View Full Version : Help - Water in the hole!

Hugh Jarmes
17th October 2006, 03:10 AM
Can anyone help?

I discovered yesterday (after a week end racing) that the rubber 'O' ring had perished completely on the board vent plug of my SB Formula 160.

I don't know how long it has been like that but the board had taken in some water - not a lot but enough to be "wicked" up when I pushed a rolled up paper towel in. It may have only been in there for a short time but it also might have been accumulating over a longer period.

I've continued with this "wicking" and have put the board in a warm room. I've also turned the board over regularly. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Has much damage been done? Can it be undone? and if so how?

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks

17th October 2006, 05:48 AM
Hi James,
You can pretty much "dry out" your board if you use "thermal expansion" to your best advantage here.
You are already using the paper towel "wicks" and that's very good.
To get all the moisture out, a vacuum pump is the fastest and best way, but you can use simple thermal expansion" to do nearly as good a job of extracting all the moisture in the core of your board.
Let the sun do the work for you.
Put your board on something soft, top side and vent side up.
Remove the vent plug and let the board warm up in the sun.
Then when the day is starting to cool off, put the vent plug (with a new O'ring, or better still get a small fiber washer "gasket" that will fit in the vent plug counterbore) back in your board to "seal it up".
As the board cools the resuliting partial vacuum will bring more moisture up to the vent plug.
When everything is as cool as it's going to get for the evening, remove the vent plug and put another wick in it.
Repeat this process a few times and the water and water vapor in your board's core will be dried out completely.
Hope this helps,

17th October 2006, 08:44 PM
I am currently trying to do the same with my starboard.
I noticed water bubbling from the vent when it was in the shade after a days sail.
The only point of water entering could have been through the vent plug as I have been noticing that the last few sessions Ive had to turn the plug more to tighten.
I have been leaving my board out in the sun (deckside up) and tipping the board upside down every hour or so and getting drops coming out of the vent hole.
But I never thought to put the vent plug in as the temperature cools.
thanks Roger
Just a question though, why does the moisture travel to the vent plug while the board cools down?

17th October 2006, 08:50 PM
Oh and another question, would leaving your board out in the sun (vent plug out) damage it in anyway? Cause delamination? Soft spots? Cracks? Bubbles? I have never ever left my boards in direct sun light unused before and doing this to draw out the water makes me wanna cry even more:(

Hugh Jarmes
18th October 2006, 12:52 AM
Thanks Roger

Have not had any "drops" like 'Greenroom' but using your method, I am continuing to get the damp paper towel 'wicks'.

This makes me suspect that moisture has got in over a longer period than I had suspected but it is good to know that by employing your suggestion, I should be able to dry it out.

Thanks again.

P.S. who knows, it might reduce the board's weight enough to make me fast!

18th October 2006, 01:09 AM
You still wont catch me:) Shame I can't turn:(

Hope the board recovers. I don't know if it will help, but I have a dehumidifier. If you leave this in a small room with the board it might dry it a bit more.

Hugh Jarmes
18th October 2006, 01:28 AM
Thanks Phill

Didn't know you cruised this forum

Thought it was only for serious windsurfers;)

I've got it in the conservatory at the moment (much to Bridget's chagrin) The daytime temp in there is still quite warm so it should be OK - but thanks again for the offer.

I could also use that pump you bought from that XXX site. I am sure it could be used for other things:)

18th October 2006, 07:40 AM
Hi All,
Putting your board out in the sun surely won't hurt it unless you have an all EVA deck (GO-Rio-Start) in which case it might cause the deck to fade a bit.
If you know anyone with a vacuum pump, a partial vacuum (not a full one as that could cause the board to "implode") will lower the temp at which water turns to vapor and get the max. water out of your board.
Simply screw in a fitting in the vent plug, and put a partial vacuum on the interior of the board. The water and water vapor will be scked out but be sure to use some sort of catch can or vacuum filter to prevent the water and vapor from getting into the pump.
Check out: this link and work with Eva to get the right amount of vacuum to get the max. water out without any risk of "implosion".
Here's the link to the Eva Holliman's site:
Here's another link to how to get water out of your board without a vac. pump.
There's some really good info here on how to dry out your board.
Phill's offer of a dehumidifier is a good one. The dryer the air in the "chamber" were you are drying out your board, the more complete the process can be.
Hope this helps,

19th October 2006, 03:39 PM
When one of my boards had water in it, I put in in a vehicle upside down on a hot day with all windows up. That worked well. Slightly incline the board in the direction that would help the water get to the vent hole. In the afternoon when I opened up my van, the water was well on its way to bubbling out.

