Familiarisation – bilges and below the water line

No matter how good a surveyor you may have commissioned prior to buying the yacht of your dreams, there is only a limited amount of checking that can be done.

One of the first jobs that I undertook, especially on an aluminium yacht, is the check the bilges. I went through mine two or three times and found a multiple of items ranging from underwear, coins, and remnants from past works carried out. This clean up, not only safeguards your investment, but also allows you to familiarise yourself with every nook and cranny. In this process I discovered potential storage spaces, seeping pipes and electrical conduits. In my inspection, I checked bilge pumps, water pumps and gas alarms.

Some of the items discovered

In fact one leak, which the previous owner had for many years was isolated to the fridge sea water cooling pump. This leak alluded the previous owner, so much so that he accepted it and regularly drained the water, with a specially purchased mini electric portable bilge pump. The leak was narrowed down relatively easily, by tasting the water. Discovering it was salt water, eliminated all fresh water system and allowed me to concentrate on sea cocks, engine inlets. Admittedly, the sea water fridge pump, was a bit of an oddity.

This familiarisation process is also beneficial for future servicing and troubleshooting, especially when you may be out at sea and there is no one around to give advise.

Finding items on a Yacht – safety tip one

I have started making Seraphim my own. This initially involved storing all tools and valuable accessories on board. The main stowage problems on a yacht is space and being able to find things. I decided to store most on my tools and valuable accessories under the fore cabin bunk. This is an easily accessible storage area and I mange to store almost everything.

It’s my belief that from a safety perspective it’s important to have quick access to tools. Not only for me, but also for the entire crew. Imagine a scenario where I’m incapacitated and the crew need vital equipment to resolve a leak or engine issue. Where would they start, how would they ever be able to find stuff ?

With is in mind I placed all tools in easily accessible plastic storage boxes, which keeps similar tools together, dry and protected. All boxes are clearly labeled with an indelible marker and then mapped on a diagram with is available to crew in printable format. To enhance the finding process, I have also made this available in pdf format, which can be installed on any phone or tablet, of crew members. The crew can simply type in a keyword and find the location of the said item which will be displayed on their device.

Here is an example of the fore cabin location map and I intend to do the same for all other areas of yacht. This will not only include tools, but also safety equipment, cooking utensils, sails, etc etc etc

Fore Cabin location map

Installing my iSocket remote heating control

Today started by taking my new iPad back to The Apple Bentals Centre for a refund as I don’t really need it as I had my old one fixed. Then Eden Walk car park was empty as was the whole of Kingston, due to the second COVID lockdown, which began two weeks ago. The process was jock and painless.

Then, a trip down the A3 to Seraphim to install the iSocket, which is a plug that you can access and control via 3G. All went well and a successful install and I’m now able to control the heater and dehumidifier remote.

Whilst on Seraphim I vacuumed out the fore and central cabin bilges. Centre bilges had about 1/3rd of a bowl of salt water and I couldn’t see and obvious leaks.Relaxed a bit with a coffee and omelette with pancetta, yellow pepper and chilli. I’ll order smaller plastic storage boxes for tools and useful bits and bobs. Left at just after 1500 for Esher.

Will try these and see how good they are