While waiting for the weather, we had plenty of time on our hands.

I was still baffled by the stuffing box. While tied up, without the engine running, the leak all but vanished. But after a day or two with overcast conditions, I had to run the engine to charge the batteries.

Hang on…. why is there water coming in? If the problem leak is in the stuffing box, surely that would manifest itself when the gearbox was engaged, not just with the engine running. Now, of course, we’re anchored, and the boat’s not being tossed about, and things are clearer in the engine compartment. So …. where’s that trickle coming from?

I worked backwards from the puddle and into the stern of the boat. The engine uses seawater as part of the cooling system and spits it out from a pipe a little in front of the transom, and above the waterline. Not realising I was capable of getting into such small openings, I was finally able to trace the leak to a split in the rubber exhaust hose, about two inches from where it disgorges the water overboard.

I left the whole lot to dry overnight and next morning did the old Sycoflex + duct tape + cable ties trick around the business end of the exhaust. It’s not under pressure, so all it has to do is stop water from leaking inside the boat.

Later in the day, when the sycoflex had had sufficient time to set, I started the engine…… wait for it ….. drum roll ….. dry as a bone!

The problem wasn’t the stuffing box at all, it was the exhaust.

This boating thing is a serious learning curve!

But wait, there’s more……

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