Thursday, 19 May 2011

Water, water everywhere!

The new calorifier looks very nice sitting in the cupboard between the kitchen and the cruiser stern. We have water in the taps, water in the shower, automatic water for the toilet. Water for the new washing machine. Water wherever we want it!

And water where we don’t want it. We knew the surveyor in December had reported a drip in the environs of the calorifier. We knew the calorifier had eventually split, so presumably had ejected a certain amount of its contents. We knew the central heating header tank in the same cupboard had also developed a drip, though we were trying to catch most of that, and and the engineering boys sealed it up. So when we looked down and saw water lying in a four-inch space between the floorboards beneath the calorifier we weren’t surprised. We dropped in to B&Q and bought a car sponge. My best beloved has one of these 3-foot contraptions with a handle at one end and a gripping mechanism at the other (good for helping recovering knee patients grab things that are out of reach, from the comfort of THAT chair). So, although it was awkward, I could lean over the edge of the cupboard with the sponge gripped in the gripper, put it down between all the pipes and dip it into the water. A check with the dipstick had shown it was only about a centimetre deep.

It took me an age to get the first bucketful out. Down with the sponge. Up with the sponge. Squeeze into bucket. Down with...  After that the technique improved and the rate of extraction speeded up. But after three bucketsful (what a nice word!) the water in the bilge didn’t seem to have gone down at all. The bilge pump was no good at all, since it’s in the engine compartment, sealed off by a bulkhead, and completely dry.

After six buckets I wondered what was going on. After nine I lost count. It was about then that at last the level seemed to respond to whether the boat was tipped to one side, so my best beloved went and had a nice kip tucked up against the gunwale. After ten (or was it eleven?) I was finally looking at a surface without water. I’d thought it would be the base plate, but boats have ballast, and it looked like some sort of black paving bricks sitting there in the bottom.

What worried me was the calculation that had been fizzing round in my head for the last half-hour of this operation. I reckon 10 buckets means 100 litres. 100 litres, 1 cm deep, covers 10 square metres. Boat is just over two metres wide. That means (all things being even) there was a 5 metre stretch of boat bottom filled with water. Any one care to check my calculation? I just hope those ballast bricks are extremely tightly packed and totally non-porous. I also hope the inside surfaces of base plates are well painted against rust.

When we came away we left the cupboard door open, but it’s a very small gap in the floor boards for evaporation to get through. We’ll check it when we get up to Great Haywood again next weekend. Just hoping the water won’t have reappeared.


  1. A cunning dodge for getting the last of the water out; buy el cheapo large size disposable nappies and drop one into the wet area. leave overnight and retrieve in the morning. the nappies only cost a couple of quid for a bag of 20, so don't stress the budget too much!



  2. We're up from Tuesday 24th till the following Monday, so surely we must manage to meet up this time!

  3. Bruce: Sounds brilliant. We'll try it. My best beloved thinks (from her professional experience) that incontinence pads would work even better - but at a price!

    Mo: We're in Doncaster on a training week till Sunday, then expecting to go to Crick on Monday and to Great Haywood on Monday evening for just a couple of days. Looks like we'll miss you again. How's that knee?


  4. c'est la vie! Knee doing well ta!