Online Book: Watertight Integrity, Chapter 6 of 8

Our New Crash Pump

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The sound of gushing water from below has got to be right up there on any voyaging sailor’s list of worst nightmares. On Morgan’s Cloud, given that we believe that any pump that is practical for a yacht, no matter how powerful, is going to be of limited use in a flooding situation, we have always pursued a strategy of prevention, coupled with the gear and training to quickly stop a leak if one did occur.

But two of the comments to our recent bilge pump post got us rethinking:

  • Matthew pointed out that the pump we put such faith in is not thermally protected and will likely burn out in under an hour in an emergency situation.
  • Dick pointed out that large manual bilge pumps, like our huge Edson, are really pretty useless for a short handed crew because they are exhausting to operate and, worse still, using them will distract the crew from what should be the primary goal in a flooding situation: find and plug the leak. (By the way, I strongly recommend that everyone read Dick’s excellent flooding strategy article.)

Thanks to these two comments, and the others on the post, we came to the following three conclusions:

  • Our bilge pumps on Morgan’s Cloud were not adequate to at least slow the rising water while we looked for the cause of flooding, or to pump out the huge volume of water that might be left in the boat after we (hopefully) found and plugged a bad leak.
  • That we needed a pump that would run continuously for long periods and that would automatically cycle on and off using thermal protection if it did overheat.
  • There was no recreational electric bilge pump that was large and robust enough to do the job and had thermal protection.

So we went looking for an alternative in the commercial and industrial world and found a good solution.


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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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