Thursday, August 18, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

Water inside a sailboat is not a good thing. Yesterday we had lots inside My Obsession, and it was all over the floor.

We left Bouctouche at 6am, after skillfully (we are getting better at handling the boat!) manouevering the boat out of the berth, and were headed east. The sky was overcast but there was not very much wind. We motored out the staked channel. It was low tide so I was keeping a close eye on the deph, but there was at minimum 4 feet under our 4-and-a-half foot keel all the way out the channel. Once in the Strait there were lobster buoys to contend with and a small chop.

Now, it was not really that rough, we had been in much bigger seas, but the waves were hitting the boat in just the right way to create a bit of a roll. Every so often a wave slightly larger than the rest would hit and we would really rock side to side. It must have been one of these waves that set up just the right harmonics for the 4 litre, unopened, water jug that was sitting on the counter to take flight across the cabin. Upon hitting the floor, the jug burst and 4 litres of water went everywhere!

Now we have travelled over 1200 NM in this boat this summer and we always leave a water jug on the counter. It has never taken flight before, even when we have been in 6 to 8 foot waves. I went below and tried my best to wipe up the mess. Much of the water had completely soaked the small area rug at the foot of the stairs. I took the dripping rug and put it in the head, figuring I could run the shower sump if necessary to remove excess water from that floor. I mopped the rest of the floor as best I could. I knew that much of it had likely gone through the cracks in the floorboard and into the bilge, but there was no way I was pulling up floor boards on a rolling boat. Besides, that is what the bilge pump is for. The rest would have to wait until we stopped for the night.

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. We read, napped, listened to music and chatted. We motorsailed for awhile, but the wind was never strong. We caught enough of the current heading to Confederation Bridge that we surfed along at 8 knots. On the east side of the Bridge the seas calmed. With the sun on our stern I took the still dripping rug and laid it out to dry in Ducky, who was hanging from the davits on the stern. Talk about a fancy dinghy, with wall to wall carpeting! By 8pm we arrived at the warf at Pictou Island, having travelled 100 NM exactly that day.

Jay made a yummy chicken and rice dish and we chatted about Pictou Island with the wharfinger when she arrived to collect the $10 for tying up for the night. What an interesting place. A handful of people live on the Island. There are no services and no stores.

Finally, at 9:30pm it was time to check out the bilge. My Obsession has a series of bilge compartments that drain from one to the other. First we pulled up the one at the base of the compaionway stairs where the the water had spilled. We use this area to store pop and water. Sure enough there was water sloshing around. We pulled out all of the stored drinks and started bailing. Soon we realized we weren't making any progress.

Five minutes later we had all the floor boards up and discovered there was more than 4 litres of water in the bilge, spread through all the bilge compartments, but not enough water to activate the float valve and start the bilge pump. A small investigation led us to a loose connection at the water pump and small leak that had likely been the reason the water pump had seemed to be running more than normal the past few days. In two minutes Jay had the loose hose reattached securely and the leak eliminated. Now to clean out the bilge.

An hour later we had bailed, sponged and wiped out all the bilge areas and confirmed the bilge pump worked fine. We wiped off all the pop cans and water bottles and restored them. I once again have a dry bilge. A check this morning confirmed the leak was eliminated and that all was as should be.

This morning I moved the water jug off the counter and into the sink.
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1 comment:

  1. it was a good thing that the water bottle fell and you found the leak when you did or you would have had bigger problems.