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Boat cover leaking

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For a couple of years, I've been trying to locate the leaks that have been occurring. I found two major leaks and successfully plugged them. With last year not being in a marina, I always put a tarp over the whole boat when not in use. But with the boat going into a marina this year, I was a little concerned about what I may have missed. 

Last nights forecast called for rain so while parked in the driveway, I slept on the boat. This morning around 530am I woke up and it was raining hard. The two repaired areas were still dry as a bone. I was happy. Then I feel a drip on my foot. I get out from the cuddy and look around. Its coming from the boat cover. I keep looking around the entire area and to my astonishment, water is coming in everywhere! But not like you'd think.

Years ago, I had my boat cover undertake some repairs. The cover was showing significant wear along the snaps so the amish guy reinforced the cover all the way around with a material different than the canvas. The first problem this created is that it was so tight I could no longer snap the entire cover, more like it shrunk. I took it back and whatever he did, it loosened it up but still it wasn't right. The cover was no longer in line with the window frame snaps. The cover no longer sat firming on the frame. Large gaps between the cover and the frame. I had assumed that water was getting in via the gaps......hahha, after this mornings inspection, that ain't whats happening!

The first order of logic, is that water flows down.  Not on my boat. Its actually following the path of least resistance and flows up! None of the points of leadage is coming from between the cover and the boat. Its all flowing out from between the "new" strip and the cover. Its dripping from front to back. There are at least 10 points of entry all flowing into the boat. I have always noticed drip marks in unusual places and under the window frame and assumed in was wind driven water coming thru the gaps as described above. But that's not the case. All the water entry points are leaking between the strip and the canvas cover. Seeing this this morning explains the usual drip marks. 

I have no idea how to fix this......personally I don't think it can. I'm thinking either get a full length boat cover from West Marine [350] or choke on a new boat cover[1000+]. 

I'm not going back to the amish guy so that option is clearly out!

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What about a spray waterproofing like scotchguard or something similar? several choices online.

 

What is the difference between a "full length boat cover (350)" and a "new boat cover (1000)", one aftermarket and one Chaparral?

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After the rain ended and the sun came out, I climbed around to look things over. Now I can see why this is happening. I took a photo and tried to load it into the gallery but it won't allow it. Figures.

Anyways, I can see the water is coming through where the stitches are. It appears that the stitches, while still holding, are loose and therefore creating a hole[hundreds] for the water to enter. By the time the water creeps up and over the strip, its to far inside the boat and therefore drips into the boat, not over the side.

I had just sprayed the cover with 303 although not specifically focused along the stitches. Focusing the spray along the stitches might work. Over the years, there have been a couple of very tiny tears in the cover. Too small to patch so I rubbed a small patch of silicone sealant to plug the hole. Still holding.  I'm wondering, as a cheap way out of this, is apply the sealant to the cover along the stitches. At this point, can't see it damaging it any more than it already is. 

The difference I mentioned in WM cover vs new cover was the cost.

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Comes to a point things have to replaced.  you can opt to spend big bucks on a custom sumbrella, very nice.  Or go with a  semi custom shark skin, sumbrella etc, for a 3-400 bucks.  For me I don't travel with a cover just cock pit covers, don't really go far ever and don't want the hassle of taking a cover off at the launch or getting lost, stolen, worn out etc, so ive never wasted big bucks on a cover.  The semi jobs hold up well and do the job they were designed too.

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Take the cover to a real canvas build & repair shop.

Your description to me says a professional TIGHT / Restitch is all that is needed. He might cut  all the loose & lopesided stitches free & redo it correctly.   Cheaper & just as good as a new cover.

New cover might have a different problem.  Happens. My first 186 SSI had all the bow cover snaps in the hull a 1/2" off center line.

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Time for a new cover...

brick

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Your probably right. It just annoys me to no end because 95% of the cover is flawless. No leaks.....just the part that was fixed...:D

I guess I'll take it over to the canvas guy on Broadway and see what might be done. 

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a canvas guy can re - stitch it for you, pretty quickly(assuming no holes).

is it sunbrella, clean it good. let dry.  spray it with the protectant.  i spray a little heavier on the stitching that is over the boat, less spray on the stitching on the sides where a leak would not be a problem.

a new cockpit cover should be less than a $1000.  but its been a while since i bought one.

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On ‎5‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 4:55 PM, rreale said:

a canvas guy can re - stitch it for you, pretty quickly(assuming no holes).

is it sunbrella, clean it good. let dry.  spray it with the protectant.  i spray a little heavier on the stitching that is over the boat, less spray on the stitching on the sides where a leak would not be a problem.

a new cockpit cover should be less than a $1000.  but its been a while since i bought one.

Maybe 5 years ago, while having repairs made to cushions a Chap 23 footer was also there. Just had a new cover put on.... Nice work. From stern to the bottom of the windshield frame.....$900. I assume it will be more 5 years later.

As far as I know, this is the original cover. I had just lightly brushed off the cover and applied 303 although not heavily in the stitch area. It is working well. It is currently beading up and rolling off the cover.

Yesterday, while checking radar, I see that a line of moderate rain was headed my way. With no other options, I applied two layers of silicone sealant to the stitched areas along the window frame. The first layer I rubbed into the holes and around the stitches. The second later to cover the first layer. Then I did the same thing between the stern end of the window frame and the step into the boat. This was a really bad area. Both sides of the boat.  Then.....prayed for dry weather as long as possible so the sealant would dry.

Fortunately, it didn't begin to rain until around midnight last night with the heaviest just a few hours ago. I crawled into the boat and then crawled around.....not a drop to be found. The driest the boat has been in years.

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the 2002 186s are black Sunbrellas. Wear or color fading  is not happening in 16 years. Either boat.

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5 hours ago, cyclops2 said:

the 2002 186s are black Sunbrellas. Wear or color fading  is not happening in 16 years. Either boat.

One change I made to the new bow and cockpit covers to our 186 SSi was installing a zipper and flap where the 2 covers meet at the base of the windshield. Now works so much better at keeping rain water from entering the boat, especially where it was prone to earlier by the windshield.

Not my boat in the picture below, but helps lend an idea of what I'm talking about.

Image result for zipper on cockpit and bow cover

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I am trying to get another year or two out of my cockpit covers and bought some Gear Aid Tenacious Tape for some spots where the backing material supporting the snaps was deteriorating. It's basically tent repair tape. Might work for a situation like yours.

 

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Yesterday was a nice day so I used the 303 in areas that I didn't treat with silicone. The forecast called for moderate rain and thunderstorms this morning so I slept onboard again. I missed the first round of rain but I didn't see any puddles or wet areas on the carpet so I thought all was good.  A second round of heavy rain arrived shortly after. Water was getting in along the stitch line where 303 was used.

The amount of water that was getting in wasn't too bad. Much less than before so 303 may have reduced the amount but didn't stop it. I would guess that the stitch holes are too big for 303 to plug. it. I will put more silicone down on the stitches in critical areas.

We are good to launch.

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