Bilge pump

Bilge pump

   Well after so many years with my little 12 footer, a Lehman I call Red Top I finally installed the bugger. This came about helping Linda empty some rain barrels into the larger 250 gallon water totes. She was hauling the water by the bucket full. 

   I told her to wait on that and went over to the shop/boat she’d at First st. coming back with a 12 volt bilge pump and hooked up a garden hose and was able to save her a lot of work. 

   In searching for the 12 volt bilge pump I came across the hand pump shown in the picture. At first I was trying to figure where I could install the electric one. Then the battery and keeping it charged; on a 12 footer! Nah! I went back to the hand operated job.

   I even used it the first sail after installing the thing, twice actually. The first go round was right there at the dock, I tied up the boat, parked the truck and then set the mast. Getting in I noticed high water, uh oh! Forgot to put the rain plug back in. So then and there Red Top needed pumping. 

Happliy it worked rather well, nobody said anything, the docks were full of people coming and going.

   The wind was forecast South at 15 with gusts to 20. That puts Red Top right at the edge of needing the first reef. I decided to go for it as was. I found out later it was a bit more. Then the fun began.

   The wind being what it was from the South I left Cove Harbour on a starboard reach, wind coming over the starboard side, going down the ICW a short distance then back on that same reach; all the way to San Jose Island. First ever for me, actually, closest ever to the ranch headquarters. Pretty neat.

   Going over the spray and chop being kicked up Red Top was filling up again. Not wanting to use the sponge, I now had a bilge pump. My system still needs some fine tuning. 

   Red Top has a false floor a few inches above the bilge, with a 7” round cut out for access to the rain drain, on top of that floor there’s a 1/2” foam pad, cutting two slits in the foam pad, X fashion the suction side of the bilge pump fits nicely in it. But to operate, my right foot in along side of the pump, remember it’s blowing, the boats heeling and taking a bit of water over the rail.

   So the left foot is assigned to holding the outlet side of the pump, the left hand is holding the tiller and main sheet, steering by feel mostly, and my right hand working the pump. After a bit I was laughing at the situation. 

   All in all it was a good practice session. The whole thing brought a smile to my face. I need now to come up with a better system that holds the out flow tube. I’ve thought about a hole through the combing, but really want to give it more thought before doing such.

   I stopped at Mud Island on the way back to eat my lunch. 

It seemed even windier, and it was. I should have stopped and put in that reef, and had the wind gotten stronger I would have. 

   Coming into the dock gave me concern, as did a couple of jibes I knew were forthcoming. The jibes came off without a hitch, coming to the dock came off smoothly, once in a while it’s touch and go back out into the Harbour for another run. 

   Nice day of sailing, put in at 10am, back in at 4pm. 


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