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Preventing the Water Intrusion from Happening Again

Now that we had repaired the headliner, it was time to attack the source of the water. Since it was not realistic to undo all the fit/finish mistakes of the original Prout Catamarans design without being very intrusive, we focused on easier but effective repairs.

Granted, we could have undone the L-shaped companionway design and come up with some close to the current Prout Escale companionway design to kill two birds with one stone: Solve the companionway leak AND increase torsional structural rigidity. However, fairing the new companionway into the structure is well beyond my capabilities... never mind trying to match the color of the hull. So we kept the frame as is, except that we decided to drain the corner of the frame where the water accumulated.

But first we had to create a new trim frame to take the place of the teak woodwork that had rotten beyond hope. We recycled the old frame to serve as a preliminary template made out of a soft wood before graduating to teak. That way we could ensure fit and finish. In the following picture, you can see the roof and the door frame to the right. The new trim frame is also visible at the right edge of the picture. This time we were confirming perfect fit and finish of the new frame trim.

Companionway - Prout drainage system

The white paint in the picture covers the fiberglass that Prout added to drain the frame better. Their repair consisted of a PVC tube that was cut in half and mounted under the frame. The two corners of the frame were supposed to drain into this tube and exit the boat via a tunnel from the port corner of the frame to the front of the door frame (the white bulge running from the corner of the frame to the left).

You can see a hole in this drainage mechanism that I dremmeled, trying to figure out how it was assembled. At first, the white dust made me think that I had cut into gel-coat, but as it was very easy to remove the fiberglass that had been slapped into place, the tube emerged pretty quickly (big sigh of relief).

Evidently, Prout had attempted to drain the frame by drilling two extra holes to drain into the pipe. The water was then supposed to flow via the bulge to the coach roof. In theory, this was a good solution. However, Prout Catamarans apparently did not take into account that the starboard corner of the frame (i.e. the one you cannot see in the above picture) is so "low" compared to the port corner that no drainage occurs. Worse, now all water drained to the starboard corner, where the low wall ensured that the water would drain onto the headliner next.

Companionway - port Prout drain
Another view of the drain retrofit by Prout Catamarans

Had one of Prout Catamarans' rocket scientists used a readily available substance called water to see where rain tended to congregate in the companionway, a more effective solution could have been the result. If anything, Prout Catamarans could have verified the performance of the repair before re-assembling the headliner, etc. But much like the final boat assembly which occurred in Miami before the annual boat show, this repair was hurried and incomplete.

We removed the "drain retrofit" using a dremmel along with hammer and chisel (this was easy since the bond to the other fiberglass layer was poor) and have installed a replacement HDPE pipe to run from the low point in the frame to a drain in the cockpit. A bit more expensive but much more reliable. The headliner hides everything.

Now the trick was to divert water where it would do no harm. We opted to drain the water into the cockpit via one of the walls. Here are the inside and outside views of the drain exit.

New Drain - Inside viewNew Drain - Outside view

The last stop for water that drained into the companionway. A removable polyethylene pipe redirects the water from the frame down to the cockpit where it exits next to a cockpit light. Everything is epoxied and water-tight. While the Prout Catamarans warranty repair tried to defy the laws of gravity by trying to drain a lower section via a higher section without any assist, gravity is the friend of this installation. Furthermore, since the ID of the pipe is larger than that of the frame holes, we should never experience blockages. Even if they occur, the pipe is removable and easily cleaned.

Best Estimate for Time Required:
Dremmel out and remove existing drain 3 hours
Measure, create, install new teak companionway trim and backing 16 hours
Drill new drain hole at lowest point in frame, install new drain, seal 4 hours

Total 23 hours