit drain plugs have been disassembled, gone through a rust removal process (brushed, sanded, WD40), and reassembled. After a recent bit of rain, however, it appears that they were not the source of the leak. Even with the inside of the boat dry, water is dripping from the bottom of the boat around the area of the centerboard trunk.

A closer inspection showed that a section of the floor is pushed up. When you push down on it, water exits from one of the seams. So, the flotation foam is saturated, and water is able to flow both in and out of the boat via this route. Since the boat did not leak last year, winter ice must have done the damage.

Water leaking out. It looks like the hull was patched before.

This could be a scary repair, requiring drilling out rivets and partially dismantling the boat to get at the problem. That is not something I want to tackle this summer, so my next challenge will be to find the source of the leak, and just patch it for this summer.

Water is entering along this seam.

In the meantime, the Petrel will have to stay parked until I get time to work on it later in the summer.


The Petrel Project

If you have not already read Serenity's Little SisterPetrel Mine or Alcan Petrel 951 Sailing Dinghy, here is the short version... In the autumn of 2014 I bought a 12' aluminum Petrel dinghy. It was late in the season, and so it was just put away for the winter.

For the spring of 2015, it received a new trailer. The dinghy came on a sledge which could be hauled around a marine yard, but I needed the boat capable of travelling on the highway. After looking at available options, I decided to wait for the Stirling at Canadian Tire to go on sale. It turned out to be a reasonable fit.

With a 20' mast, a method of carrying something that long was required. On May 17 the trailer got a prototype mast stand which allows it to extend up over the pan of the truck. For a different vehicle this might not work, but the solution is easily modified.

With the boat now mobile, it was time for a test sail. Fortunately, there is a small pond at the end of my street.

Woolfrey's Pond, May 17 - photo by Dave Leyden

The wind was gusty, ranging from barely enough to keep moving, to a few seconds of zipping along nicely. The jib had been rigged, but the boat was taking on water, and I didn't want the extra distraction when I had to be bailing every few minutes. The leak was probably from the cockpit drain plugs. Inspecting them is now on the list of tasks. At least the boat is semi-functional.