Big day today, we launched our Angelman Sea Spirit after completing stage one of the restoration we started on April Fools Day! Basically the hull and masts were stripped back to the bare wood, bad planks and frames replaced, all seams recaulked and filled, interior defungused and glooped (technical terms I learnt recently.) and the bilge and cupboards were painted. We gave it a nice paint job and serviced / added through holes and sea cocks and stuffing box.
So, the big debate on the yard, how much would it leak? The pros told us that the wood had shrunk in the sun and we should expect a serious amount of weepage; we, the novices with just our intuition, commonsense and hope to go on, couldn't envisage how any water could get in, because surely dry wood (with all joints sealed) would swell and become even more water tight. I know nothing, but I assume a boat is like a wooden barrel, and they don't / can't leak if put together properly?
Nobody lost their bet! For the first 15 minutes in water, to everyone's amazement, it stayed bone dry. Yeehah. Then we spotted a couple of tear drops on the starboard side. 2 hours later there was still not enough water to reach the bilge pump. At 3 hours we scooped out 3 pints of water using a plastic cup, and since then the bilge has been totally dry.
At this point, we are happy to be aboard a mastless sailing boat. We are also quietly optimistic that we have the makings of a wooden boat that doesn't leak by default, bobbing in a marina. Having read some posts here, it sounds like the expectation of a leaky wooden boat is a modern phenomenon, and maybe an automatic bilge pump has become the surrogate for regular maintenance?
If we dont deal with the decks before the winter, then water will get in, but so far...