Frozen Water in Bilge - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-19-2010 Thread Starter
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Frozen Water in Bilge

I went out to my boat this past weekend (an Alberg 35 I recently purchased) and noticed the bilge was pretty full and frozen solid. I assume that all the deck fittings leak and need to be rebedded. Question is, is there anything to worry about from a frozen bilge such as delamination/cracking from the expanding ice, cracked seacocks etc?
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-19-2010
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You should really consider replacing all your standing rigging.

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post #3 of 19 Old 01-19-2010
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Buy a bag of rock salt and us it to lower the freezing temp of the water. You could also use a few gallons of 'pink' anti-freeze and put it in there.
As you know, water expands when it freezes and turns to ice. It is not a great situation to have ice in there due to the expansion. Thru hulls are certainly a worry as is potential stressing of the fiberglass which could lead to delamination and/or cracking. Fortunately GRP/FRP is a pretty forgiving material.
Next winter think about some sort of cover for your boat AND find fix the leak(s); rebed deck hardware etc.
Which yard are you in the NYC area?
Good luck.

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post #4 of 19 Old 01-19-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll try the rock salt. I just bought this boat as-is where-is so the leaky deck came with the boat unfortunately. Re-bedding the fittings and re-coring a few soft spots are at the top of my repair list. Probably going to rig a few tarps in the meantime. The A35 has a pretty deep and voluminous bilge so I'm hoping the ice expands more up than out. That may be a misguided theory. The boat is currently way out on the island in Southold. Yard bill for the winter was already paid when I bought so I decided to leave it for the winter. I'm in the city so it's a bit of a hike to get out there. Bringing it to Nyack in the spring.
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-19-2010
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I found Oh Joy in that condition last Winter when a yard mate unplugged my power. A fresh water line broke and dumped 100 gallons of water in the bilge, up to the boards. A bag of salt did the trick and several wet vac runs got it all out. No signs of expansion damage. Corrosion from the salt was apparent though.

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post #6 of 19 Old 01-19-2010
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If this warm weather keeps up, you might be able to pump it mostly dry at some point soon then use a couple of gallons of rv antifreeze. I don't like rock salt in the bilge because of corrosion but many people have good luck with it.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-19-2010 Thread Starter
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I like the idea of antifreeze rather than salt. Looks like this weekend will be above freezing for the most part so I'll probably head out and try to get it melted and pumped dry. Thanks for the advice.
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-19-2010
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We hauled our first boat the year I deployed and it froze up tighter than a wedge in the bilge. Same problem, a deck leak coupled with a keel stepped mast allowed water to ingress before she froze up. I was concerned but no problems developed. Putting salt is a good idea just in case, though.

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post #9 of 19 Old 01-19-2010
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I know that rock salt will be a bit harsh on some of the metals inside your hull but is quite effective at melting ice. FRP/GRP will not be harmed by salt but most metals will be over the long term. Most bilge pumps wont care much whether they are pumping salt or fresh water though. I'm not sure if yours were in operation over the winter - I know mine wasn't.
Here is another idea: If you have a through hull knot or depth meter they can easily be removed (if not covered by ice) and left open which will allow an exit point for more water in your bilges. This also allows some ventilation. You can even use a Sham-Wow type cloth to wick the moisture to the thru hull opening (capillary action, provided it is not frozen solid).
Southold is a pretty long way to go and check on your boat from NYC even without summer traffic. We keep our Tartan 27' up at NBC in Nyack. This reminds me that it is time to check in on my old girl.
I'm in NYC too.

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post #10 of 19 Old 01-19-2010 Thread Starter
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That's a great idea. The knot meter impeller is near the bottom of the bilge and I was planning on doing away with it anyway. I looked into getting a spot at NBC but they were full so I got a spot at Hook Mountain YC next door. Going to try for a spot at NBC for next season.
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