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Water in the cabin

Gargleblaster

Well-known member
Joined
16 Dec 2003
Messages
1,144
Location
Medway, Gillingham Reach
[ QUOTE ]
He made a very interesting point that Glayva had no means of pumping the bilges when buttoned up, so he had to modify the loo! I've since realised that my own Challenger is also bereft of this ability, with my one (and currently only) bilge pump worked from the cockpit.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am slowling catching up with what has been happening in Jester Challenge communications and came across a thread about Glayva's trip to Newport and back.

In the thread Jake Kavanagh makes the above point. However I have bad news sometimes you can have so much water in the cabin that even pumps can't keep up. My first knockdown on my second attempt at JC06 followed having just removed my top stormboard to have a look around. By the amount of damage and what was damaged I believe we probably went below the horizontal - it happened so fast and Glayva came back up so quickly all I could do was hang on. As the top stormboard was out during the knockdown I ended up with about two feet of water above the cabin sole. My first thought was should I take a photo for various newletters I contribute to and for a talk a club I belong to likes me to give each year. My electric automatic bilge pump was madly pumping away I started on the manual pump instead of taking a photo but could make no discernible difference to the water. Finally I took out all the stormboards and started bailing with a three gallon bucket. Probably the hardest thing was catching the water in the bucket as it sloshed from side to side. When I had the water to around the level of the cabin sole, I discarded the bucket in favour of the manual pump and closed up the stormboards. Had a cup of tea and then went about looking for what was damaged. The only immediate thing I could do was reset my windvane steering which had been knocked off course and repair a broken babystay.
One of my rules is that just before I close my stormboards I take the 3 gallon bucket that always resides in the cockpit into the cabin. While I have other buckets in my cockpit lockers, on this occassion I was very pleased to have the bucket so readily to hand.
 
Joined
20 Jul 2001
Messages
205
Location
Southampton, UK
Hi John

Good advice about the bucket! It sounds a nightmare scenario.

I was visiting a home built boat that had sailed from Australia, and the skipper had experienced a very bad knockdown which had broken his storm boards, and the boat was lying stern-to with waves crashing below. He had a diesel pump for just this situation - set high above the sole and completely hand started. (No electrics to short out) A couple of good pulls, and it rapidly cleared the water whilst the short-handed crew improvised an emergency hatch.

'In a bad knockdown, the priority is to empty the water as fast as possible - and preferably whilst allowing you to get on with other things' he said.

After reading the graphic account of your first trip, and your improvisation of using your loo as an emergency pump, I've since designed a large pump arrangement that can be worked from inside. I'll also be carrying a spare hatchboard!

Incidentally, Colin Jarman was trying to contact you about a news feature on your Jester Atlantic success. He thinks (as do I) that you deserve 'public recognition for an amazing feat.'

Remember that we have first refusal on the full account, though, wont you!
 

Fascadale

Well-known member
Joined
15 Jan 2007
Messages
1,408
Location
One end of the A1
Hi John

Congrats on your Jester achievement.

It cetainly doesn't sound easy or straightforward.

On the subject of the knockdown.....how much effect did all that water have on the gear below?

Did the water get to your VHF or any of your other electrics?
Do you think that sort of stuff needs protection ?
What about your sleeeping bag and other clothing, was that all in a drysac ?
Salt water in the teabags ?

I know this is fairly minor stuff compared to dealing with a partially swamped boat.

Cheers

Paul
 

Gargleblaster

Well-known member
Joined
16 Dec 2003
Messages
1,144
Location
Medway, Gillingham Reach
[ QUOTE ]
how much effect did all that water have on the gear below?

[/ QUOTE ]
Because the water sloshed from side to side in the cabin basically everything got wet. Although surprisingly my toilet paper kept in the heads survived without getting wet at all. No other piece of paper survived although my books that were not packed in plastic boxes with snap on lids were readable if one treated each page with care. My bedding was a sodden mess however it was warm as I was down to 40deg North when I was knocked down and I didn't need a sleeping bag. I had bought a sinlge blow up mattress for sleeping in the cockpit in the channel and I just put that over my mattress [unblown up] to sleep on as it is velour covered plastic.
As far as the electrics were concerned everything seemed to work after it was dried out even though the water in the cabin had covered my two batterys. I didn't turn my VHF on for a few days till I saw my next ship but it was working fine. My hard wiring for my Garmin 12 had to be rewired as the positive wire had eaten itself up while under water. But I can survive without a GPS if necessary so that was not critical. My ST40 log continued to work fine although the sea temperature function has gained 20 degrees C. The only critical wiring I have is the feed to my tricolour and that was working that night and every subsequent night. Over the next few weeks the wiring for my solar panels all had to be replaced as it ate itself up at the terminals.
The only food I had that was damaged by water as it wasn't in plastic containers were some noodles. All my flour, rice, coffee, tea, porridge, muesli, baking powder survived well. The funny thing was I had dropped half a packet of muesli a couple of days before the knock down and it had made a terrible mess of my bilge with bits of oats and raisins everywhere and it defied cleaning. The knockdown and bailing seemed to get rid of 99% of the mess.
One of the issues with a knock down a lot of things that will stay in place in normal movement at sea get thrown all over the place. As I was bailing there was a lot of stuff in the water that I just threw onto a bunk ending up with a mountain of sodden mess that I then had to sort and put away. Then there are the things that go missing. My stew ladle I couldn't find for several days it had managed to get itself under the locker on the port side and it wasn't till I was getting out a bottle of water a week or so later I found it. I still can't find my favourite propelling pencil for writing my log despite an extensive search. Various other things have gone missing as well and of course some of them may have gone out with the bailing water.
 
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