Today was the day! One of the most exciting days for me since owning Sundowner. Heavy rain has been missing for weeks but we know that won’t last so we had to act quickly. I’ve been working as much as possible since last weekend when I first removed to the caprails to get ready for caulk. Now, finally it was time to caulk the hull to deck joint.

Tate is such a good sport and husband crawling to the boat with me yet again today through all of his soreness and sunburn from yesterday’s activities. He even offered to take most of the photos. Today was my day :D.

Remember the old caulk we found under the caprail? (Click for part 1-removing the caprail)

Well I cleaned/scraped out all the old caulk in the little valley on the side and on the top as best I could with a screwdriver and paint scraper. I didn’t dig much around the hull to deck joint bolts as the old Dolphinite caulk was still soft. Then I took a 100 grit sanding block to remove the rest and prepare the surface for new caulk.

I was left with a remarkably clean joint.

I vacuumed up any debris that may have been lurking.

Then wiped the whole joint with acetone.

So then what caulk to use? 4200 and 5200 are polyurethane caulks generally with more adhesive properties then the polysulfides like Boatlife’s Lifecaulk and Sika-flex 292. We put the question in our last post, on Cruiser’s forum and I also called Bud Taplin, Mr.Westsail. The resounding recommendation was to use 5200. We were certainly wary of this as we have heard countless horror stories about 5200. Like how inflexible it can be leading to cracks and leaks years down the road. But, just perhaps, this is one of the rare situations it would be best. We swallowed our fear and went with it.

To make myself feel better I kept looking at Robert’s post where he used 5200 in the hull to deck joint of the W42 he is building. It’s a great post with pictures if anyone else needs mental support that you are doing the right thing.

I went to Home Depot to get some sanding supplies and as luck would have it I happened to find the regular cure 5200 cartridges for $11.95! They only had 4 though so I hurriedly took this price over to our local West Marine where it sells for $20 a cartridge and they graciously price matched. I bought all of the caulk we needed at a 40% discount. Let’s hope the rest of the project goes as well.

I did some quick reading on how to work with 5200 and found a fantastic trick that made this job go a lot smoother. Dip your putty knife or other tool into Mineral Spirits for a smooth caulk application. Oh yeah, this is golden.

I quickly taped the caprail seam and Tate got to work using his man hand strength to caulk both sides of the caprail.

Using a small putty knife I “tooled” (new word for me today) the caulk up under the hull to deck joint as best I could then started the big job of smoothing and leveling the caulk over the whole joint.

As I was about half way through meticulously smoothing the starboard side joint Tate announced he was almost done on the port side! What? How? Sure enough I look over and his seam is even smoother than mine and he started after me. I suppose he has some skills after all eh? The secrets of a man’s world.

Our luck continued as we only used 5 bottles of caulk.

It really started to look nice once we completed.

I removed the tape, while Tate hid in the shade away from lurking sunburns.

Most of my days recently are spent in gloves. I think the blue is a nice color. God bless those hand saving gloves. If you haven’t already go to SAMS and buy the 100 count box of latex gloves for $10. We have been using them for almost three years.

And there we have it. A nice and smooth caulked joint. If this ever leaks then so be it, the boat will leak.


We’ll wait for this to cure then decide how we want to reattach the caprails. All and all so far this has proved to not be a huge job. To date I have spent about 20 hours and $75 removing to caulking the caprails. I would have spent 60 hours to know it wouldn’t leak again. Now, onto the next project…