Bad days: water in … stove out !

Outside, the boat was sailing well, pointing close to the wind. Time to go to bed. A last look around before climbing into my warm bunk for some needed sleep. I finished my daily routine check-up by a last look into the engine room.
Oh my god….It’s full of water! The nightmare of any mariners: salted water pouring inside!
From my many sailing years, I have developed some specifics strategies to quickly access emergencies situations. This time, I just tested the water on my tongue. It’s fresh water coming from inside. Could have been worse. But still, we are loosing our fresh water in the engine room. A lot of it. No more sleep before I found out the origin of the leak. I know my boat, its water tanks, its pipes and valves. Still, I needed a long investigation to find out the problem. The pick-up pipe from the port water tank going through the bulkhead was pouring water into the engine room.
I know perfectly that my water tanks were epoxied inside. I never had that kind of leakage before. Time for action. I took a small piece of oiled fabric and used it as caulking around that broken pipe. I stopped temporarily the leak but a more permanent repair had to be done as soon as possible. For now, at least, no more water gushing into the engine room.
Time to think again about some sleep. A wise decision. Because the next day was a pretty hard sailing day. Finish the lazy ride, “wing on wing”, with a light wind pushing gently on our back and slowly rolling the boat. We are now running up wind at 7 knots. Sea is pretty rough . Breskell was heeling and bucking the dark water. Totally uncomfortable for the crew but we are going in the right direction with a boat pointing well against the wind. But at one point, my boat, after jumping a big wave, crashed back so strongly into the water that the wood stove popped out of its four plates anchoring it on the floor. Then, the stove lifted off a good 10 to 15 inches. Naturally the smoke pipe crumbled. Luckily nothing broke but creosote was everywhere. A mess. Outside, in heavy seas, the weather with this wind coming from the North Pole and cooling even more on those icebergs around us was chilling.  I had to reinstall quickly stove and pipes. We needed it again tonight as every crew members appreciated its dry heat and cozy ambiance. 
But I was not done yet. I went in front to check the bathroom. Now, after the engine, after the stove, I had water in the shower tray! I found the front hatch open. Trying to close it was impossible. The dinghy on top had not appreciated all that jumping around. It had shifted. A rope holding it is on my way. And again some more struggling before locking it and drying the shower. Enough for those two days. Tonight the wind died.

Iceberg on starboard

And we all returned happily to a more normal sailing routine standing around our beloved and again well anchored wood stove.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *