View Full Version : 1959 Cruisers, Inc - Would you believe leaks?
05-02-2007, 02:16 PM
I bought this boat on a whim - sounds familiar. It seemed sound and still sounds good, but did it ever leak when I finally got it in the water the other day. The old fat fifty really tore out after starting on first try. Trouble was noticed quickly as water started to flow in faster than the bilge pump could keep up. Back to the launch and out of the water.
I have now pulled the floor boards and the keel feels sound as do the ribs and bilge panels adjacent to the keel. I poured in water and watched it come out around the "false" keel. (I assume this is just bolted through). It was previously caulked and that is coming away.
I am considering drying it out good and recaulking with some high quality stuff, but I also am considering removing this keel strip and putting another on. The boat needs a new varnish on top (painted below) and before I spend that time, I want to have it float. Any and all suggestions welcome.
05-02-2007, 02:19 PM
Wooden boat weep.... They all do.. Can you post pictures....? I know.. I ain'tr good on doing that either but seeing what is there and being able to give advice helps.
05-02-2007, 02:23 PM
I just learned to post - now you want me to learn how to post pictures. I'll try but it might be awhile. The water was just pouring in. I don't think it would swell shut to any appreciable degree.
Maybe I should just run water in it and see if it slows down???
05-02-2007, 02:38 PM
I have a good friend who also has a 1959 Cruisers runabout. He and I were talking about his boat the other concerning leaks. He usually keeps his on a trailer and says it leaks 'a lot' for about 24 hours. After that, the laps in the plywood seem to take up a bit and the seepage slows down to something more managable. Maybe yours will do the same?
Filling a boat with water while it's on a trailer is a Really Bad Idea. It's very easy to damage the hull that way.
05-02-2007, 02:54 PM
Just the sort of info I need! If I were to fill it with water, I'm talking just running a hose into it and keeping maybe 6" of water in the bilge to see if the leaks will slow down. Otherwise I have to take it to the lake, launch, tie it up and pray it doesn't sink entirely. I don't think I have leaks along the laps. It appears to be the keel strip.
05-02-2007, 03:00 PM
Even 6" of water could cause a lot of trouble. Wet canvas or towels are a better idea.
05-02-2007, 03:06 PM
My friend replaced his keel before he started using the boat.
DO NOT put even 6" of water in the boat. The wet towels or canvas idea is nowhere near as fraught with danger as the water hose.
05-02-2007, 04:10 PM
Are all the plugs in it? Bad thru-hulls? Seriously ... check. Happens all the time.
Did you get a survey?
She will prolly soak up soon ...
05-02-2007, 04:17 PM
It's pretty obvious the water is coming in along the sides of the keel strip. Especially near the bow. No surveyors locally and I didn't pay much for the boat, so not really worried about it. I just would like a wood boat to putz around the lakes. If I have to use a motor, might as well be a pretty boat! I'd rather sail but wind is too fluky so the boat sailboat left last year.
What's the big deal about keeping water out while on trailer. It sure took on a bunch when I put it in the water. There wouldn't be that much weight and it's dry here in Idaho in the summer.
05-02-2007, 04:27 PM
Well, a cubic foot of water weighs about 62 pounds ... so if you have a16 foot boat with six inches of water ... so imagine roughly 70-90 cubic feet of water ... that's 4200 to 5500 pounds of water in your boat ... that's enough to punch right through the trailer supports ... twist and bend your boat in do irreperable damage ...
I doubt your boat displaces that much!
Filling with water while in the water puts no pressure on the hull ...
05-02-2007, 04:42 PM
The whole structure of a boat is designed around resisting water pressure from the outside pressing in. Water on the inside pressing out, especially in a boat that is only supported in isolated spots, as on a trailer, will quickly damage the structure of the boat, because it is not designed to take that sort of stress.
Don't be temped to leave the hose trickling inside the boat either, because if the seams swell up then before you know it you'll be filling the boat with water and will blow something out...
05-02-2007, 05:09 PM
I knew a guy who bought a boat and wanted to check for leaks. He filled it with water while checking for leaks. In short order it flattened out! Now he has a foldaboat. ;)
S/V Laura Ellen
05-02-2007, 05:17 PM
It wouldn't surprise me to hear that a single bilge pump could keep up with the water coming in. If the boat has been dried out for a while it may take a day or two to swell up. I've seen boats go into the water with multiple sump pumps running full blast for the first day.
05-02-2007, 09:18 PM
When I pulled it out of the water, there was more than 6" of water in the boat. I let it drain for quite a bit before driving off. By my calculations:
Using my old math Volume = 1/2 base x height x length since this is a triangular cross section of water. Using a 12" width, 6" depth, 16 feet of length: 1/2 x .5 x 1 x 16 = 4 cubic feet of water. Okay, lets say 5 cubic feet of water at 62 lbs per, that is 300 pounds of water over the whole length of the boat. When I stand in the boat (on the trailer), I'm putting 170 lbs on my two "square" feet. Somehow the math isn't coming out the same.
