PS Advisor 02/15/01
I appreciated your June 2000 article on bilge pumps. My specific problem is that I have a wet bilge. I have been working to rid my 1984 C&C 37 of the leaks that contribute to the problem, but this is a slow process. The boat has a centerboard, making the bilge shallow but not tiny. My current pump does not remove all the water, leaving a few inches in the bilge, which smells and requires treatment. Worse, the water spills up through the sole when the boat is hard over. This tends to make a mess of things. Do you have recommendations for this sort of problem? Is there a pump that will leave the bilge dry or close to it?
There is no way to pump out all the water from a bilge because when the pump is turned off water left in the hose runs back down. You can install a check valve (one-way valve) in the hose to prevent most of the water from falling back but it is generally frowned on as causing unnecessary resistance for water being pumped out…and the possibility of it getting jammed shut.
So, it is better to focus on the sources of the water—centerboard pin, stuffing box, mast openings such as sheave boxes for internal halyards (if a keel-stepped mast), leaky windows/portlights and deck fittings, etc. In most larger boats such as yours, keeping all water out is difficult but it certainly can be minimized. You don’t want oily water slopping out when heeled—that is no good.
Cleaning Standing Rigging
Last year, we shipped ourselves and our Hunter 34 from Michigan to the Corpus Christi, Texas area. Being a freshwater boat with limited seasonal usage, her original B&R rigging was, and largely still is, in good condition. We’d heard about the horrors of salt corrosion, but there’s nothing like seeing it firsthand.
What is your best bet for slowing down corrosion? Freshwater rinses make sense, but there are limits as to how much of the mast we can rinse without wetting down adjacent boats at marinas. We’ve heard a lot of suggestions: linseed oil, anhydrous lanolin, 5200 at the swages, and just letting her rust. Our concern with some of these is that we might seal in salt moisture, and wind up making matters worse.
In an imperfect world, what do you suggest?
John & Sandy Wilson
Corpus Christi, Texas
In the May 1, 2000 issue we wrote about a product called the Rig Rover which is designed to clean wire rigging. While keeping salt off stainless wire is certainly helpful, it is a troublesome chore no matter how you approach it. A freshwater rinse would be simplest, but as you point out, not entirely practical high up.
Most wire failures occur at the lower terminals (because water can get trapped in them, unlike the inverted terminals at the masthead), so rinsing lower wire and terminals with a hose would be the simplest and most sensible. We personally wouldn’t bother with anything more involved than the occasional polish of ss hardware. If you replace the rigging, get 316 ss and not 304 ss. It costs a little more, but is more corrosion resistant.