Fixing Leaks – Dorade Vent edition

The dorades in our boat must have leaked from the first rainfall or saltwater splash. When we started going through the boat with toothpicks we realized the ceiling in the bathroom was completely saturated with water and soft. We ripped it out since there was no possibility to salvage it and it looked terrible.

With the ceiling off we went above deck to inspect the dorades we found holes directly into the bathroom, one about the size of a dime and another about one inch long by half a centimeter. No wonder our bathroom ceiling was saturated and our bulkheads had popped and de-laminated! (On a side note, I’ve never said “de-laminated” or “water intrusion” so often in my life. I hope these words become less and less a part of my day to day vocabulary.)

Another design flaw with the dorades is that the floor (where the holes in the boat are) is lower than the exit point for water. So water enters the dorades through rain falling or salt water spray and sits without anywhere to go but inside the boat.

*Shakes head and sighs*

We thought to grind and re-glass the floor of the dorades, which would stop the dreaded water intrusion but still leave us with standing water in the dorade. Over mediocre Mexican food one night we came up with the idea to place closed cell foam into the dorade and glass over this to create a new bottom and raise the floor enough to be able to drill a new exit point for water. Aha! We abandoned the original water exit point by filling with epoxy.

It turned out great and was a relatively quick solution to a big point of water intrusion on the boat. We felt quite smug. 🙂

We then had to re-glue a new piece of plywood to replace the rotten one. The final result looks fantastic and we know no more leaks from this point, ever!

Dorade with new drain.
Dorade with new drain.
New dorade bottom - fiberglass over closed cell foam.
New dorade bottom – fiberglass over closed cell foam.
Re-gluing new piece of plywood on ceiling. Tricky part was finding enough braces to hold it in place following contours of the boat
Re-gluing new piece of plywood on the ceiling. The tricky part was finding enough braces to hold it in place following contours of the boat
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6 Responses
  1. Peter A. Green

    …… I always thought that leak was coming from the hatch, hence the replacing twice! glad to hear that you have eventually found and repaired the problem. Fantastic work!

  2. Andrea

    Thanks for the useful info and clever idea to fix the dorade issue. Where are you guys now? Already on your way to desolation sound, up north?
    Looking forward to see pictures of your summer cruise.

    1. Emmanuel

      Hi Andrea, We just arrived in Victoria, BC and have access to Wifi. Blog updates coming soon. Leela is performing flawlessly!!

  3. Emma

    Hi Emmanuel,
    Very happy to see you have breathed new life into #4 and are out sailing.
    The opening picture on your page, with the water sluicing past is perfect.
    I have the Union 36 version of this boat (if I believe the specs in the various data bases, that means it’s slightly longer, which started with hull #111), and am sorting whether it can be put right again after it was caught in some evil at a boat yard that was eventually shutdown, by city & feds. Anyway enough of that, glad to see you are out there. I’m looking forward to checking out your project info to see if it will help solve any riddles for me. If I can be of any help to you, let me know, am in the SF Bay area. E.

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