The existing pipe for Blue Opal’s electric bilge pump is some sanitation hose that looks like it might have been installed when the boat was built. I’ve been getting odd bits of water in the bilge that can’t be explained by leaks in the stern or at the mast, so I decided to clean and dry the bilge, and do some investigation.

The first step was pulling the bilge pump out to confirm the wiring, so that the SMS alarm Dad is building for me (the alarm bit is an eBay special, but the circuitry to drive it will be custom for Blue Opal) can be tuned to signal when the pump comes on. This led to me finding more clean oil in the bilge – I can only presume it’s stuck under the engine pan, and every time I go sailing I’m shaking more of it loose – which necessitated taking the pump to pieces to clean it.

In the process of cleaning the pump, I had reason to inspect the 19 mm pipe that runs from the pump to the non-return valve, and found it was rock hard. This in turn necessitated removal with a sharp knife, and replacement with some 19 mm “bilge pipe” from the local chandlery.

Once this was done, and the bilge was dry, I went for a sail, and upon checking the bilge the next morning, I found much more water than I expected to find (namely none, or maybe very little if I’ve got a leak in the cooling pump). On flushing the bilge out again with the pump, I noticed that a fair bit of water came rushing back in to the bilge when I stopped the pump, leading me to suspect the non-return valve wasn’t being very non-return, so a new one of those was acquired, and given the state of the pipe, a whole run of new bilge pipe.

A bit of swearing, a lot of contorting my 191 cm frame, and a new pipe has been run, a new non-return is installed, and the bilge is dry again.

Running a new bilge pump pipe
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