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  Glad I have a WHALER!

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Author Topic:   Glad I have a WHALER!
Swellmonster posted 03-24-2002 03:32 PM ET (US)   Profile for Swellmonster   Send Email to Swellmonster  
Just a short story,
Last week I was off shore in the gulf, 30 miles or so. A couple of prior, I replaced my live well pump. It worked a few times, then just stopped. I thought it just flaked out. I wasn't catching fish so I DECIDED TO GO OUT FURTHER. When I was slowing down, I had noticed a lot of water in the back of my boat and was sitting noticably lower in the water. STRANGE I thought. So I hit the bilge pump switch and nothing came out. With the boat now turned around heading for land, I opened the floor cover plate infront of the motor and found the whole underside of the boat full of water. I pulled the bilge up to look for debris and found a small shell in there. Removed it, hit the switch and it started working again. Put the pump back in water and it popped the breaker again. Fortunatly I keep the transom plug inside the hull, not outside like other boaters I have seen. I pulled the plug and let the water go out. That was great but water was still gushing through the livewell. I opened up the livewell and removed the floor plate and found my fish pump came loose from its mounting bracket and had a perpetual "salt water spring" gushing in. I had so much water coming in I had to open the floor/fish box plugs to let water out while driving. All in all, I did not panic, I new I was in a boat that doesn't sink. Love my whaler!!
Bigshot posted 03-25-2002 02:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Don't sink that thing yet.....wait til after the 13th man:)
Swellmonster posted 03-26-2002 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
Bigshot,
I am putting in new pumps tomorrow.
jimh posted 03-28-2002 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks to Swellmonster for contributing his story of the Whaler at sea.

I think there is something very fundamental in Whaler's marketing of their boat as unsinkable. It really is THE underlying concern of anyone who goes out in a boat.

I have not had the pleasure of being aboard any of the newer style Whalers that have enclosed bilge spaces, but I did spend some time recently crawling around one at a dealership. I poked my head into all the hatches and openings I could find to see how they put them together.

What I saw was interesting. Enclosed bilge spaces create many areas which can contain and hide from view the not-too-attractive parts of a boat, like its batteries, it pumps, plenty of hoses and control cables, and electrical wiring. In a classic Whaler most of these things are in open view in the motor well and cockpit.

Concealing all these mechanicals is definitely an improvement in esthetics, but it has some costs, too. Access is a bit restricted, but seemed quite workable.

But Swellmonster's narrative reveals the most important aspect of enclosed bilge spaces--the fact that they can flood with water and not be immediately noticed.

I recall reading several years ago of a wealthy fellow who took delivery of a very large custom sailboat (in the 70-foot range), and set off to sail it back from Europe to the US. The boat was several hundred miles offshore in a calm Atlantic when perhaps a thru-hull fitting hose failed and began to flood the boat. As it was a beautiful day, the crew were all on deck, and no one was below. At some point, someone went down the companionway steps to the cabin to find the water coming over the cabin sole. This situation was very dire.

The sea water had flooded the entire bilge of the boat, putting all the batteries under water and shorting them out. The electric pumps could not be run, nor could the big diesel auxillary engine be started. The crew manned the manual bilge pumps for a while as they searched for the source of the water.

They never found it. Nor could they keep up with the water pouring in. The multi-million dollar custom boat settled into the Atlantic and the wealthy owner and crew abandoned ship to a life raft. They were recovered with the aid of an EPIRB transmitter, but they had to watch as that beautiful sailboat sank to the depths of the ocean.

--jimh

B Bear posted 03-28-2002 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
JimH,
You are quite right there is a give and take on anything, in this case keeping an overall clean esthetic appearance. The positive side is that these items no longer clutter the deck, the down side is that they are not directly accessible and that there are now enclosed spaces.
These enclosed spaces can be found on the older classic outrages, walk arounds, cuddys, and walk throughs in the way of tunnels and sumps.

One of the ways that the newer Whalers have addressed these hidden components is to keep these items above the bilges even below deck. The example I will use is my 16 Dauntless where the battery is in the console almost at deck level so the terminals are above the deck. The only item located below the deck in the bilge is the bilge pump which has a large access plate above it. The tunnel for the rigging does run from the console to the bilge area, but is still quite high.

