They say that a boat is female. That is why we call a boat a “she” and try to give her female names. Such as my King´s Cruiser 33 who´s name is OLIVIA. Well, just like women boats are said to have sexy lines (mine has!) and cost a fortune (don´t ask!) but even more: They will leak if neglected. This is a lesson I´d had to learn the hard way today. The boat was full of water! Well, I shouldn´t exaggerate here, the bilge was flooded, to be honest. Nevertheless, my shock was pretty much intense! I looked it up in my refit-diary and it said that the last time I was working on the boat was exactly 2 months and 3 days ago. That is a damn long time!

Water in the bilge, anyone?

Well, I had to leave her for job duties and found no time whatsoever to continue crucial works – and that had opened up in the truest meaning of the word the boat for thunderstorms and extreme downpour that Germany had experience before summer eventually hit us. Poor me! As you may remember I removed the two skylight hatches from the yacht in order to have them refurbished. It took a long time to acquire the rubber seal strip, so I secured the two hatches with thick foil and Gaffer tape. Not enough – apparently wind and rain managed to tear the plastic cover apart. The boat was open for rain for 2 months!

Draining the flooded yacht´s bilge

So, upon entering the boat I feared the worst but I was lucky: The yacht had been dried out in the past steaming hot summer days and I only found some of the steel tools developing rusty surface and of course the bilge being filled with water. Again I was lucky because I was securing the freshly refurbished bilge with foil which was capturing most of the water.

Scooping the stuff out

The rest of the water had found its way into the three champers of the deep bilge and it was an awful sight: The nicely done white bilge was filled with stinking brownish water. I soon found out that the brown colour wasn´t a form of decaying biological stuff bit simply dissolved Teak dust that is apparent throughout the whole boat. I though, well maybe the rain had washed out some of the dirt here … I began to scoop out the water into a basket.

I had planned for a different task today …

After I removed a significant part of the water I utilized my last sponge to suck the last centimetres of the flooded bilge dry. That worked just fine in the beginning but along with the water the sponge gradually filled with oil. I don´t know yet where this oil has originated and I hope that it came from an open can of paint or thinner, but that stuff sticked to the sponge and made it useless. So I threw two full rolls of toilet paper to the bilge and cleaned it. After half an hour I had managed to get it dry again.

A dress rehearsal: Danboline works!

This all had a good aspect about it: I finally could see that my choice of International´s Danboline bilge paint was actually a good one. After having cleaned the bilge it looks just awesome and shines in bright white just as if I had painted it one day ago. There is no stain nor any leftover from 2 months of standing brackish water in the bilge. Nice!

Dry and (almost) clean again!

The basket was in the end filled with some 10 litres of water. That is a lot and it breaks my heart thinking of my boat opened up to the downpour. I do not have a woman in my life as of know so the boat should get my utmost intention. It was penal to leave it opened up and not having forced myself to even just look for her if everything is okay. I learned a hard lesson today and – of course – was resuming my efforts of the hatch refit in order to finish this off my list.

That is the outcome of today´s work.

So, I wasn´t able to go on working on the otherwise planned things I wanted to do today but cleaned the boat. That´s the thing with boat refits: It often seems like being a never ending story, eating up your time, your money and at last your enthusiasm. But on the other hand, it is also a never ending stream of learnings, lessons and of course, nice stories to tell.

You may also like to read about other mishaps of my yacht´s refit:

How I destroyed the plexiglass hull windows

How I screwed up a Teak ceiling

How I wrongly painted the bilge