Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Leaking Caprail"
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Thread: "Leaking Caprail"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Leaking Caprail

Linda Dalton and Michael Walden

We have caulked and cetoled and everything we can think of to keep the water out of everything. Any suggestions? We are actually thinking of removing the cap rail and fiberglassing the h/d joint.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Linda and Michael,
Would you mind sharing with me what year model and hull number you are dealing with? I'm in the market for a 32 and trying to get guidance on the best years for the soundest hull to deck joints. So, if you have any input on that topic, I would be very appreciative. Also am a new WOA member. Thanks.

Tom Crank

Where exactly are you seeing the leaks? Other potential places of entry are: rubrail screws, beneath caprail and through bolt holes (caulk edge)scupper tubes, stanchion bases, chainplate bolts. While glassing the joint would be nice, at least on my boat the side of the hull is only 1/4" at the flange and this doesn't provide much area for the new glass to bond to unless you turn it out over the hull side. That of course becomes a MAJOR project.

Mike McCoy

You may not have to go to the trouble of removing your caprail (BIG job!).

I had a chronic portside aft caprail leak since the day I bought my Westsail. When it rained I could look in the galley shelving behind the stove and see a trickle of water running down the inside of the hull just aft of the scuppers. It would run down the shelves, rust up cans & fill up my pots/pans stowed in the locker outboard of the stove. Then, traveling on, it would end up dripping on me on the port seetee (at the low point, just as the sheer began its rise to the bow).

I recaulked everything and still had the leak. I was to the point of placing a couple big sponges on the shelf against the hull where the trickle was, squeezing it out every so often during a rain.

I finally pinpointed the source by squirting a waterhose on various sections of the caprail, inboard & outboard, against various fittings, etc. then running below to see if the trickle showed up.

It turned out to be the 1 1/4" jibsheet track.

Instead of removing the track I used some 'Creepy Crawly Crack sealer'. It's a very thin, runny leak sealer that is available at R/V stores in the states (another boater loaned me theirs). I just squirted it along the track edge and via 'capillary action' it would migrate under the track.

My sponge (and head) have stayed dry since.

Bud Taplin

If anyone decides to remove the caprail to better seal the hull to deck joint, it is a better idea to use 5200 or polysulphide rather than fiberglass. You will get a better seal. Apply lots of caulking, then smooth down the caulking on the top edge of the hull to deck joint so the top is completely sealed and all fasteners are covered. After the caulking has cured, water test the joint. Fit the caprail and drill the attaching holes. Lift off the caprail and apply a donut of caulking around each screw hole on the hull joint, then fasten down the caprail. Plug the screw heads with caulking and a teak bung.
Now you will have a truly watertight hull to deck joint.

Bill and Jane Shaw

I'm in the process of resealing my hull-deck joint. When I pulled the caprail I found dry cracked poly. I'm replacing it with a two-part polysulfide that seems to be working well. You can see pictures at: http://sv_galena.livejournal.com/tag/hull-deck+joint. Click on the "Read More" to see the pictures.

Rod Lawson

Bill thanks for the great photos on your website of the caprail repair. I was going to suggest in this thread that there was no need to remove the caprail to seal the hull to deck joint as I recently did a repair on mine and noted the completely sealed joint. My westsail is very different to the photos on your site. There must have been some changes to the construction method at some point. My W32 is a 1976 hull #723 and the hull to deck joint is very well sealed with little or no gap for water to penetrate. If anyone is interested you can see on my site in the December Log entry www.westsailor.com

Ryman and Suzanne Kay

The caprail on the 1974 Westsail 32 that I just purchased has some serious damage and will need to be replaced. Do you have a source for the bow and stern caprail pieces that were steam bent? Ennis Kay

Tom Crank

They aren't steam bent. They are cut from 16/4 teak. That'll be fun to find!

Bud Taplin

It is hard to find the thick teak to bandsaw out the pieces. I have the complete procedure for the caprail construction available in the Westsail 32 construction manual.
I have also made the dips from laminated thin pieces of teak. Cut a form from fir or similar wood to the shape of the dip, and clamp the pieces of teak between them.

Jeff Matthiae


You can get thick teak from Maritime Wood Products. Look in the IPE for exterior wood discussion under the In The Yard section. There is a link for the teak as well as a link to the Fluid Motion site explaining how he made the curved pieces. I also explained how I made mine.


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