Water, water everywhere.....
When we were motoring in the lea of St Vincent, as we neared the top of the island the sea became quite rough and we were crashing through the waves. After one almighty crash which shook the whole boat, we moved a few degrees off the wind so we weren’t crashing so much. After a few minutes we kept hearing an intermittent buzzing/whistling noise which we thought was the radio. On further investigation we realised that it was the bilge pump alarm going off.
The bilge in the centre of the boat is where any water collects from other parts of the boat. When we looked in the bilge it was quite full of water.
Rule number one: taste the water – if it’s salty panic, if fresh water it means that the water is coming from our own water tanks. Having ascertained that the water was NOT salty we started emptying the bilge. We then realised that the water pump was on so the water was coming from a tap somewhere. We turned the pump off and continued emptying the bilge with our stirrup pump.
This involves Chris kneeling on the floor and leaning into the bilge. Because the sea had been quite rough we both had lifejackets on. They can be activated by being immersed in water, or by a pull tab. Suddenly Chris’ life jacket inflated as he must have caught the pull toggle whilst leaning into the bilge! It was fully inflated and took us quite a while to get it off. Nice to know they work and inflate so quickly.
Having emptied the bilge and stopped the flow of water in, we then looked to see which tap was on or if a water hose had come off a tap.
At the front of the boat we have our bunk, heads (toilet) one side and a shower the other. As we have another head with a good shower we don’t use the front one. We have stored spare sails and wet weather gear in there. When we opened the door it was obvious what had happened – the showerhose had been under the tap which turns on by being pulled up. In one of the crashes the hose had tightened and opened the tap which proceeded to fill the shower until it overflowed and started going into the bilge. By the time we had turned the water pump off we had emptied about half of our water tanks!