Friday, 15 April 2016

Er ... are we sinking?

I should have realised something was wrong when we boarded the boat last week. There was a small, but noticeable, list to port. I just put it down to both bikes and a load of wood being on that side and thought no more of it. Until this evening, when something told me I really ought to check the cabin bilge through the recently cut (two years ago) inspection hole in the floor at the back.

Aargh! There was an inch of water down there! And that was on the starboard side, so there must be an even greater depth of water on the port side. I checked the engine bilge - dry. I checked the bilge where I could see it under the well deck - again, it was dry.

Time to use my drill pump attachment. This was a cheap (Poundland) device which has been sitting around for years. I took it apart a few months ago to find that the vanes in compression stayed in that position so it was unlikely to work. Nevertheless I connected it up to some lengths of hose, attached it to my drill and tried. Nothing came out.

I sucked out enough (mouth on end of hose) to put into a container so I could see the colour of the water: it looked like eau de canal to me.

This can only mean one thing - the hull is leaking! (Unless you can suggest otherwise.) It isn't water from the domestic system as the water pump does not keep coming on; and there is no leak from the tank. There is too much water for it to be from the central heating, besides, I checked the header tank only a couple of days ago. I don't think it's rainwater as I sealed all the leaks I could find last year. And anyway, it looks like canal water. Oh, and it's not shower waste water either.

We are now in Market Harborough; tomorrow I shall try to get a better pump (i.e. one that works). If I can't buy something to do the job there is a tool hire place just down the road; there's also the boat hire base here who might be able to help. The boat is due to come out of the water on Monday for blacking; fixing the leak is obviously more important. But how do you find where the water is getting in? Should it be visible when the hull has been pressure washed? I think I might learn a lot over the next few days.


Sue said...

OK so after pressure washing (if there is not much time in between)then any water in the boat will leak out so you will see where your leak is?

Halfie said...

Sue, yes, that should work. But I've managed to pump out most of the water now, and I don't really want to refill it! The water that came out was a dirty rust colour which I originally thought was canal juice, but now I'm not so sure. It was slightly frothy, so I now suspect a waste fitting. More investigation required!

ditchcrawler said...

Shower pump maybe. Don't discount the rain, if it can get in we have had a lot recently and if its running down from the roof it could be an inch.

nb Lola said...

Drop some red food dye into your waste points, sinks, shower and loo when boat is out an wait. Secondly drop some into your bilge inspection chamber and flush a little water down.