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Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5934
02/22/06 06:53 PM
02/22/06 06:53 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
I've read much of the history in this newsgroup on the inability of the aft section of the bilge (behind the vermiculite) to drain. I know Rhapsody has some serious moisture (standing water?) there but can't readily get to it. I saw one post that indicated their boat has a 3" inspection port cut just in front of the engine with a screw plate to gain access. I'm thinking I could cut a hole there, install a screw plate and then put a temporary bilge pump hose to pump it dry. I may be able to get a rag down there on a flexible bilge picker to really dry it out. Any experience from those out there who may have dealt with this issue?

I'm looking for something like - "don't do it, it's a waste of time.... or - yeah, I did that and it worked great!"

Thanks,
Bill
Rhapsody - #348

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Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5935
03/01/06 03:30 PM
03/01/06 03:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 148
Annapolis, MD US
LChristy Offline
J/30 Class Measurer
LChristy  Offline
J/30 Class Measurer
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 148
Annapolis, MD US
Bill -
Why doesn't this water just drain into your bilge?

Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5936
03/01/06 05:33 PM
03/01/06 05:33 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Quote
Originally posted by LChristy:
Bill -
Why doesn't this water just drain into your bilge?


This is the age old problem discussed in previous posts. Apparently the J/30 design contains a molded section filled with vermiculite in the area between the removable deck board (main center bilge) and the molded area under the ladder that supports the Yanmar. If you get water under that area, it does not freely drain forward to the main bilge section where the bilge pump is. It is not readily accessible unless you are a contortionist and can reach forward using the cutouts in the molded section below the engine mounts adjacent to the engine oil pan.

Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5937
03/02/06 03:48 PM
03/02/06 03:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 127
Chicago, IL, US
rdpierce Offline
Senior Member
rdpierce  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 127
Chicago, IL, US
*grin* I've tried being such a contortionist, and have the fiberglass-abraded arms to prove it!

Every winter I stick a flexible hose through the engine mount cutouts and use my oil pump to drain it as best as I can.

OK, another question while we are on the subject....

There are two limber holes on the outboard ends of the track that holds the companionway steps. What happens to water that reaches those holes? Does it go to that undrainable void below the Yanmar? (Which would make no sense; why add limber holes if they can't drain anywhere useful?) Or did they do something special to get around the vermiculite problem?


Ryan Pierce, #337
Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5938
03/07/06 12:23 PM
03/07/06 12:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 148
Annapolis, MD US
LChristy Offline
J/30 Class Measurer
LChristy  Offline
J/30 Class Measurer
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 148
Annapolis, MD US
I have an opening at the back of my bilge that appears to connect to and drain the area under the engine. The hose for the bilge pump comes through here and goes into the bilge. Water drains ouot all the time. I take it you do not have this opening???

Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5939
03/07/06 12:35 PM
03/07/06 12:35 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Quote
...The hose for the bilge pump comes through here and goes into the bilge. Water drains out all the time. I take it you do not have this opening???[/B]


Mine just weeps a little water. Sticking a coat hanger through the small diameter hole (less then 1/4") does nothing. I'll get a 10" diam pool of water in front of the flat portion before it drains into the keel bildge well, then it stops. If I sponge up the puddle, it will be back in 20 minutes. Almost like there is a moisture sensor and feeback loop!

Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5940
03/09/06 11:23 AM
03/09/06 11:23 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 127
Chicago, IL, US
rdpierce Offline
Senior Member
rdpierce  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 127
Chicago, IL, US
Larry, it looks to me that the big corrugated hose for the Whale Gusher is running through solid filler at the aft end of the bilge with no space on either side. But yeah, if that hose runs back through the void under the engine, then it would follow that any space on either side of it would allow that void to drain.

I can try poking wires around on either side to see if I can dislodge anything.

I think I also read of someone ripping out that hose and replacing it with a smaller diameter, which results in room for the engine bilge to drain. Mine has some air leaks at the end near the bilge, so unless the bilge is completely flooded, my Whale Gusher won't do a darn bit of good. I may consider replacing that hose at the same time.


Ryan Pierce, #337
Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5941
03/12/06 11:06 PM
03/12/06 11:06 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Quote
...I saw one post that indicated their boat has a 3" inspection port cut just in front of the engine with a screw plate to gain access. I'm thinking I could cut a hole there, install a screw plate and then put a temporary bilge pump hose to pump it dry.

I'm looking for something like - "don't do it, it's a waste of time.... or - yeah, I did that and it worked great!"
[/B]


Ok - I cut a 2 " diam hole in the glass just in front of the Yanmar. Unfortunately it's dry there so that's not where the water is coming from. I put in an old fuel filler deck connection to plug up the hole. If anyone is interested, I can send the picture.

Bill
Rhapsody - #348

Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5942
04/07/06 11:23 AM
04/07/06 11:23 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 26
Burlington, VT USA
6degrees Offline
Senior Member
6degrees  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 26
Burlington, VT USA
Howdy,

I purchased a J/30 last summer that I'm in the process of recoring and generally rebuilding. I'm impressed by the collaboration and generous community on the J/30 Class site, so I thought I'd share some of my story with some point specifically regarding the vermiculite in the bilge issue.

