Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Deep Dark Place

The bilge on the CD 27 uses up every bit of the boat's four foot draft. Even stretched out as far as I can reach, the bottom of that cavern is unreachable.

This presents a bit of an issue with the bilge pumps.

One: How to install an electric pump when you can't reach the bottom of the bilge to install one.
Two: How to keep the manual pump hose fastened down so it doesn't float when the bilge fills up with water?

I puzzled over this for about a year. Then I remembered the installation I saw on an Island Packet a while back.

So I grabbed some cardboard and starting building some mockups. Fun times.

The idea was to make a rack that all of the bilge apparatus would attached to that could be bolted down or removed from the bilge in one piece.

Here is what I ended up with after some cutting and shaping of some plastic StarBoard lumber.

The Bilge "Rack" Ready to Be Installed
I made a shelf for the electric pump that sits about 2 inches off the bottom of the bilge, which should keep it free of debris and reduce clogging. The strainer for the manual bilge pump is screwed to the bottom of the rack and is meant to sit on the very bottom of the bilge. It has a built-in check valve so water won't backflow into the bilge when the pump stops. I ran the wire in split-loom conduit and attached it to the rack with a cable clamp. The circular cutout is a guide for the manual pump hose.

Using the template the rack was made from, I drilled two holes in the forward part of the bilge and epoxied two short pieces of all-thread into them so the holes at the top of the rack would slide over them. 

Looking down at the rack installed. You can see how the hose guide works and also the bolts sticking out waiting for washers and nuts to secure everything in place.
It's a pretty tidy installation, if I do say so myself. If anything goes wrong with either pump, I can unbolt the whole thing and lift it out.

Now that the pumps were both in place, I was able to finally run the hoses up and out of the way in their final position. Here you can see them running up and over the engine compartment. The other hoses you see are the propane hose for the galley stove and a wire conduit for the water pump and port side cabin lights. As soon as I snapped this picture, I realized I should have painted this section of the compartment before installing the hoses. Woops. So I loosened them up and painted everything out before reinstalling them. Nothing like doing a job twice!


  1. Great job. One Question. When you drilled into the "ballast compartment" did you hit anything i.e. lead, or just glass? I want to copy this idea, please don't copywrite it.....

  2. Hey Bill. I drilled REALLY shallow holes, so just hit glass. I'm counting on the epoxy to do the job for me. I highly recommend buying, borrowing, or stealing a 90 degree angle drill. Drilling accurate holes with a regular drill is a serious challenge unless your arms are 5 feet long.


  3. Hi, a friend of mine is a big fan of your blog, he would like to contact you in any way, he's working on his own boat and it is the same one you have. i would be really happy because he thought about some advices or help for you. please just leave a comment, or visit me on my own blog and wirte one or just wirte me an email to he loves boats but isnt really interested in the internet, so i had to help him :)
    thanks a lot :)

  4. I wish we had blueprints, to know what was where and how thick is is!
    Nice job! But, I don't know how you reached through the access pit and back down the hole. Maybe I'm just too old and fat. I still have to get mine installed.