19th October 2006, 08:50 PM
Hi SIN909,
Are you sure you don't still have some water or moisture in your board?
By placing the vent facing down, you do indeed get the effects of gravity to drain the liquid water out of your board, but any water that turns to vapor as your board warms up goes UP into the foam as vapor rises and is not affected nearly as much by gravity as the liquid form.
The principle (using the vent plug up scenario) is that the water turns to vapor as the board heats and the expanding air inside the board "pushes" the water and water vapor to the surface where you can "wick it out" with a paper towel.
I think that placing the vent plug down would work OK at nite and when the board is cooling to allow any liquid to drain out, but for using
mild heating to push the water and vapor out, during the day, it seems having the vent plug up might be more effective.
You are correct, if you have a ding, and want the water to drain from the ding, then putting the ding at the "low point" is best.
After all liquid has drained off, then put the ding at the high point and alow your board to warm in the van.
Hope this helps,

19th October 2006, 09:49 PM
So Roger.... when you wick the vent hole with a paper towl do you just keep dipping it and taking it out and using another corner of the towl to wick or do you just leave the wick in the vent hole for a period of time?

Also you mentioned putting the board out in the sun to heat up then put the vent plug in and let it cool to draw all the water to the vent plug then when it has cooled take the plug out and wick it good;)
Can this process be done serval times a day? for instence if i put the board in the sun in the morning and it heated up and started bubbling in the vent hole, then put the vent plug in and put the board in the airconditioned house to cool right down and wick it then repeat this procees over for a number of times a day. Is this enough time for the water to draw itself to be wicked? or should this be done once in the day leaving it in the sun for all hours just before the temp drops then put the vent plug in and let it cool durring the night to be wicked?
Is this stupid to consider?
thanks for your patients Roger

20th October 2006, 06:19 AM
I put a tampon in the vent hole to absord moisture. Ask for the long skinny ones. You might get a strange look in the shop but trying to explain just makes it worse

20th October 2006, 07:55 AM
Hi Greenroom and Egor,
For Greenroom:
If you were somehow "in a hurry" to get the water out of your board, yes, you could do several cycles per day if you have good hot sunshine and a cool dry de-humidified place to allow the board to cool for a few hours.
What's actually taking place when you allow the board to "heat up" in the sun is that some percentage of the "liquid water" is converted to water vapor and this develops some "vapor pressure"
The warm moisture laden "vapor" then escapes out the vent hole due to a "pressure differential" between the captive moisture laden "vapor" and water inside your board and the normal atmospheric pressure outside your board.
As far as the "wick" is concerned, check out Eva Holiman's "The Board Lady.com" site. Eva is a well know yacht and materials engineer and she really knows all the tricks here.
Eva suggests twisting the paper towel into a wick and putting the end down in the "pool" of liquid water at the base of the vent plug hole.
This will pull the water up into the paper towel (wicking action here) and Eva further suggests placing a fan so it blows on the fanned out paper towel outside your board to turn the moisture collected by the wick into water vapor to keep the wick "drawing".
It's a good idea to leave the vent plug in for a little while after placing the board in the sun (especially when you wicked out all possible "liquid water" at the bottom of the vent hole) as this will build up a little vapor pressure (and eventually after enough cycles, simple dry air pressure) so the board will "hiss" slightly when you remove the plug. This indicates a positive vapor pressure inside the hull and that will want to escape to the lower atmospheric pressure outside the hull, carrying moisture out of the board as the moist air expands. Warm air carries significantly more moisure than cold air.
So, leave the plug sealed for a few minutes to create some pressure inside your board (not too much, only leave it in a few minutes or you risk some delamination of the skin composites from the foam) and then let that pressure carry as much moisture out of your board as possible.
Overall, if you know someone with a vacuum pump, or you can rent one, about 8 in. of vacuum should cause the vapor pressure inside your board to make the water "boil" and it will come out of the board far more quickly and effectively.
For Egor:
Amusing, but we don't want to offend the ladies that read this forum, right?
And be sure you don't get the kind that cause "Toxic Shock Syndrome".
Our boards don't need that.
Walking into the gynecologists office with your board under your arm or on your head would be even harder to explain......right?
Hope this helps

