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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Discussion Starter #1
With colder weather coming in, I have started to work inside the cabin of my Sea Sprite 23. First up was drilling a hole into the side of the keel for a garboard plug. As my boat is 50 years old, it didn't have one and I would always get water inside when it rained. For now it is a 1 inch hole, come spring, I will install the throughhull and plug after painting the bottom.

Whenever I pumped the bilge, the pump would pull up all sorts of weird gunk, so I decided to scrape it out and put some bilge cote down. Well, I need a chisel to get this gunk out. 50 years of dirt, water, ****, and corruption have left the bottom of my bilges coated in a hard packed cement like "stuff" that you have to break apart with a chisel (no hammer needed) and twist to pull it loose before you can clean it up.



This is only a small amount of what still needs to be pulled out

 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Could that "cement "like"" stuff have been added for ballast?
How heavy is this mystery material?
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Discussion Starter #3
it's basically lighter than the dirt the boat is parked on. And I doubt it was added for ballast, it is only an inch deep by 6 inches wide by 2 feet long (tapering towards the rudder). In it have found screws, bolts, nuts, scraps of plastic... it's just gunk

If it had been real cement, I could see it added as ballast as these boats were made for an inboard that most of them never got, so they tend to sit bow down some. A few boats I have seen with lead bars in the bilge, but nothing like this.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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So it is just some odd amalgam of detritus that found it's way there.
Anyway, you will feel good after you have cleaned out and put on a coat or 2 of Bilgecoat.
I did it a few years ago. Now I can see what I should be cleaning up instead of it all being, well, yech.
 

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I'd love to be able to clean my bilges better or more often...

On my CAL29, there are basically 3 accessible bilge areas separated by baffles. The forward-most two are under the cabin floor and are easily accessible, dry and clean.

The biggest and deepest is under my engine. It's WAY out of reach (how does it go so far down) and pretty thin/triangle shaped. I've tried putting cleaner down there, clean water, then pumping out, rinse and repeat. I've tried putting rags on a stick and using that to scrub but it doesn't seem to do the trick or get in the crack formed by the triangle shape.

It just doesn't seem to make much headway with the yuck down there. I think a previous owner must've kept his crude oil supply there.

Are there approaches I'm not thinking of? I've spent hours on the rinse/repeat method but since I'm on a mooring ball and have to ferry the nasty water ashore, that gets old pretty quick for the progress I'm making.

Are there companies that have magic tools/pumps/storage tanks that could help? What do they run?
 

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Admiral
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Whenever I am at a dock I do a thorough bilge clean-out but mostly just once a month I wipe down the bilge. There's nothing much there. Still when checking the bilge pump switches it's easy enough to take a work rag and wipe down the bottom.

With that stuff mad machine I'd be tempted to borrow a shop vac and vacuum it out. Then spray with 409 or some such cleanser and wipe it dry/clean. I have a critter who leaves fur so once a week or so (when the wind is really kicking) I'll take my little Orek vacuum and give the edges a once-over.

Good luck.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Discussion Starter #7
I am looking forwards to getting the bilgecoat down there. still a lot of scraping to go though.
 

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Once you get the debris out you might try a hefty solution of tri-sodium phosphate, which is a pretty good cleaner and is water soluble. Or, there are probably all kinds of commercial "bilge cleaners". Curious to know what the solid debris is? sounds like it may have been purposefully put there? Insulation? leak prevention? Yellow Jacket nesting material?

Paul T
 

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With colder weather coming in, I have started to work inside the cabin of my Sea Sprite 23. First up was drilling a hole into the side of the keel for a garboard plug. As my boat is 50 years old, it didn't have one and I would always get water inside when it rained. For now it is a 1 inch hole, come spring, I will install the throughhull and plug after painting the bottom.

Whenever I pumped the bilge, the pump would pull up all sorts of weird gunk, so I decided to scrape it out and put some bilge cote down. Well, I need a chisel to get this gunk out. 50 years of dirt, water, ****, and corruption have left the bottom of my bilges coated in a hard packed cement like "stuff" that you have to break apart with a chisel (no hammer needed) and twist to pull it loose before you can clean it up.



This is only a small amount of what still needs to be pulled out

That looks like vermiculite which can contain asbestos.. Be careful...
 

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I am looking forwards to getting the bilgecoat down there. still a lot of scraping to go though.
Not a huge fan of bilge coat. It looks good for a while then eventually peels and plugs bilge pumps etc... I've not yet found any one part paint that can handle constant submersion indefinitely.. Best bet is to simply re-gelcoat it or use Interprotect 2000E or similar....

Our 1979 factory gelcoat still looks like the day it was rolled on..

