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Old 11-20-2020, 03:33 PM   #1
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Angry Persistent Water in forward bilge

During the our inspection the surveyor noted that there was a bit of water in our forward bilge. I took a look last weekend and the bilge pump works but it can't empty all of the water that is there due to the low amount. The output tube also has a large loop above the water line, so even if the pump starts pushing the water out, when it turn off the water comes back down the tube and into the bilge. There doesn't appear to be a very good collection point for the water to be pumped out, just a v channel from the bow to midship that all has a bit of water.

Is this typical on the Californians?
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:37 PM   #2
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I am going to install one of these this winter to suck out the last of the water. Donít know how well it will work since it isnít installed yet but you might look at one.
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:50 PM   #3
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I am going to install one of these this winter to suck out the last of the water. Donít know how well it will work since it isnít installed yet but you might look at one.
+1 for Seaflo Dry Bilge System. I installed one last month for a similar problem and voila, bilge is dry and sweet. Seems to be an excellent product, but it remains to be seen how long it will last in service.
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Old 11-20-2020, 04:30 PM   #4
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Hi David,

I have the same issue with my 34 Californian and I've just kind of learned to deal with it.
I'm interested in a solution as well. I've actually been known to take a shop vac to it when I get frustrated enough. I believe the water comes in through the chain locker.
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Old 11-20-2020, 04:46 PM   #5
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Ha! I was planning on taking my Shop Vac to it this weekend! My Rigid ShopVac was one of the first tools I bought for my house, still one of the best investments I've made. Will look into the Seaflo Dry Bilge and getting an extra Electric Bilge with the built-in float.
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:05 PM   #6
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Search the forum. Somewhere on here in the last few months someone provided detail on how he built his own "dry bilge" system for a fraction of the price.
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:51 PM   #7
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Ha! I was planning on taking my Shop Vac to it this weekend! My Rigid ShopVac was one of the first tools I bought for my house, still one of the best investments I've made. Will look into the Seaflo Dry Bilge and getting an extra Electric Bilge with the built-in float.
I bought a 1-1/2 Gal wet dry shortly after we bought our current MS and found a good place to keep it aboard. It has came in handy for many jobs and always on board.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:02 PM   #8
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One way to help find out where the water is coming in is to line the area above where the water is would be to line the sides around it with paper towels. They will get wet and even after they dry out the towels will show where they were wet so it will give you a starting point to track the leak down. Then if it is coming from the rope locker then look into glassing the bottom of the locker or the bulkhead of the rope locker can be glassed to stop the leaks. Mine has a drain on the side of the hull and the bottom of the rope locker is slanted towards the drain hole. Maybe the drain hole may need to be cleaned out or enlarged so it drains better. You can also dust talcum powder on the sides instead of paper towels to give you tracks from the water leaks.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:20 AM   #9
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Agree with Dave re using paper towels or powder to trace souces. I havent used it but thinking chalk line powder might work very well as it comes in pretty bright colors and might be easy to spot variations.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:53 PM   #10
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You found the hull low spot on the 34 LRC! I have 2 fwd 1'x1' hatches for my 2 bilge pumps. One under the steps and one abeam the bunk. The fwd of the 2 always seems to collect 1/2-1 gal of water even with my dripless seals. It must be the anchor locker on my boat b/c it only happens after cruising...and I anchor a lot.

I keep a one gallon bucket, large sponge and a milk jug scoop available for removing the water periodically. Now it's just part of the boat's character!
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:28 PM   #11
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You found the hull low spot on the 34 LRC! I have 2 fwd 1'x1' hatches for my 2 bilge pumps. One under the steps and one abeam the bunk. The fwd of the 2 always seems to collect 1/2-1 gal of water even with my dripless seals. It must be the anchor locker on my boat b/c it only happens after cruising...and I anchor a lot.

I keep a one gallon bucket, large sponge and a milk jug scoop available for removing the water periodically. Now it's just part of the boat's character!
Have you thought about one of the scavenging pump systems?
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:45 PM   #12
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I bought a 1-1/2 Gal wet dry shortly after we bought our current MS and found a good place to keep it aboard. It has came in handy for many jobs and always on board.
I won't get underway without mine aboard.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:11 PM   #13
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Anchor lockers that drain into the bilge seem to be a common theme. That's why I installed a Dry Bilge System. Horrible design flaw IMHO. That along with A/C condensate drains and even showers that drain into the bilge. Absolute rubbish.

I think these drains should be routed directly overboard if possible, or if they are at or below the heeled waterline, they should be routed to a shower sump or similar arrangement where they are automatically pumped overboard. I know some are concerned with the number of hull penetrations, so if that is your case, a multi-purpose sump with an automatic (bilge) pump and a single vented loop discharge should be an acceptable alternative. In many boats, a shower sump is already installed so it becomes much easier. In my case, I upgraded the existing manually-activated shower sump to a Rule automatic. I then plumbed my A/C condensate, built-in Mermaid dehumidifier drain and now my Dry Bilge drain all to the Rule shower sump. It works perfectly and is easy to service and monitor.

Next, I plan to glass the bottom of my anchor locker and install fairly large P&S exterior drains with aft-facing cowls as soon as I can.

Oh, by the way, the Dry Bilge System can be a little noisy depending on where it is installed. I configured mine to run a couple of minutes daily at noon so as not to disturb light sleepers (me) at night. These are run-dry pumps so if there is no water to pump, there will be no issues. The shower sump is activated by a float switch.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:26 PM   #14
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We had a Trojan F32 that had a rope locker that drained into the bilge. I glassed the aft bulkhead since it was just plywood and then raised the bottom of the locker above the waterline and sloped it to one side and drilled a drain hole. No more water in the bilge from the rope locker.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:53 PM   #15
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I'm in freshwater so it's really not a big deal. No smells. I'm saving my boat $$ for other projects!
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:20 PM   #16
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I have used the SeaFlo and the Dry Bilge System (Dry Bilges are possible!) as I have the same problem on my boat. I didn't like the SeaFlo system because it was super loud and required programming it to turn on for specific intervals. That meant it may have run without any water, or run too short and not removed it all.

On the other hand, the Dry Bilge System runs WAAAY too much. At times it goes on 3 times in a minute because the detectors get a tiny amount of water on them, some from backflow down the tube, and goes on again, only to repeat the cycle.

I'm contemplating just going back to letting the bilge pump run once a day, which is what it used to do automatically, if it even got that high. Most of the ingress water comes from my rudder and/or shaft packing glands which weep a small amount underway.

Ben at Panbo also did an article about some of this and how you can build your own: https://panbo.com/a-dry-bilge-for-50/
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:45 AM   #17
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:09 AM   #18
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Have you tasted the water?
Carefully, it could be from the head...
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:19 PM   #19
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I had water in the bilge on my 42' Californian. I traced it to the hatch cover drain in the aft cockpit. It drains through a thru hull above the swim step. I cleaned gunk out of the line with water pressure and that solved the bilge water issue for me.
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