Monday, 2 July 2012

The bilge cleaner

Thats a job I really do well and I have had the pleasure of for some thirty six years or so, mind you its a job not to be missed, the stuff you see and find down there can be quite good for the boat. Things that were dropped get found and things that need fixing get noticed.

Yesterdays session, it was three hours and I am not done yet, was to clean the main engine, its an old Perkins 4108 diesel, which runs perfectly and drips just a little oil from its all alloy cast sump. I use a long handled 2  inch painters brush and either Castrol or Wynns water soluable cleaner, by the time you have worked both sides of the motor and sump, its ready to be washed clean.

This boats bilge is normaly clean and dry, the boat is wood/epoxy and twelve years in the water.

My findings this session was a washer and a stainless nut, they fell off the alternator some time back (they were replaced) I found that the washer part block a drain hole, rodded out with a thin dinghy sail batten, I was soon seeing limber holes running free with clean water from a hose pipe.

Note, a dry bilge stays cleaner, no water means no sludge growth can exist, leave the floors open to allow air to circulate.

Cleaning bilges can also take you places, once around 1977 and at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, a very nice girl was looking for a yacht to sail away on, was she from Durban? She met with Rick an American and single hander on what was around a forty foot yacht, he was interested and said it really does depend on how well you can clean my boats bilge out for me?

This was an interesting deal, if she could not manage, he still had a bilge cleaner than when he started and if the job was well done he may have an attractive crew mate too? It must have worked really well, they sailed off together and around two years later I saw a picture of them both in Cruising World magazine, in the Carribean and still together!

How nice is that.