If a newer Whaler were to become swamped, the result will be the same as a swamped classic concerning pumps and batteries. The important thing is that the hull will not sink; even if Swellmonster had not been able to pull the drain plug I am sure he would have made it home. That cannot be said for any other boat. Even if the flooding made it to the top of the deck it would have self bailed from that point on. In fact Tursuki had once forgotten to put in his drain plug, flooded his bilge only to become enlightened to it after a day of fishing.

There is great beauty in the simple functionality of the smaller classic whaler design, it is as in the older cars when engines were simple to work on and now the newer car engines are more complicated. That is what happened happened with the newer whalers from the enclosed bilges to the new engines. The one thing that has not changed is the fundamental manufacturing process which allows the hull to be “unsinkable” and remain a Boston Whaler. To bad that sail boat wasn't made like a Boston Whaler.

Stay high, stay dry, stay with the boat.
Bear

jimh posted 03-28-2002 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If I recall correctly, the Dauntless was the boat I was looking at at the dealership, but I think it was a 22. In this boat the battery was mounted in the stern compartment, but it was quite high, really at deck level.

I was impressed with the rigging and detail I saw in the innards of the boat. All the many cables, wires, and hoses were carefully installed and harnessed.

The boat had twin bilge pumps, both the RULE centrifugal-type pumps, and both mounted in the stern, one on each side of the keel centerline.

Concerning pumps and debris, I once installed a rather impressive bilge pump in our sailboat. It was a diaphragm style pump, with an electric motor and cam that operated a reciprocating arm connected to the diaphragm bellows. This pump cost about $200 (ten years ago) and it would self prime with a 6-foot lift. It would also pump against a 6-foot head. (See http://continuouswave.com/maintenance-logs/newBilgePump/ ).

The beauty of a diaphragm style pump is that it will handle debris. I think that pump I installed could suck a ping-pong ball up and pump it out without even noticing it. Little bits of sand and stuff will pass right through it.

The other advantage to that style pump is you can mount it high and dry, keeping the electric motor out of the bilge. Although, in all honesty, submersing the electrical motor does not seem like an issue with the centrifugal pumps.

In the back of every Whaler owner's mind it the special self assurance that he's on a boat that won't sink. I think that empowers the Whaler to go into situations where others would not, or to feel comfortable in situations where other boat owners might not be at ease.


--jimh

Swellmonster posted 03-28-2002 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
Thank you for you kindness and reasurance.
When I got home, I filled my bilge with fresh water and dawn soap to rinse out the salt water residue. I looked at my water meter to kind of get a measure on how many gallons go underneath. In my 20 o/r, I only was able to hold about 120 gallons of water under the floor. (for us techies)
DillonBW posted 03-31-2002 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for DillonBW  Send Email to DillonBW     
I owned a 35' converted fishing boat in the UK about 10 years ago, While we were on a passage from Holland to England, we discovered water coming over the floorboards. Manual pumping and redirecting the engine cooling water intake to suck up the bilge water soon cleard it. But we still had trouble finding the leak. While hanging upside down in the engine compartment we found that as the boat rolled one way, a wash of water ran down that side. Instant thoughts were that a plank had sprung! Then we remembered we had some work done on a cockpit locker, which contained our propane gas cylinders, a month before. Opening the locker we found that as the boat rolled, the drain hole ( to let any gas/fumes over the side rather than build up in the locker ) was dipping below the water level, in would rush a couple of gallons of sea water, the boat rolled the other way and the water would seep through the NON watertight locker! The yard had not made it water tight as it was originally. A quick rummage through the tool box and plugging the hole with the correct size wood plug stemmed the flow and home we came.
Moral is, Always have a wooden dowel plug the correct size for every through hull fitting in you boat.
Happy Whalin'
Sixer posted 03-31-2002 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sixer    
First thing anyone that has a boat with a bilge pump, is wire an indicator light or alarm into the circuit when the pump activates. Can help prevent surprises. Also, the April issue of Boat/US Seaworthy has an excellent piece on bilge pumps and what can go wrong with them.

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