Saturday, 5 May 2012

Leaky Blues

Woke up this morning and what did I find?

Breakfast. Real coffee. Ramsgate Marina office. (Good loos, no restaurant but lots of pubs and a yacht club up on the hill)

And then back to Vagabond to find the floorboards floating.

Well, almost. I thought the boat felt damp, so I checked the bilges - quelle horreur - they were about 2.54 cm* deep in water. I don't remember spilling anything last night.

Help, we're sinking.

After pumping the bilges and mopping up,  the water continued to seep in from somewhere forward.  All the floorboards came up and were stacked to one side. I mopped and watched and eventually traced the source of the leak to one of the fittings in the forward water ballast tank.

(For the uninitiated, the Bay Cruiser takes on a few hundred kilos of water ballast, held in two tanks, one aft under the cockpit and one forward in the bow. They are connected by a piece of clear plastic hose. The aft tank has a self bailer scoop installed in it, "the wrong way round" so water is forced into the tanks as you go along when the scoop is open. As soon as the tanks are full, the scoop should be shut).

I had to pump all the ballast out.  After about a minute of hard pumping nothing had happened and I realised that I had left the scoop open during our voyage yesterday.

The scoop as shut and pumping resumed and after about 10 minutes the pump started to pump air - but there was still water in both tanks. I resorted to desperate measures, dipping a beaker in to the tank and emptying it down the rear of the cockpit (at least it cleaned the cockpit floor). Eventually, the level was below the connecting pipe and there didn't seem to be any more water coming into the tank.

I pushed a bung into the inlet pipe fitting of the forward tank and rang Matt at Swallow boats for a consultation (whinge). "Try tightening the fitting with a wrench, failing that take it apart and reseal it with a silicon sealant". Well the wrench didn't work so it will have to be the sealant. But that will have to wait until next Wednesday (if she hasn't sunk in the meantime) and then there are the Navigation Lights to investigate and the reefing lines to reroute......

* 1 inch US

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