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Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:44 pm
by mikeandrebecca
After a vigorous sail to windward yesterday, we found a significant amount of water where it shouldn't be.

Our starboard bilge had about 4" of water in it. I am guessing (only guessing) that it has something to do with the shower sump. Any thoughts on this? Does the shower sump output have a 1-way check valve that could have possibly stopped working?

The second area we found water was in the starboard bow locker where the thru-hulls are. There was about 5-6" of water there. We buried the anchors multiple times and had waves crashing over the boat, and even onto the bimini a few times.

Today, before departing, I tightened the catches/handles on the bow hatch. The sail was slightly less vigorous but we still bashed to windward, taking waves over the bows. There was no additional water in the bow locker but there was a few inches of water in the starboard bilge.

A related problem: we can't get the bilge pumps to work. Any tips on troubleshooting that? We have the manual bilge pump that has the handle in the cockpit and via a 2-way valve, can pump from either the starboard or port bilge.

Bonus question: Who carries additional pumps and if so, what do you carry? We need to get this sorted as we have a couple of months of bashing ahead of us!


Re: Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:41 am
by thinwater
I don't know how water got into the bow. We have had water in there twice (fresh water leak in water heater feed, leaky through-hull). I've never had measurable amounts come through the windlass and it has been plenty wet (regular leakage should go out the anchor well drain; is it clogged?). The shower pump discharge should have a check valve, located above the discharge in the bow compratment. The hose should be routed high, clear to the underside of the deck, to help prevent backflow.

Another way to get water in the bilge is for it to leak from the bow through poor sealing around one of the head hoses. We had this happen when we had a through-hull leak (knot meter). If the water in the bow was level with the head hose, that is very likely. Could you have a transducer leak (I'm guessing you just put it back in, since you didn't move for months)? If so, Vaseline up the plug, install that, and never use the tranducer again.

I'm guessing the water in the bilge came from the bow leak. I would start by really drying the bow and looking for small leaks (that are bigger when the boat is working hard). Not a fun place to work, as you know. Also, re-seal the hose pass-throughs.

Re: Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:23 pm
by thinwater
A few more questions I forgot to answer (been traveling on business all week).

Priming sump pump. When I first got my boat it did want to start either. I found if I lifted the suction up ~ 2-3 feet and filled it with water that made the difference. After that, until it dried out, it worked fine. It's just a matter of getting the valves wet. The suction hose is too long and they located it too high. It should have been mounted very low.

Manual pump. This is the one we have (older model). ... sNum=10626
The PO bought it; however, I agree with his choice. We extended the hose an additional 8' with the really cheap corrugated sump pump hose (so that it will reach out the cabin door) and tied a length of 1/8" cord to the end of the hose (so we can tie it in position).

I've never gotten water in the shower drain, but I have heard of it. However, since the pump also has a pair of check valves in it, I seriously doubt that would account for more than a damp floor.

I would also watch the anchor well drain on the next rough passage. Perhaps something was designed poorly.

Was there water in the forward crash tank? On my boat there is a very slow leak between the crash tank and the through-hull sump (oddly, it is NOT a leak into the holding tank). Not really a danger, but it does mean that you have to pump the sump a few times to chase all of the water out. Same with the main bilge; it gets trapped behind the liner.

Yes, I fought leaks for a while. I can tell you this; she's tight now, all fixed. But we had our times. Let's see...
* Leaky speedo (several months--replaced o-ring and Vaselined it).
* Overfilled water tank (once).
* Left the lid off the water tank (once).
* Cheap freshwater strainer broke (once).
* Took 8' breaker over the boat. Once!
* Leaky fresh water piping for a year.
I promise you, the PDQ is MUCH harder to sink than most monohulls!

Re: Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:14 pm
by doubledutch
I regularily had water come in through the shower drain until I bought some hose and routed the exit in a high loop. This cleared up the issue.

Water coming in through the anchor chain exit is not unusual in bumpy seas however it should exit through drain opening at the bottom of the locker. They can get plugged from bits of weeds or debris coming in with the anchor chain.


Re: Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:36 pm
by mikeandrebecca
Hi Drew and Henry

Thanks for the comments.

Here is what we have determined:

1. A rag was stuck in the bow compartment drain hole. With the water we were taking over the bow I have little doubt that without a place for it to drain out, it could have accounted for the water by the through-hulls.
2. There is no leak in that area (transducers/through-hulls) as after drying it out, it has stayed bone dry for the last two days.
3. There is zero water in the sealed crash compartment.
4. After disassembling the sump pump, checking every hose and part and then reassembling it, it now works. No idea why. It may be as Drew suggested and just wasn't able to prime.
5. The water in the bow was not high enough to leak around the head hoses. I still believe that the water in the bilge came from the shower sump exit. There is NO loop in both the holding tank vent hose and the shower sump exit hose. I will be fixing both of those, adding more hose to make a nice high loop.

Re: Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:19 am
by thinwater
Good trouble shooting!

The missing loop in the shower sounds at least plausible; the loop in my boat appears to have been installed by the PO, presumably for that reason. Also, if you add a check valve (mine has one) remember the swing-checks must be installed either flowing upwards or horizontal; pointing down they simply hang open. Spring checks are not recommended in waste lines; they clog.

Re: Water where it shouldn't be!

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:54 am
by Phenix
This is an old thread but I found it when searching for something else and there is a some very useful information here very specific to the 32, so I thought I would post here.

My starboard bilge would always have water, I wondered where it came from. Finally, last year, I was filling the water tank at the same time I had the cabinet above the sink out. When the water tank got full, of course it overflowed through the vent into the water BUT I also was now able to see that it also leaked out at the top of the tank where the "inspection cap" screws in to the tank. This water ran down the side of the tank, under the sink in the head, then into the starboard bilge. So overfilling the water tank for any length of time would likely put water in the starboard bilge. Likewise, if you are sailing and the water in the tank is sloshing around and it leaks at the inspection cap, some would go into the bilge.

I cleaned up the threads on the inspection port and cap, and replaced the gasket and the leak is gone. I also am more careful in not overflowing the water tank when filling it.

I might take a closer look at the shower sump in light of the loop/check valve issues brought up here.