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Old 21-03-2019, 08:46   #1
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In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

I have another menacing issue, and I'm not sure if I should start a new thread?

This concerns the bilge.

When I ripped apart the anchor locker a few evenings ago I decided it was a good stopping point for the day, so I put my tools away. I went sailing the following day with some friends, aware of the hole at the bow for the anchor chain to drain, thinking there was small-to-no chance that any water would come in through the 1/2" hole above the water line (with nowhere to go but inside the boat), so I left it unplugged out of nothing but laziness. A few hours into a really great sail, I went into the cabin and discovered water sloshing around EVERYWHERE.

I see now what a ridiculous mistake I made that required such a simple solution (plugging the hole). There are a couple access ports to the bilge- one in the v-berth and one in the galley, so I squeegeed all of the water into those, wiped everything with towels, plugged the drain hole in the bow with earplugs, and called it good until I made it back to the marina.

My issue is this:

The water in the bilge never made its way to the stern where the main and only bilge pump is located. Several inches of seawater just sloshing around in there with nowhere to go. I reached my hands in as far as I could in every direction and discovered nothing. I ended up using a shop vac to remove all of the water- about 12 trips back and forth from the v-berth access. A friend suggested that I now rinse that all with fresh water. Worth the trouble?

It's always been bone dry in the "forward bilge," which I check frequently. Is this a matter of installing another bilge pump, somehow incorporating my saltwater wash down pump to remove water, or cutting holes in the floor to see what the bilge layout looks like? I want to be prepared if anything like this happens again.

Thanks so much in advance for any advice. Pictures soon.

Evan
Cooper Seabird 37'
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Old 21-03-2019, 08:51   #2
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

Yes, wash it out with fresh water really well then dry it with fans. It is worth it.

Yes, install a bilge pump forward if there is a sump. Install a high water alarm that you can hear from the cockpit.

Usually there are limber holes and paths to drain the different areas of the boat to the main bilge. These may be clogged with debris or growth, try to find them and clear them.
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Old 21-03-2019, 12:36   #3
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

All of what he said.

In addition, bilge pumps are like fresh fruit, they rot on the shelf. You can't have too many bilge pumps on a boat, because as they each fail, you will be glad to say "No problem we have another one that works".

"I'll only be gone for five minutes" eh, this is why some of us get a little compulsive about securing EVERYTHING in guess we get hit by a bus and the boat has to sit unattended for a couple of months.(G)
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Old 21-03-2019, 13:51   #4
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereAndBack View Post
Yes, wash it out with fresh water really well then dry it with fans. It is worth it.

Yes, install a bilge pump forward if there is a sump. Install a high water alarm that you can hear from the cockpit.

Usually there are limber holes and paths to drain the different areas of the boat to the main bilge. These may be clogged with debris or growth, try to find them and clear them.
What would happen if you don't wash it well with fresh water, is that the salt crystals remain, and create dampness from moisture in the air, making the boat forever damp, and mold-prone. This is called hygroscopy, or deliquescence, for those interested in such things.

Depending on the size of the limber holes, they can get plugged from just dirt and need to be reamed out in order to drain.

It's pretty scary to find your boat sinking! glad it all came out okay.

Ann
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Old 22-03-2019, 07:01   #5
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

Hahaha! Hi Sail and Bail - from The Great White North.

Had a similar situation in a notorious Beneteau 455 years ago. All of us charter skippers *knew* that the midships head had a seacock that was prone to siphon water onboard if left open when sailing at particular angles, but since it was the "handy" head for charter guests.... well...

Anyway, while underway on a beautiful daysail in the BVIs, I climbed down the companionway to see water sloshing around in the bilges at my feet (there was a teak honeycomb cover at the base of the stairs - which I've always thought was brilliant - you could immediately see any water ingress well before it became a problem), went immediately to the culprit seacock, closed it, then hit the auto-bilge pump. It was all sorted in a few minutes (fortunately), but I guess that's how we all formulate our "before-going-to-sea" checklists.

Glad you knew where the leak was coming from. That's always the most essential part.

And you're our there sailing her and enjoying it with friends, not just buried to your eyeballs in your refurbishing projects. Well done!

Warmly,
LitteWing
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Old 22-03-2019, 07:04   #6
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

p.s. +1 what Ann and others have said. Wash very thoroughly with fresh water and dry with fans or your boat will be wet forEVAH!
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Old 22-03-2019, 14:21   #7
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

I suggest using Salt Away to flush your bilge. Salt is pretty stubborn, especially if it has dried. Salt Away breaks the salt crystals down without scrubbing, which is necessary since salt water got into lots of places you won't be able to reach.
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Old 22-03-2019, 14:56   #8
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Re: In deep again!! Fixing one thing leads to another issue.

I think your chain locker is a disaster waiting for another chance.

My chain locker was of heavy fibreglass and its drain hole was just above the waterline. Water could slosh in and out of it--which was not great and I intended to fix it by raising the sole of the chain locker and running a pipe from a spigot in the new sole to the old drain hole, fitted with a proper through-hull.

The chain locker should be a watertight compartment, and behind it a collision bulkhead, and if there is to be a bilge pump in this area it needs to be at the base of the collision bulkhead--which is a watertight one.

There should be no way that water can come from the chain locker drain into the rest of the vessel. That is really poor design.
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