We had just sailed across the bight of New York in a 20 knot headwind and then motorsailed up Delaware Bay with a square chop off the bow, so we had done quite a bit of pounding and slamming off the waves. Along the way we had discovered a bit of warm water in the bilges that tasted fresh or slightly brackish. Hmmm. We bailed it out, but in an hour it was back again. We assumed it was a leak in the hoses running from the hot water tank. We bailed the bilges a second time. A couple of hours later, as we were motoring out the entrance to the C & D Canal and into the Chesapeake Bay, we checked the bilges again and this time the warm water was covered with soot…engine exhaust. We switched off the engine, checked the manifold and then the exhaust, and soon found two cracks in the water lift muffler. Okay. We had 50 miles to go to Annapolis, where we needed to be the next morning, and a fair breeze to carry us south. Time to see about repairing the muffler.
We always carry a selection of adhesives, goops, sealants, resins, fiberglass and epoxies in case we need to patch things up. We studied the cracked muffler flanges, cleaned them thoroughly and sanded the smooth surfaces to make them rough enough for epoxy to adhere. The right tool for this job had to be Marine Tex. We had a couple of repair kits aboard, so we mixed up a cup of white epoxy, applied to the cracks liberally, and held it in place with strips of duct tape.
Sailing southward toward the Bay bridges, we ate a pleasant dinner in the cockpit at sunset and then checked our patch. The Marine Tex was hard as a rock and truly adhered to the plastic flanges. We sailed into Annapolis, and as we approached Back Creek we doused the sails, switched on the engine with crossed fingers, and motored into the creek and to our marina berth. When we checked the muffler, the patch had held and the bilge was dry. Marine Tex to the rescue again. As far as we are concerned, we wouldn’t leave port without it.