Hello:

Quick question. My 71 Grand Banks with mahogany planking has been out of the water for 2 years. I put it in the water to soak up for a weekend in the straps, and the seams did start to close a little, but not enough to allow the boat to float. I had 7 pumps going putting out about 20,000 gallons an hour. I could tell the seams were getting narrower due to the fact that we were able to lower the boat every few hours, and were able to get it down to the water line.

The question is when is it safe to add cotton to the seams as some of my cotton is missing (hence the flooding), and the red sealer on top of the cotton (i am assuming it is dried out Interlux 30) is hard as a rock, and should that be removed and replaced?

I hear conflicting stories and it seams like there is a catch 22 sometimes. People build wood boats and the wood get dry and they cock the boat before it goes into the water. Other say don't cock a dry boat. At some time the boat has to get cocked as people can't put a massive wooden boat in the water just to put it back out to put in cotton and seam sealer. Now I understand about putting too much cotton in, and forcing it in all the way until it comes out the back of the plank, but if you watched the caulking of Tally Ho, they put several layers of caulking in the boat to get her corked up and I think those planks were a bit dry.

So what is right and what is a no no? These seams have to be address, and I can't just swell up the boat and then put in missing cotton. There must be a procedure to help a wooden boat with semi dry wood that has cotton missing in some of the planks.

Peace and thank you for your time in this matter.