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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,316

    Default Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    We were a couple of days out of Gib heading to Madeira on Monday night (expected 20-29 knot winds but not expected almost dead against us and some nasty cross swells making it a swooping motion from heeled to very heeled). Bilges on downside started spurting water above the floorboards and alas it was salty.

    Three hours of manual and electric pumping, checking all seacocks, shaft seal, impellor, transducer and keel bolts and endless endless clearing of the pump filter ( an easy job normally but not helped by the motion) and we cleared the bilges. My wife went to nap for a hour as we had both missed off-watch rest and when she woke up the floorboards were awash again. So we closed every seacock, dropped the main and turned downwind - which happened to be towards Casablanca 80 miles away and we cleared the bilges in half an hour and they didn’t refill.

    So in Rabat marina I think I’ve found the issue due to a new seacock fitted over Winter for a water cooled fridge - the techie also replaced a couple of long seized stopcocks for the salt water tap which we’ve never used and that inadvertently opened a hidden route from seacock to fridge with every part under sea level when heeled well to port. The fridge drain was so loosely connected to the pipe that drained the fridge into the bilge and therefore the sea water too.

    So that’s my theory and I’ve wired shut the offending valve but can’t fully test until we set out again and get well heeled over. Any other thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Gone cruising
    Posts
    2,318

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Go sail, starting with closed seacocks, then when suitably heeled, open one at a time and observe closely.

    Or you can tie a halyard to a suitable shoreside point and winch until the boat heels in the marina. May upset someone though, or get you on Instagram

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    19,357

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    I've no idea what the leak might be Rupert but I'm just wondering why the electric bilge pump couldn't clear it?

    Richard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    The Gareloch
    Posts
    3,802

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    You don’t say how large the fridge drain pipe is. Does it seem plausible it could allow so much water into the bilges in the time given?

    Two things you might consider:-
    1) You do say the wind was on the nose. Did you have green water coming over the foredeck and pouring down the navel pipe into the chain locker and the bilges?

    2) Could there be a problem with the hull/deck joint allowing copious amounts of water in when “heeled to very heeled”.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Grenoble
    Posts
    30,381

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Why would water from a seawater tap get into the fridge? Was there sea water in the fridge? were the contents wet? Or is it all to do with the actual seawater seacock to the fridge compressor leaking? But unless you have closed it and are not running the fridge then it can't be. I am obviously missing something from your description.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    37,228

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Any thru-hulls in the topsides? Bilge pump outlets? Electric especially!

    Anchor locker and any hole on the foredeck is possible.
    Mast boot can let in a surprising amount once there is water on deck.
    Engine plumbing.
    Toilet?

    Toe rail, hull deck join generally is a prime suspect.
    Or is the keel falling off?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    UK, Greece and Spain
    Posts
    23,615

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Maybe a long shot but friends of ours had a Jeanneau 35 and the seal around the stern of sugar scoop and the rest of the boat has come adrift (by that I do not mean gaping open but open enough to let water in), difficult to notice because of the rubber seal covering it.
    As I say probably not the situation in your case as the amount of water coming in appears too much for that
    Last edited by jordanbasset; 18-07-19 at 07:01.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,316

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Quote Originally Posted by Fr J Hackett View Post
    Why would water from a seawater tap get into the fridge? Was there sea water in the fridge? were the contents wet? Or is it all to do with the actual seawater seacock to the fridge compressor leaking? But unless you have closed it and are not running the fridge then it can't be. I am obviously missing something from your description.
    Seacock to seawater tap had a hidden couple of stop cocks one pipe to the seawater tap and one to a pipe leading (I eventually found out in the marina) to the fridge drain. That pipe was firmly connected to the drain plug but the drain plug had lost its retaining nut so was loose (not visibly) at the bottom of the sink.

    The idea of the arrangement must have been that by shutting the seacock but opening the stop cock to the fridge drain then the seawater foot pump cleared fridge water into the sink to drain from there.

    However the Jeannea manual said the fridge drained into the bilges and as it demonstrably did we had never realised there was a loose pipe involved too. So with fridge bottom and all pipe work under sea level ( and seized hidden stopcock helpfully replaced over the winter) then if I am right seawater came in the seacock went along the now open stop cock to fridge drain then bubbled up into fridge where it promptly drained around the edges of the plug fitting as it had always done. I tested this at the marina with a hose pipe into the seacock hose and watched the fridge getting water in which instantly flowed into the bilge.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    England
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Hope its sorted safe travels Dont forget Mozart restaurant in Madeira
    Maurice and Gill

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,316

    Default Re: Sea water leak mid trip - what else could I check

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    I've no idea what the leak might be Rupert but I'm just wondering why the electric bilge pump couldn't clear it?

    Richard
    Electric pump filter needed clearing almost immediately and many times but when every bit of debris had been caught after 3 hours it was still working normally but so feeble compared to ordinary Henderson manual pump which needed 5 minutes vigorous pumping every 15 to break even.

    30 seconds to clear a sump of fridge drain seems fine but nothing compared to about 5 seconds to clear with 3 or 4 strokes of manual. Will look at better electric pumps.

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