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      Thought that you may be interested in a little problem we have uncovered.

      Since we took ownership of our 33 Cruiser in 2006 we have had the odd occurrence of water in the bilges. The Mk1 Tongue test has always shown it to be fresh water. It could be weeks or even months between occurrences and the severity also varied.

      Last week-end when we had a particularly boisterous sail from Gosport to Cowes and then on to Poole problem seemed worse than ever.

      The real confusing bit was that when we got to Cowes the bilges were not too bad but the stb’d saloon stowage (where the batteries are) had 6 inches of water in it. Again fresh and it had been raining so we set about finding out how it was getting from deck level down to the hold and then down into the bilges. Soon became apparent that this was not what was happening cos all the construction dust was not disturbed.

      After a long search we noticed a slow drip from the cold water inlet into the calorifier. Then when I touched the brass fittings the drips turned into a fine spray for a few minutes before reverting to drips.

      This was the obvious source and the reason why it would not always be in the bilge is that there is a section of the bilge, immediately in front of the engine, where the floorboards do not lift and it was collecting in there. Only when you had significant heal on would the water be able to pass to the accessible part of the bilge. And with severe heal the bilge water was able to get into the saloon hold via the electrical conduits that route through the cupboards.

      We have also come to the conclusion that the problem is exacerbated by having the water tank full due to the water pressure, even with the pump off.

      Fixing the leak was not that simple. After removing the calorifier I found a crack in the brass t-piece that screws onto the calorifier inlet (Other two ports go to the pressure relief valve and the tank feed). So it looks like the original fitter was a bit over anxious when tightening it. (I know of another chap who took delivery of his 37’ with a crack in the heads outlet elbow due to over tightening)

      So, if you find fresh water in your bilges, worth bearing this in mind.


        Tanami has led me a merry chase trying to find the source of water in the bilge and particularly in the engine bay. The water was slightly salty so i assumed it was fresh water that had disolved the small amounts of salt lying in the bilge.
        All the problems were intemittent. Sometimes there was a little, sometimes about a mug full. I evenually found a leak around the gas outlet at the stern. The silicon was leaking under the fitting that had not been installed tightly enough. I then reseated the staunchions.
        The problem really showed itself when I had the boat out of the water for antifouling and left the batteries on charge overnight. I forgot that htis also heated the water. In the morning the boat had litres of water in the bilge in the morning. Now how can you get water in the bilge when the boat is not in the water?
        Finally decided it must be the pressure relief valve on the calorifier but have still not seen it leak.
        Finally found that if the motor is run when the water pressure pump is on the heating expands that water in the tank increases the the pressure and that relief valve leaks.
        I have not actually seen where the leak is coming from(work in progress) but if I leave the pressure switch off and leave the tap over the sink open the hot water goes into the sink.

        Can some one tell me the brand of fittings used on the water system.


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