My new-to-me old boat, on my first sail across the Sea of Cortez
, she began filling the bilge
about the 3rd day out of San Carlos
enroute to La Paz
. The bilge pump
hummed but didn't reduce the water
in the bilge
. I located an emergency bilge pump
in the next bilge section and pumped into a bucket a dozen or more times and tossed overboard
. At the suggestion of my crewman, an old sailing buddy and architect and builder
, I reattached the main bilge pump to the long hose used by the emergency electric pump
, and the main pump worked like a champ and had much more head
, so we could pump it into the cockpit
drains instead of a bucket a few feet higher than the pump.
Ok, so my bilge pump works like a champ, so either the hose is clogged or one of the 10 or so valves on the bilge exhaust plumbing
is closed, right?
Anyway, I decided today was bilge pump day. Tried tracing all the hoses once before so had an idea of where they ran but still didn't have the schema straight. One electric pump
, another unattached emergency electric
pump, one whale gusher and one wall-mounted manual pump.
My new slip neighbors pulled in day before yesterday, a S. African Seattle
dweller, Brian, sailing a 50' steelie he built, his second, and his crew, Arn. Brian offers help and I gratefully took it. We (he mostly) figured out how the manual pumps were plumbed and we disconnected the hose from the electric
pump and pumped into a bucket. So fine, the pump is good, the hose isn't clogged, so that left the ball valve. The handle moved normally but with screwdriver into the hole a few inches below waterline on the outside, we found it was frozen shut. Great, I'll have to haul to replace. Naw, says sage old Brian, there's ways to do it. Pull the mast
over, or place a plug
in the thru-hull on the outside. Off to the chandlery
I go, bought a packet of various sized plugs and we began taking apart the plumbing
. Got it done in about 3 hours, diagnosis to fix. There is still backflow through the bilge pump from the hoses when it shuts off, so we figure I need a check valve or flapper downstream from the pump. Brian says they are common so that's on the list.
Cruisers really are very generous folk. Barely know this guy and he was my plumber and teacher in a valuable project
. I look forward to knowing enough to pay it forward.