electric bilge pump for a DSIII?

Regarding the DS3 only. Note that the DS3 is not a class-legal Day Sailer.

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electric bilge pump for a DSIII?

Postby SMichelsen » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:52 am

I am finding that a two-hour sail on the bay with moderate waves equates to almost 20 gallons pumped out of the bilge. That seems excessive to me. I have a hand pump which takes care of it nicely, but I am thinking that a (very) small 12 volt bilge pump would be a nice addition. There's not a lot of room to install one - I have a vertical access port close to the transom on the port side where I would typically use my manual pump. Would this be the place to set it (assuming I can fit it at all)? I don't necessarily need this to be an automatic bilge; I can install a switch and just run it for a few minutes from time to time.

I am guessing that the water is coming in at the centerboard. It is sometimes reluctant to raise (or lower) and may be in need of some maintenance. I sail on Rehoboth Bay in Delaware, which can be shallow. I don't secure the centerboard in the down position as it is apt to hit bottom from time to time.

Any thoughts on this? Any pumps that fit?

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Re: electric bilge pump for a DSIII?

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:16 pm

Steve, you had created two identical threads by accident, I deleted one for you.

Now, to your question. First, I'd need to understand a bit more about your DSIII. My understanding would be that it is like a DSII in that it has a double hull and the centerboard is raised and lowered by an uphaul and dowhnaul. If that's the case, you might be experiencing something that is widely discussed in the DSII section of the forum, where the (dynamic) water pressure inside the CB trunk will squirt out water through the forward opening of, I believe, the uphaul. That water then normally runs into the cockpit, not the bilge (which on a double hulled boat is between cockpit floor and hull). I've been able to observe that phenomenon on a DSII and the amount of water is prodigious.

There may be other places water can leak from the CB trunk and end up in the bilge; I think you may find that discussed as well.

In either case, there should be ways to address this issue. Unless you constantly slam into waves and get spray over the bow, or sail in the rain, your boat should remain dry. I have a small leak around my CB pivot (but it's a modified DS1 design) but that contributes a few drops per minute, not gallons of water.

Remember, you can install additional access ports (deck plates) anywhere. The fittings aren't expensive and it's not a complicated job to install them. You may need some additional ones to help you find the source of your leak, but also, to be able to place any pump at the lowest point in the boat (which is near the mast).

You'd only need on of the smaller pumps, like this one: https://www.fisheriessupply.com/rule-500-gph-low-voltage-bilge-pump-with-check-valve. You'd mount it on lowest point of the hull and then you would need to lead a hose from there to a point where the water can drain overboard. For example, going along the hull at 90 degrees to the centerline, up the side of the cuddy and draining perhaps onto the side deck for ease of monitoring. You'd need one access port in the cuddy floor to place the pump, a small hole to let the hose pass thorough (sealed with caulk) and likewise for the cables. If you plan on using a lead acid battery, you would place it near the mast. Or you could get a small LiIon 12V battery, which would be easier to take out of the boat for charging (and could be placed anywhere, they are so light).

However, I would contemplate this only is you plan extensive cruising with the boat - when it might make the difference in getting you home. Otherwise, I'd go after the source of the leak, and once that's fixed, rely on the hand pump for any emergencies (like the fix stops working).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: electric bilge pump for a DSIII?

Postby SMichelsen » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:50 pm

Well it's another sailing season and I still have the same problem with water in the bilge of my DSIII. Last fall I had a fiberglass guy do some repairs around the bolts that hold in the centerboard assembly, but unfortunately that has not stopped the issue. I just got done ordering a little automatic bilge pump from westmarine. Even at 500 GPH it's way overrated for my problem which seems to be a 10 GPH leak at its absolute worst. I've got an inspection port on the port side, near the deck, near the transom, so it's going into the bilge there. That location happens to also be adjacent to where my trolling motor battery sits, so exposed wiring will be at a bare minimum. I also ordered a 3/4" thru-hull fitting and some tubing, and will run the fitting through the transom in the "top left corner". I need to sort out a way to keep the pump firmly in place.

I suppose that another trip to the fiberglass guy would be the more permanent (and dramatically more costly) solution to this problem, but my confidence that he will find and resolve the problem is low at this point. My belief is that this sub-$100 fix ought to get it done. As my sailing association uses a little crane to move boats between the water and trailer, having a couple hundred pounds of water in the bilge complicates things when taking the boat out!

Opinions on all this are welcome!


If the picture does not appear, it can be seen here... https://www.dropbox.com/s/lih7606fn04ubvn/bilge%20pump.jpg?dl=0
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