20th October 2006, 03:03 PM
Hi Roger,

I didn't weigh my board before the water got in and after it got out, although it felt quite light after the van treatment. My dark coloured van on a 90 degree day sure heats up like an oven. When I first opened the door I could see the drops coming out of the vent and hear a bubbling sound. And a good sized puddle on the rubber mat under the board. Perhaps a combination of both methods is best. (upside down first to drain the bulk of the water, and then right side up for the last bit)

hatori hanso
20th October 2006, 07:49 PM
Hi Rodger & starboard,

the situation with starboard, and pretty much every other major
manufacturer using vent plugs and o rings to water proof their board is- to be honest, a real disapointment.
the humble vent plugs design is constantly overlooked when it comes time each year, for each manufacturer to put out their latest and greatest technological sailboarding marvell. the vent plug and its basic design comprising a screw compressing a rubber o ring onto a rough moulded plastic surface/seat. continues to remain unchanged year after year.
its high time starboard (and the other players) started using some of that word, we see splashed across the top of its literature....innovation... and come up with a better, more user friendly solution.
the problem that sailors have with boards leaking through the oring/vent screw is usually either the o ring being damaged or the seat it compresses against being rough or damaged thus creating a flaw in the seal.
the very action of screwing against the o ring creates wear on the surface of the ring. 1 solution to minimise this wear is to lubricate the o ring, how ever this can create problems as well- it can cause the o ring to 'spread'within the area between the screw and the seat thus leaving small gaps for water to be sucked into the board. it must be remembered that not only gravity but a lack of air pressure within the board is working against us here.
this is not rocket science.... the use of the rubber oring in this application is completely... WRONG... the better sealing method would be a fibre washer as you suggested, but as you have already said they are not all that easy to find.
i apologise if this seems like a rant but here in a hot climate which oz is well known for, the vent in a board must be removed- especially if the board is in a vehicle. if a normal summers day reaches 35-40deg c then the inside of a parked car will be aproaching 60 deg or more.
as some one who works every day with orings and washers and the like, i think i have a reasonable understanding of how and why they work.so i am tuned to whats happening with my gear, but i worry about those who blindly screw their vents in with no idea if its water tight.
anyway thats my 2 cents worth.... a challenge for starboard :)

p.s just on that word...innovation... a New Zealand Manufacturer by the name of carbon art use a 'gortex' vent on their boards.......

20th October 2006, 08:51 PM
Yeah I agree Hatori, it does seem like there hasnt been much thought for the vent system but then again I wouldnt know where to start?
I had a good day of getting lots of water out of my board today.
I left it in the sun with a paper towl wick in it and every half hour to hour i kept taking the wick out and it would be soaked. Sometime I would come to the board and see that the paper towl was wet without even pulling it out. Hopefully most has turned into vapour? I will weigh it tomorrow as I weighed it when I bought it.
How would I know for sure if all the water is out? Or the most Im gonna get out by wicking? Eventually will the paper towl not be wet when I pull it out? Would this be the sign? Is there Another final process to do to get that little extra water out?

20th October 2006, 10:22 PM
Hello Hatori,
Well, you are preaching to the choir here.
I've been telling the guys at Starboard for a number of years that they are not using the O'ring under the vent plug in the way O'rings are designed to be used.
I've designed a number of both high and low pressure sealing systems for use aboard US Navy ships, and the designs all followed the well know and published "How an O'ring works" and "How to design a proper O'ring groove" to ensure that the O'ring seals properly.This engineering data is readily available from Parker Seal and other major O'ring producers.
You never want to "squash" an O'ring! That's not how they work.
They are only supposed to be "compressed" from their full diameter by 15%. They are designed to fit into an O'righ groove that's depth is about 85% of the cross sectional diameter of the O'ring that's going to be used.
The inside and outside diameters of the O'ring groove have a 5 deg. draft to them and the 15% compressed O'ring is designed to "just touch and seal lightly on the mid point of the O'ring groove.
Then, when you get a vacuum, the O'ring "creeps" to the inside corner of the O'ring groove and seals becuase the vacuum is pulling it into full contact with the corner. The more the vacuum, the tighter the O'ring packs into the corner and the better it seals.
When you have pressure, the pressure pushes the O'ring to the outside corner of the O'ring groove and the more pressure you have the better the O'ring seals.
It's a "dynamic" sealing system and the O'ring groove must be designed quite carefully so you get the right compression (15% approx.) and have the right diameters so the O'ring can do it's job.
Simply crushing the O'ring between too reasonably flat surfaces is a whole different type of "seal design" and that design "REQUIRES" a "flat washer like" slightly compressible "gasket" to seal the mating flat surfaces.
So, you and I are definitely on the same page here.
Not sure how we will get the folks at Starboard to see things differently though.
As far as the Goretex vents, those have been used pretty successfully in fresh water, but in salt water the microscopic holes in the Goretex membrane that allow air to pass through, but not water, tend to get plugged up with salt and the overall function of the membrane is degraded to the point that it either won't release the pressure, or it fails completely and allows water into the core of the board.
So, I'm in the process of finding some fiber "gaskets" to send to Starboard so they can spec. them, as well as modifying some vent plugs with a correctly designed "O'ring" groove.
I will do some testing to demonstrate the far better sealing and durability characteristics of the both these sealing systems, then pass the data along to Starboard to assist them in making a decision (hopefully) to change the way they seal up their boards.
Hope this helps,

