So I am working on a friend's boat, prepping it to go offshore
. Boat’s a veteran racer
that won a prestigious offshore race
a couple years back and has most certainly been inspected by the Race
Committee for ORC compliance on at least one occasion during it's career and possibly more.
Boat’s on the hard
. I'm going down my little list.
1. Demo rotten portion of aft bulkhead caused by mysterious black radiator hose(?) that connects port and starboard side cockpit
2. Install timber support to repair rudder
stops rotted by mystery hose.
3. Replace mystery hose with PVC pipe.
4. Install new diaphragm
in cockpit-mounted bilge pump
5. Confirm operability of cockpit-mounted bilge pump
(bit of rainwater in bilge)
I'm standing in the cockpit
giving the pump a couple strokes and I can feel some water
, then I hear a slurping sound and get a splash of water
in the face that comes up from the cockpit drain when I look down to see the noise
The boat, as it is sitting on the hard
isn't level, so there is a little bit of water caught in an elbow
of the cockpit drains. I hear this bit splashing on the ground before it stops and I am then listening to the pump huffing dryly through the cockpit drains.
I go below and when I am looking at the bilge
pump I am noticing that the pump has been teed into the cockpit drain and that the black mystery hose was cut into the drain system to connect the port and starboard sides.
Now why on earth would someone ever do that? Make a bilge
pump into a cockpit pump? Why would they connect the two sides with this crap hose I just replaced? Why?
Well of course one of the drains must be fouled.
Sure enough I climb down and look up inside the opened seacock and can see a vintage ninetee-eighties blue plastic soda bottle cap! What the hell is that Pepsi? Orange Crush?
Mind you the boat doesn’t have a bridgedeck and a drop board is all that is keeping the water out of the companionway
. Seriously WTF is wrong with people? I mean, I can tell by looking at it that it’s vintage. For a while, back when we had oil
to burn, plastic soda bottle caps were much more robust than they are now. It's probably been stuck in there for twenty years.
I don’t know if the PO was aware of what was fouling his drains but he most certainly knew one of them was. The fact that at some point in the boat’s history
, some sort of home-madey looking cockpit drain covers were installed suggests that he did. Why he didn’t bother to fix the problem and instead chose to eliminate an important tool for getting water out of the boat is beyond me.
Total fail by the owner. Fail by the Race Committee. Fail by the guy who surveyed prior to purchase
. And frankly, fail by me for not noticing the fact that the pump was teed into the cockpit drain earlier.
My friend has had the boat for a year and we did some cruising on it last summer. The pump is a pump that moved when you stuck a handle in it. My friend only ever cleared the bilge with a second manual pump down below where he could see the bilge itself. We replaced the diaphragm
as a matter of course. I just tested it because that’s just what you do, otherwise we might never have noticed.
Does the boat have a cockpit mounted bilge pump? Of course it does! You can see it right there. Does it work? Well, why wouldn’t it?
My advice is to take nothing for granted.
Done with rant.
P.S. I don’t know how the hell I am going to get that bottle cap out. Any thoughts appreciated. Maybe vacuum it out the cockpit? I don’t know. It’s caught in a 120 elbow
about six inches above the seacock. The cockpit drain assembly is all PVC pipe (now that the mystery hose has been replaced) and my experience general with old plumbing
makes me dread having to tear it all apart.
Presumably, the bottle cap made it’s way past at least one ninety to get where it is now, if I can grab it with a grabber tool and bring it close enough to the seacock I can maybe grind it up with a Dremmel tool. I don’t think I can pull it all the way out though, for whatever reason the ID of the seacock is smaller than the pipe size.