Sketchbook: Bilges

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A
Bilges can be mucky places, so make sure there’s enough slack in pipes and cables to get blocked pumps out.

A
B

B
A plastic crate with garden mesh at the bottom creates both a filter for fine particulates that can catch any soap and hair, and a coarse filter to keep out labels, paper or plastic.

C

C
Float switches can fail if they are covered in muck. Raising them up to be activated by another float switch located beneath is one solution.

e-f

D
Electronic sensors, kept well clear of the water, can trigger pumps, alarms and even send text messages if the pumps run too much.

E
A stick that pops up in the cockpit, connected to a float in the bilge, is a simple warning device.

F

F
A big emergency pump, clear of the muck, only cuts in if the normal pump can’t cope.

G

G
A drip tray or absorbent pads help keep oil out of the bilges.

H

H
Some old boats had brass chains rove through their limber holes (drains) so they could be jiggled to remove any buildup of muck. A refinement is to add a length of elastic bungee cord at one end to pull the chain back.

I

I
In some countries it‘s illegal to discharge mucky bilge water straight over the side, and large fines may be imposed if the authorities see telltale oil slicks near your boat. Special in-line filters can be plumbed in to remove any harmful substances. Or a diverter valve can be used to catch suspect bilge water in a jerry can.

J

J
Big storm anchors and keel spanners can get forgotten in the bilge. Do check occasionally to ensure that they’re dry and secure.

K

K
Tin cans often end up there too, and can lose their labels and rust. So protect them against chafe and seal several together in a plastic bag. Be sure, though, to wash and dry them first to remove any possible bug eggs lurking under the rims!
Dick Everitt has sailed thousands of miles in various parts of the world. He has been an illustrator, journalist and engineer for more than 40 years

April 2016

Related

CCA-story-2048x

Safety Culture Starts with the Skipper

Sailing might not be the first pastime that comes to mind when you think of extreme sports, but that’s not to say risks don’t abound. The Cruising Club of America tackles many of them head-on in their newly released guide for skippers, Creating a Culture of Safety: The Skipper’s ...read more

GMR19_F53_0539

Boat Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53

Luxury performance-cruising isn’t entirely new. You can go fast and still be comfortable. You can even race if you make the right tradeoffs—or so says Groupe Beneteau, which recently launched its First Yacht 53, in the process also reinventing the company’s “First” brand. ...read more

BirdonBoard

Cruising: Birds of a Feather

One of the neatest things about sailing offshore is the other lifeforms we encounter. We smile when we see flying fish skimming over the surface of the sea. We cheer when dolphins leap and dance in our bow waves. We are duly reverent when mighty whales sound and spout, and ...read more

pirate-marlin-logo

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

This Spring has felt a bit like a slow day of fishing but it’s almost time to time to Bait…and Switch. The Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments offer something for every member of your crew. Exceptional fishing, fun times with family, old friends and new. Our run is short, our ...read more

Tusk.00_00_16_21.Still001

Tusk by Spyderco

Spyderco's Tusk knife combines a blade and marlinspike to create a multitool perfect for marine use. Made with corrosion resistant materials like titanium and LC200N steel, a nitrogen alloyed steel, and Spyderco-exclusive locking mechanisms, this knife is one of the toughest ...read more

IY11.98_fTaccola©DJI_0200

Italia 11.98 Performance-cruiser

This past winter, SAIL principal editor, Adam Cort, check out the new Italia Yachts’ new 11.98 performance-cruiser at the boot Dusseldorf show in German, and says he can attest to the fact it’s a boat more than worthy of the attention of North American sailors. Available in ...read more

01-LEAD-2017_IDALEWIS_0219

Racing: Doublehanded

I was born in 1955, and although I was a tad young to actually follow the first Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, I grew up in the age of the pioneers of solo offshore sailing—Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnson, Alec Rose, all Knighted for their singlehanded ...read more

newport-400c-updated

Spectra Watermakers

The world's quietest and most energy-efficient watermakers. Our product line ranges from hand operated desalinators that can make 6 gallons a day to our largest system that produces 20,000 gallons of fresh, potable water per day. Spectra Watermakers has the complete package: ...read more