By the way - I never suggested filling the boat totally.
05-02-2007, 09:38 PM
Get a garden hose sprayer and set to mist,leave the drain plugs out?
05-02-2007, 10:23 PM
I was simply assuming 6" over the entire bilge area ... not just a strip down the middle ...
pipefitter has a good idea!
05-02-2007, 11:50 PM
Yes, you may be able to get away with putting 6" of water in the boat (n.b. I suspect your figure of 300 pounds may be low -- most small runabouts have fairly flat bilges and so taking the cross section as triangle is likely to underestimate the volume). NOTE: I just re-read your math post and if, indeed, a 6" depth of water is only 12" wide in this boat then no, you'll probably not have a problem. 6" of water in many small runabouts would mean more on the order of 4 to 5 feet of water from side to side (so 4 x 0.5 x 16 x 0.5 X 62 = 992 lbs). This boat has a most unusual shape if 6" of water is only 12" wide.
All of that said, the other problem you are going to have is that until it swells up your going to have to keep adding water and you won't able to do that automatically because you'll have to slow down as the rate of leaking slows down. So, I think you'll find it both safer and more effective to use wet towels or something similar.
A key point to consider is swelling the wood up once won't do you any good if you then plan to leave the boat on the trailer regularly between outings. So, if your plan is to keep the boat on the trailer most of the time, you may need to do something to try to tighten up the joints beyond just try to swell up the wood.
Andreas Jordahl Rhude
05-03-2007, 07:28 AM
Ethac - welcome and welcome to the world of wooden lapstrake power boats. This 1959 Cruisers, Inc. should NOT leak. They were not designed nor built to leak. My 1957 Thompson Bros. 16'-7" Sea Lancer does NOT leak. This is the same design and construction as your boat. Cruisers, Inc. was a Thompson spin-off.
As you suspect and I agree, the keel and outer stem are probably leaking. A very simple solution is to remove the outer keel (it's screwed into the planking and keelson from the outside of the boat), clean and dry everything. Recaulk with a flexible marine caulk (Boat Life Life Caulk is one brand - do not use an adhesive such as 3M5200). Seal everything. Prime paint all surfaces. Butter the back of the keel with caulk and reattach it. Make a nice smooth fillet with the ooozzed out caulk. Fill the countersunk screws. Sand. Repaint.
There is an entire issue of "The Thompson Dockside" newsletter devoted to the topic of leaky lapstrake boats and how to solve the problem.
www.thompsondockside.com is the place to go for information about this boat.
I am keeping a database of Thomspon and Cruisers, Inc. et.al. boats. What is the hull ID stamped into the wood of the transom, inside the boat?
Andreas Jordahl Rhude
Founder & President
Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally, Inc.
a non-profit corporation
05-03-2007, 07:29 AM
This is a plywood lapstrake boat clench nailed through the laps, right? If so it shouldn't leak much when dry. Careful joints at the faying surfaces, very closely spaced fasteners and seam compound work together to keep the water out.
Carvel boats swell shut because the planks get wider as they absorb moisture. No such mechanism for lapstrake.
You said the water seems to be coming out around the false keel. I suspect the garboard (bilge panel?) joint to the keel is loose and probably rotten. (The false keep isn't there to keep the water out, its for abrasion resistance and strength.)
Andreas Jordahl Rhude
05-03-2007, 07:35 AM
She is plywood lapstrake - but not clench nailed. The planking is screwed to the ribs. The planking is machine bolted with "stove bolts" to each other.
05-03-2007, 10:47 AM
I really appreciate your input. All of it gives me more info on my boat. I am a bit of a devil's advocate so will resist ideas initially. Maybe it's my German-Scots-Irish-Welsh-American background - you choose.
I still do not think the water is coming in along the laps. Sooo, it looks like I need to take the keel strip off, check for rot in the panels and decide from there. No big deal if I just end up replacing the keel strip with new wood, caulk, etc. I figured the keel strip was mainly sacrificial. I'll try to post some pictures when I get the strip off.
05-03-2007, 11:04 AM
As those who haves said, water IN the boat while on the trailer will weigh so much that it is sure to dammage the boat.
Pipefitter has the right idea...
We used to take a soaker hose, you know the hiose with little holes every 6 inches or so, and place it at waterline level inside the boat.
Leave the plug out and turn on the hose so it just keeps eveything wet.
05-03-2007, 12:54 PM
Actually, the boat is trash ... just let me know where to pick her up! :D
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