Yummy, work in the deep bilges is exactly what a guy wants in the first week of the New Year!

Today’s Weds, so I’m working to get back into my M/W/F posting routine, but launched into working in the deep recesses of my deepest bilges today.  I’m hopeful that none of the muck gets caught in the keyboard.  If ya don’t know or understand..older heavier boats built in Taiwan in the 70’s tend to have really deep full bilges.  Engines tend to sit in those spaces.  My deep bilge is the hardest I’ve ever seen to get into and clean out.  It sits nearly 5 feet below my engine and the shaft that rotates our prop is also under the engine, further complicating working on the bilge.  Yep….there’s a few smart folks out there scratching their heads because most engine shafts normally come out of the engine directly to the propeller to power it,  but ours had to be complicated and is attached to a “velvet drive”.  Simply means things are backwards and the shaft comes out of the engine to the “V” drive then goes back under the engine to the propeller.  Yep, it’s as complicated as it sounds.  Now,,,,bilge- A bilge is defined as: The bilge /bɪl/ is the lowest compartment on a ship or seaplane, below the waterline, where the two sides meet at the keel. (wikipedia).  Our bilge has two large pumps that pump water out of the boat and various other hoses to things that were a mystery.  Mystery no longer.  The problem with our bilge also is that the extra special “V Drive” means we can’t really get into the bilge but other stuff can fall in and disappear forever.  Our large bilge pumps are supposed to have automatic float switches on them that start pumping water automatically, but ours have been broken.  Today we went through every single hose going into or out of the bilge, much to my surprise there was lots more than I thought.  We found out that our full tub drains directly into the bilge (important to know) and that we have another pump for the bilge that could be used in combination with the forward saltwater wash down pump to de-water in an emergency.  We also found out that we needed to fix and update every hose, several were burned through by touching the shaft and simply done.  All of this work is accomplished by someone on their stomach on top of the engine or looking through a 1 foot by 1 foot hatch from the galley.  Not terribly efficient or effective setup, but I love to work through problems so this is a great experience and I get to learn more about the boat.  Here’s what this process looks like from above:

The bilge ends about 5 feet below Francisco, he’s on top of the engine.

I’m also babysitting (parenting) the kids while working on the deep bilges because they don’t go back to school for several more days.  So I’m knocking out this post on my lunch break (kids eat all the time and MUST be fed) and hopefully by the end of the day I’ll have working bilge pumps with working float switches and new hoses too?  We’ll see.  If not, it’s my priority project tomorrow and the curtains get to wait.

Happy New Year and a quick hello to all the new folks who are following our little blog. Baja Ha-Ha leaves in October….are you in ?

12 Responses

  1. Sounds frustrating as heck. You are learning a lot as you go but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I’m 99% sure this is a stupid question, but I will ask it anyway (2 questions actually). 1) does the bilge run the length of the boat? 2) if it does, is there any way you can get in there from another place and work from within it?

    1. Wow, what great questions:
      1. Different bilge configurations on different boats: On our last boat, a Hunter 460, there was one small bilge mid-center ship (center of the boat) and another small one under the engine for engine oil. On this boat,,,there’s a very large bilge under the engine, then there’s drains that all run into that bilge from both forward and aft. The drains are too small to get into but they can be cleaned and painted to make things smell and look better. No way to get into the bilge from another place, it’s a work in progress.

    1. Jill, I actually love cleaning and repainting my bilge and lower deck spaces because it makes things smell better and I know I won’t have to do it again, it’s kind of like a new beginning for that space. On an older boat, this is what she needs.

      1. yes, needs to be done. I know what you mean, like spring cleaning. I don’t really enjoy doing it, but do love the good feelings after its done.

  2. Hi Chad
    Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you regarding the photograph (and sorry about your bilges!)
    Having read your last couple of blogs, it sounds as though you have some major expenses ahead!
    We have decided on some prices and that Arches canvas would normally be over $600 – based on Andy’s Getty Images prices –
    If you are still interested, however, we could offer you a limited signed print of Arches at $350 plus shipping (unknown at this time but they are light). Friends discount. 😁
    Have a think about it, no rush and we will understand if there is enough money going down the bilges…⚓ You can contact me at kerryduncan@comcast.net

    1. Sooo cool. Thanks. I would love to see some of his other pics, do you have a site where his other pics are on display? Perhaps he should go professional? That’s a pretty cool friends and family discount and thanks for sharing the contact info, I won’t share it with others, will wait for a bit to get the pic, but want to see if he has more on display?

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