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Old 12-08-2007, 19:59   #1
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Cabin sole awash!

I almost forgot about this, due to my pique with other boaters...

Second to last day of the cruise. Drizzle and no wind, and the iron genny was getting us to the marina in time to freshen up and go out for dinner, but it wasn't the most exciting day to be on deck. The kid was below, playing a portable/chargeable video game since I don't let it plug in when the motor's off.

Suddenly shout from below: "There's water across the sole!"

I get on the pump and tell him to check the usual suspects-through hulls, starting with the engine and galley. After less than a minute of tension the bilge is sucking dry, and confusion is setting in. There's water on the sole, but none in the bilge? c'mon!

Then he gets to the head... someone left the pump on seawater, and it was siphoning in. The shower sump (drains to the bilge, but we don't have a shower hooked up, so...) was clogged with detritus, and the water was pouring over the lip and onto the cabin sole. The lip of the bowl is about an inch above water level, so it's probably been sloshing about for a while, until the weight in the sump and bowl were enough to have a steady trickle.

Well, it was a relief that it was nothing serious; wet socks and a pillow which ended up in the soup while rushing about. And a mess of gunk I pulled out of the sump's drain.

Oh, and nobody would 'fess up to using the head, so skipper takes responsibility for this one.
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Old 13-08-2007, 00:03   #2
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The unthinkable!

Since it's confession time, I may as well join in...........after a difficult beat back to our mooring at dusk, Angie and I tidied the boat (Top Hat 25), switched/turned everything off (or so we thought!) and went ashore. Next day was a fresh onshore wind, so we decided to take a drive (45minutes) & check on the boat. She seemed to be pitching deeper than usual in the 2'-3' sloppy conditions but we didn't have the dinghy with us and it was almost dark! What to do? Drive home and get it, of course! By the time I got out to her I could see something "wasn't quite right"..........opening the hatch and shining the torch in, I was greeted with every skipper's worst nightmare: water a foot deep across the cabin sole, caused by (we found after an hour of frantic bailing) an open toilet seacock causing an occasional trickle with each pitching movement, which progressed to a steady syphon (no gooseneck on the pipe, due to central v-berth location. It was an expensive (flooded starter motor, etc) exercise, but would have been disastrous if I hadn't gone home to get the dinghy!! I certainly double-check all switches & seacocks now. Oh yes, it was the skipper's fault!
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Old 13-08-2007, 05:27   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine
someone left the pump on seawater, and it was siphoning in.
That is one hazzard I never even considered. Hats off to you folks who have large "crew" (read kids or others) who may leave items in a less than seaworthy state.

I'd say this is less of a "sailor's" confessional and more of a "crew's" confessional.

Good deduction skills and problem aversion skills in fixing the problem.
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Old 20-10-2007, 16:01   #4
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Sinking? or not?

My brother called in a panic from his new (used) boat as he was motorsailing down the coast of New Jersey. "There's water over the floorboards! What do I do?" I asked, "Is it fresh or salt water?" A pause. "Fresh." Something had fallen into his pressure water lever in the head sink (with small drain) and drained his main water tank into the boat. (He says that turning off the pressure water is now part of his start-up procedure.)

Not to be outdone, a few days later, I neglected to double-check that I had securely latched the in-hull porthole above my vee-berth on our little trawler. As we drove through the huge wake of a Seaplow 57 which passed us at full power and HUGE wake in a narrow channel in North Carolina, we took in MANY gallons of SEA water over my bunk and all the linens stored under it. MEA CULPA! Two days later, we are still drying out. Maybe next time I'll pay more attention to the big red sign, "CLOSE PORTS!" that I painted above the ignition key.
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Old 20-10-2007, 16:46   #5
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There is a little lever on the side of our head pump. One position lets water come in, and the other position lets you pump the head dry.

On at least two occasions, we have had the toilet bowl overflow after we have pumped it dry and gone about our business on board. Next thing we know, we hear the loud noise of the bilge pump kicking in. Hmm. Check the head, and there is water in the head overflowing and running into the bilge.

On both occasions the problem was similar. When you flip the lever to pump the head dry, sometimes a minnow gets impaled by the valve as it is closed and the simple valve doesn't close all the way. The same things happens in debris infested water. Pieces of vegetable debris get sucked into the intake, and keep the intake valve from closing all the way, and slowly the toilet overflows with water.

At least we now know what to do. Open up the head pump and remove the debris and everything is quickly back to normal.
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Old 20-10-2007, 18:54   #6
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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
. The same things happens in debris infested water. Pieces of vegetable debris get sucked into the intake,
I took it for granted that intakes would have screens on them.

Not normal?

Why?

Screens become clogged??
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Old 20-10-2007, 21:48   #7
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Our head intakes don't have any screens, and I've never had a sailboat with screens on the head intakes. In my experience, screens would rapidly be overwhelmed with marine growth if they were on the outside of the hull.

The only screens I have are on the salt water cooling system for the engine, and those screens periodically must be cleaned. I had an engine temperature alarm go off just as I was getting ready to sail across the Singapore Strait where a ship goes by every 4 minutes. Not a good place to have to shut down an engine. We stayed out of the straits for a couple of minutes while I went down, pulled the filter, and cleaned it. Then I went to the other engine and did the same thing as it was clogged from debris and trash from the Java Sea as well.
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Old 21-10-2007, 05:07   #8
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There's a trade-off. External screens can get clogged with debris or barnacles, requiring a diver to clear them. Internal strainers and/or filters can be cleared from INSIDE the boat if they clog.
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Old 21-10-2007, 06:44   #9
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I was (in a strange way) glad to hear about the minnow jamming the "dry" lever on the head.

An old-timer gave me some advice and I spent most of a day running tubing and installing a ball valve in the head intake line right near the seat. I didn't want to worry about the head lever doing it's job but I didn't have any evidence to back up the old-timers advice until now.

Now, if only I could remember the other things he told me, I'd probably save a lot of learning things the hard way....
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Old 21-10-2007, 20:50   #10
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Glad to hear no sinkings due to overflowing heads however, the solution to always prevent this that is employed on our boat is the seacock is always closed - crew and guests are given a thorough lesson and demonstrtation on it's usage before the boat leaves the dock and when the head is used, I always ask the attendee to be sure they open the seacock before use - #2 only - dry pump position if # 1 and was it closed afterward.

I believe that diligence is the only sure way to prevent these problems. The same goes for any sink drains and a/c seacocks etc.
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Old 22-10-2007, 13:46   #11
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Delivering a charter boat to the BVI once and had a similar problem. Jumped out of the sack and into 6 in. water on the sole. Seems the clean up gal hired by the owner had a small child. While working on the interior she had her toddler with here and left a few used Pampers tucked in the bilge. The soggy mash got clogged in the foot valve and anti siphon valve and I am up to my ankles in a very unpleasent primordial oze. All paper products go in a zip bag on my boat with no exceptions.
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Old 22-10-2007, 18:36   #12
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Flooded my old Pearson 10-meter Rover exactly the same way. I had a vented loop that went WAY up above the waterline, and she still siponed (guess the vent was clogged). Very scary for awhile.
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