20th October 2006, 10:34 PM
Hello Greenroom,
Keep putting wicks in the hole (are you fanning out the rest of the paper towel as recommended on theboardlady.com) until they start to come up dry.
Then weigh your board. It should be very close to it's original weight.
The best way to ensure the board is completely dry is to place it in a low humidity warm enviornment for several months with thel vent lug removed so it can breathe in warm dry air which will carry off moisture as vapor until the inside of your board is as dry (humidity wise) as the outside air.
You probably can't do that, but that's really the best way (short of a vacuum pump) to really dry it out.
For those of you without a vacuum source, consider getting an old freon or propane cannister.
Put a screw type valve in the top of the cannister. Go to your gasoline engined car, and find a good source of vacuum. Disconnect the vacuum hose and draw a vacuum in the cannister.
Make up a fitting or get some vacuum sealing sheet plastic and the sealing tape (thick and green normally) and pull a vaccum on the interor of your board.
It's safer if you find a vacuum gage so you don't exceed about 8-9 In. HG of vacuum and damage your boards structure.
With this system you don't need any vac. filters, as you have a throw away container, but it's good to make up a clear plastic or glass vac. "collection chamber" so you can see how much water you are drawing out of your board.
If your car makes better than 8-9 in./hg of vacuum, then b off a little until the vacuum inside your cannister is in the 8-9 in/hg range.
Hope this helps,

hatori hanso
21st October 2006, 06:01 AM
hello Rodger,
it seems i have been preaching to the converted one :) i too will look for a suitable replacement for the 'misplaced' o ring.
i think the easiest solution is of course a fibre washer it may mean having to buy a sheet of the suitable fibre and then finding the right size punches to make my own. not sure what the shape of the seat is in my isonic but if it is flat it should seal properly and as you know if/when the fibre comes in contact with water it expands thus creating an even better seal.
as for a cheap vacumn for green room, an old refrigerator compressor is ideal for pulling a vacumn, i use a glass jar as a water trap and this set up works well. i have to add i do use refrigeration gauges to adjust the rate of suction but a small sacrificial hole in the nose or tail should do as well.

21st October 2006, 07:14 AM
Sweet thanks heaps fellas, this is some awsome and useful info for me and many others out there.
Ive read and re-read all this thread to try and get as much help as possible. You guys seem to be the ones to convince starbard to do some changes and Im sure its not gonna cost anymore in production?
Spending thousands on a beloved starboard and for it to take in water from an oring breakdown can be heart wrenching:(
I have three starboards which I use all the time and I'm of to the local starboard shop today to buy new orings and vent plugs.
So what shape or slope should the vent hole in your board be?
Should it be angled in or out from the hole? Or should it be flat?
Some things I always do before scewing in the plug is the clean the vent hole from sand or salt or dirt as to have a clean surface. Then I make sure the plug itself is sand free and clean. Then when removing plug I dry the area around the vent hole of water and make sure there is no water in the mast track as sometimes this tips out and cruns into the vent hole. Its happened to me before:(
But yesturday I inspected all 3 of my orings and found 2 off them to have slight splits in them only by close examination:o
Would after market vent plugs be satisfactory for starboards?
Thanks again fellas

21st October 2006, 09:27 PM
Hi Greenroom,
I think having the board level is about the best you can do.
Maybe incline it slightly nose down so the nose is not significantly higher than the vent fitting.
The water vapor is giong to "flow" toward the lowest pressure area and that should be at the vent fitting.
As far as the O'ring damage, that's what happens to O'rings when you "squash" them flat. Not what they were designed to do at all.
Maybe don't tighten the plug so tight so you don't "squash" the O'ring
so much that it cracks or splits.
Here's a link to how an O'ring is supposed to be used as a static face seal:
Since we are using a screw thread in the middle to apply the compression to the O'ring, the groove would need to be up inside the head of the plug.
After market plugs with the correct thread size would be wonderful, but I've never been able to find one.
Hope this helps,

22nd October 2006, 07:18 PM
Yes this is all useful info thanks very much.
Its the last time I buy an after market vent plug.
As I said I went into my local starboard dealer and got TWO original vent screws! Just for some info they only cost me $7aus! Not very expensive when you think how much the board costs!?

31st October 2006, 10:10 PM
So why do some boards have vent plugs and some do not. Also why are boards made with foam that absobs water? There is foam at the lumber yard that does not absorb water and it is just as cheap as the white stuff? big Question is why with all this new shapes and technoligy have no board manufactuers made boards last longer?