After returning from my first overnighter many nautical miles ago, I was totally shagged (newbie, first long solo sail, lousy night's sleep in a rocky anchorage, then helming all day while she corkscrewed over the following seas (autohelm was buggered).
I got onto my mooring
and packed everytthing up as best I could in my comatose state, including taking out the log impeller and putting the blank bung in it's place. Left the bilge pump
turned off, as advised in my wide-eyed innocence by a d**khead who said "you'll never know if you have a leak if you leave it on all the time".
Rowing out to my darlin' three days later, I think "hmm, is she sitting a trifle low?" She sure was, and so would you be with water
a foot over the bloody floor boards! Turn on the bilge pump
, bucket like buggery into the cockpit
, then spend the next two days rinsing, drying, chucking out etc etc.
The blank wasn't leaking much, but over a few days it became a lot, and if I'd not come back for a few more days, down she'd have gone.
So my last-thing-before-disembarking routine, which I religiously observe, includes checking these things, plus the thru-hull valves and the battery
switch. Then I do it again to be sure, and when really tired have been known to do it thrice. But the d**khead was right - I knew I had a leak!