 

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Not a huge fan of bilge coat. It looks good for a while then eventually peels and plugs bilge pumps etc... I've not yet found any one part paint that can handle constant submersion indefinitely.. Best bet is to simply re-gelcoat it or use Interprotect 2000E or similar....

Our 1979 factory gelcoat still looks like the day it was rolled on..

You obviously don't have a Perkins in your boat.
 

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Our bilge areas were dirty when we acquired the boat. Cleaned up well due to Ericson having rolled on white gel coat on most of the "visible" areas (under the access plates). Over a decade ago, when I took all of the sole sections out to refinish, I sanded down the rest and gel coated it all out.

The liquid wax one adds to cure the gel coat surface does not give a true "glassy" surface, but it's very smooth and wipes up clean pretty well.

I clean it up each season as needed. A clean and dry bilge stops 98% of the mold and mildew from returning.

Only other boat I have been on with a slick gel-coated bilge, besides a CS Yacht, is a Yamaha.
Our prior boat, the Niagara 26, had a gel coat bilge, but was done with a brush, so was a bit rougher. Still way better than nothing.

Darned Nice feature if you can find it (or create it).

Loren
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Discussion Starter #14
my sea sprite was built 50 years ago this year. It is hull number 110, which actually makes it boat number 20 in a line that stretched through several hundred. As it was built in the infancy of 'glass boats, it was essentially built by hand, so it was never gelcoated or even finished in the bilge areas.

Thankfully as all I have are a 3 through hulls (now 4) and no inboard, water ingress is not a big deal that I have to worry about constant submersion in the bilges, just the ocassional bit of rainwater and condensation that finds it's way aboard.
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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my sea sprite was built 50 years ago this year. It is hull number 110, which actually makes it boat number 20 in a line that stretched through several hundred. As it was built in the infancy of 'glass boats, it was essentially built by hand, so it was never gelcoated or even finished in the bilge areas.
Knowing nothing about the Sea Sprite, you don't happen to have any internal ballast do you?

If so, it could also be 50 years worth of lead oxide..
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Discussion Starter #16
no.. the lead is on the outside of the hull.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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I'd love to be able to clean my bilges better or more often...

On my CAL29, there are basically 3 accessible bilge areas separated by baffles. The forward-most two are under the cabin floor and are easily accessible, dry and clean.

The biggest and deepest is under my engine. It's WAY out of reach (how does it go so far down) and pretty thin/triangle shaped. I've tried putting cleaner down there, clean water, then pumping out, rinse and repeat. I've tried putting rags on a stick and using that to scrub but it doesn't seem to do the trick or get in the crack formed by the triangle shape.

It just doesn't seem to make much headway with the yuck down there. I think a previous owner must've kept his crude oil supply there.

Are there approaches I'm not thinking of? I've spent hours on the rinse/repeat method but since I'm on a mooring ball and have to ferry the nasty water ashore, that gets old pretty quick for the progress I'm making.

Are there companies that have magic tools/pumps/storage tanks that could help? What do they run?
When we owned our Cal 2-29, I had a small submersible bilge pump connected to a length of 1x2 that allowed us to get the pump to the bottom of the engine bilge sump when needed. It was powered w by jumpers to the yacht's batteries. A length of 5/8" tubing allowed us to discharge the bilge water into a 5 gallon bucket. A few oil absorbent pads, stuffed into a ladies mesh lingerie laundering bag, over the end of the discharge hose did a good job of absorbing the oil while allowing the water to flow through. Cleaning was accomplished by using a 50/50 mix of Greased Lightening and Hot Water applied with a small hand pressurized garden sprayer. If the sump is really filthy for want of maintenance, go by your local NAPA store and buy a couple of pressurized cans of Gunk Foaming Engine Degreaser/Cleaner, which will make short work of even the worst gunk although several applications may be required. Rinse with hot water and your garden sprayer.. The oil absorbent pads in your discharge bucket will remove the grease/oil from the bilge water. They can be placed in a plastic trash bag and disposed of ashore and the water simply dumped overboard. In the future, keep a couple of absorbent pads under the engine itself and a bilge sock in the sump, tied to a length of line. It works.
 

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We have a deep (over 1.5' deep and 1' wide) bilge accessible from 4 hatches in the sole. It was clean and dry when we got the boat. I did watch it collect some water, but as I learned my new boat, it was from the refrigerator drain, the shower drain, the old leaky raw water pump (already replaced) etc.. I'm just one of those ship's engineers who likes opening a bilge hatch and seeing nothing but clean dry fiberglass boat structure.
 

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"It's basically lighter than the dirt the boat is parked on. And I doubt it was added for ballast, it is only an inch deep by 6 inches wide by 2 feet long (tapering towards the rudder). In it have found screws, bolts, nuts, scraps of plastic... it's just gunk".

Sounds like you found your boat`s dingleberries.:laugher
 
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