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Water ingress to the fiberglass
It sounds like if the bottom of the bilge is spongy, that you might have water infiltration through the resin and glass above the lead ballast. I thinking "digging" a hole might allow even more water into the glass fiber. The idea of evacuating as much of the water resting in the bilge is a good one, though. If the boat is on the hard, you could drill into the glass above the ballast and see if the mat there is dry, and if not , dry it out through the winter, then check the bilge bottom with a moisture meter. If wet, then try light bulbs suspended (dryly) in the bilge for a while, and check again. could take several days or weeks. Once it's dry, seal up the bottom of the bilge by pouring a thin layer of thinset epoxy, and then form a "mini-bilge" where the pickup hose from the bilge pump sits. Be careful pouring the thinset epoxy into the bottom of the bilge, because if the ambient temperature is too high, the mixture could smoke or burn. Better use a slow hardener to keep the temps down, and also allow the mix to fill in any cracks or holes that have been allowing water down by the ballast. This is just my opinion from a fairly minimal amount of epoxy work I have done (bottom job, rebuilding a hatch coaming, etc.) I'd be interested how others weigh in on this.