My boat suffers from several big problems:

1) The core below the waterline on the starboard side is wet 3/4 of the way up to the waterline
2) The core on the port side is wet around the keel sump for about 2' surrounding the keel
3) The vermiculite under the floor was soaked with black mold and diesel
4) The foam under the ice box has hydrolyzed in spots and very moldy
5) The boat smelled nasty

Sounds pretty grim, but my repairs are going nicely and I expect the boat to be beautiful, strong and in the water this June. I'm taking steps to do a pretty radical renovation, but in the end it will save time on my repairs (no pussyfooting around, or tactical use of self-delusion) and make the boat easier to maintain and inspect in the future. In any case, I thought I would share my findings under the floor since their is some question about what's going on in there.

I am doing much of my recoring from the inside since it will minimize the amount of fairing that I'll have to do on the completed hull and because I had to eradicate the 'rotten old boat smell' coming out of the floor of this boat. To accomplish this, I have cut the old floor out and stripped out the vermiculite under it. The floor itself was teak and holly on top of a 3/8 cored fiberglass laminate floor. While my T&H was beautiful, the floor/vermiculite under it was a nightmare.

When these boats were manufactured, the molded interior was bonded to the hull using either vermiculite or shredded chop strand, either of which were basically mixed with polyester resin to form a bondable 'peanut butter'. Several areas are bonded with chop strand for strength and durability - under the mast step, under the engine, under the vertical side of the quarterberth units. This material does not absorb water and is bulletproof. Vermiculite was used generously elsewhere, especially under the floor, which is basically solid vermiculite between the roving of the hull and the floor laminate. The vermiculite sends my Aquant water meter right into the red, its soggy and in spots, brittle. I chipped it out pretty quickly with a pneumatic impact hammer.

As you know the bilge pump hose was laid permanently in this vermiculite down the center seam of the boat. About 3 ft back from the keel sump there is a low point where water collects in the solid glass center seam. Unfortunately, as soon as this hose breaks down, pumping out has the effect of pumping water into the vermiculite. In my boat, it also appears that diesel had collected in this area, probably as a result of a spill during a filter change. When I opened up this area, it was ugly - full of black mold and a greasy wet collection of water and vermiculite... Yikes.

The previous owner had obviously figured out that the pump hose was leaking and had threaded a smaller diameter reinforced hose through the old hose and into the bilge (which I see was suggested in this forum previously). This seems like a reasonable approach to this problem, though it doesn't mean that water won't migrate forward from the cockpit/companionway area and collect behind the bilge. Also bear in mind that when you heel that yucky water will migrate around the bilge, either from the bilge into the vermiculite or vice versa.

If you don't want to get radical with this repair, I would consider putting in an inspection port on this wet spot, so that it can be kept dry. Finding the low spot is the trick - I would look at the hull from the outside and identify the low spot as measured back from the trailing edge of the keel. The center seam is a consistent thickness (until you get right up to the sump, where its reinforced), so the low spot outside is the low spot inside. I have decided to put the floor down in such a way that I can open it along the center seam for cleaning and sponging (if necessary). I might also see if I can add laminate to this seam to give it a pitch that will allow it to drain. The way it was originally designed, this area simply can't be dried, short of standing the boat on its nose for a while. Later J's corrected this issue by ensuring that the bilge could drain continuously from both ends.

As an aside:

All early J's are very susceptible to wet core issues. If you do have substantial moisture, it will collect adjacent to the center seam since the water migrates downward. Plus, the core goes right up to the keel sump, so your weakest wettest core is right over the most stressed region of your hull. On my boat, the core around the sump was similar to the nasty sponge sitting on the edge of your kitchen sink (not kidding). That having been said, these boats are VERY heavily built with at least 1/2 inch of roving around the keel sump over the core. I suspect that there are many wet boats out there that have not had issues because this inner laminate is so strong and the keel sump is very rigidly built. My boat had no deformation or sign of stress related failure, but as a bit of a perfectionist (and former glass and rigging man at a shipyard), I figured I'd make this boat right while I was 'pimping' it out. If you do decide to do a recoring, considering doing parts of it from the inside. Doing it from the outside is much harder because you have to completely re-fair and unless you've got the boat upside-down, gravity is working against you. I am only recoring from the outside in places that can't be accessed from the inside. Bear in mind, these are structural repairs, so make sure you have a broad bonding margin between old and new. Also use epoxy and not poly or vinylester resin since non-epoxy resins do not bond well to cured or dissimilar materials.

Finally, if you don't have barrier coat on your boat, you're crazy. My boat got soaked from simple blisters. The outer laminate on these hulls is unbelievably thin (less than 1/8), so if you have a blister, its very unlikely that its just 'in the glass'. The previous owner had shoddy repair work done with generous use of inferior filler material that ensured that the problem just got worse and worse each year. If you do have some moisture, at a minimum repair the blisters with epoxy and colloidal silica (not polyester filler or marinetex!) and apply a barrier coat like Interprotect 2000 (goes on better than anything else I've used). If you can risk the sleepless nights, get one of these:
http://www.gesensing.com/products/aquant.htm?bc=bc_ge_protimeter

I'm looking forward to racing and cruising my J/30. A few people have asked me why I bought an old J/30 - I ask them to show me any ~30ft boat with superior speed and cruising amenities. You can name lots of boats with one or the other, but none with both.

Rich Miller
Burlington, VT


Rich Miller
Brass Monkey
#294
Re: Dewatering Aft Bilge - Need Advice #5943
04/07/06 11:34 AM
04/07/06 11:34 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,620
Portsmouth, RI
Rich - Great description of the work you've done. I'm sure this will help lots of us with similar issues. When you get a chance, send me an email so I can contact you. My email is listed in my profile. I live in RI.

Regards,
Bill
Rhapsody - J/30 #348

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