All geared up to ride a spring tide up channel in the much improved weather expected later this week, we ended up dining on board in the yard. The cruise is off for the moment.
A trickle of salt water was running down just forward of where the rudder stock goes through the hull.
It was unclear in semi darkness, after wriggling through a hatch with a torch, where exactly the water was coming from, but best guess was a small crack in the rudder stock housing.
We did the sensible thing, and hauled the boat out again for further investigation. The leak is in an area that sees lots of stress from the rudder, so we need to have a good look inside and out to find out whether it is a symptom of something serious. We have booked a fibreglass specialist to come and investigate.
This has happened once before with Spring Fever, when we launched at Ardoran near Oban in the west of Scotland in 2012. Then it was a corroded and jammed heads outlet seacock,which had to be replaced.
Always an embarrassing and rather expensive thing to happen. In Ardoran we should have checked the seacock more carefully before launch, but this time there was no way of knowing until the boat was afloat. We noticed a tiny trickle of a few litres a month last year, could not locate the source and assumed it was something like a slightly worn rudder bearing. The boat flexes when set ashore on its keel and that could have opened up whatever small leak was there before.