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Bilge water wont stay put!

Sep 24, 2018
1,451
O'Day 25 Chicago
The last few weeks I've noticed mold growth on a few parts of the cabin. Most of it looks like penicillium and is easy to clean. The worst part is the storage area under the cushions in the main salon. Everything feels damp. Last night while installing some vents in there I found some black mold/mildew on a box. While it has been unusually humid this year, I suspect that the issue is worse in this area due to to the fact that the bilge is not sealed off from this area. Perhaps every time it gets hot some of that water evaporates and then condensates at night? Maybe the bilge water ends up in there when we heel? Can anyone see a reason not to seal the bilge off from this area?
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,451
O'Day 25 Chicago
Yes, access in an emergency.
The cover for the bilge is in the middle of the cabin sole and will not be modified in any way. The gap between the bilge and the under seat storage is maybe an inch high and I believe water/moisture is making its way through there

I think the saildrive seal is leaking a bit... Then again it's an O'Day which are notorious for leaks! That seal requires haul out and engine removal. Definitely a winter project
 
Oct 24, 2010
2,391
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
I think ideally ventilation is the key. I think closing things off may make mold and mildew worse. Someone else please chime in if I'm wrong.

Ken
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,451
O'Day 25 Chicago
Four three inch vents have been installed to vent the storage areas to the cabin (two per side) and two solar vent fans for the cabin are going to be installed this week. We've been leaving the cushions propped up when we leave. As far as I can tell it hasn't made the mold any worse since we started doing that
 
Jul 12, 2011
974
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Not familiar with your particular boat / under-seat storage design. Do you get standing water in that locker, or is it just condensate? In the midwest there's quite a difference in temps through the day. If you're on shore power, consider a small de-humidifier that drains to the galley sink (if you trust your throughhulls) or even the bilge as it will pump over board.
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,451
O'Day 25 Chicago
Not familiar with your particular boat / under-seat storage design. Do you get standing water in that locker, or is it just condensate? In the midwest there's quite a difference in temps through the day. If you're on shore power, consider a small de-humidifier that drains to the galley sink (if you trust your throughhulls) or even the bilge as it will pump over board.
Unfortunately 120v power is not available at my slip. I have a 100w solar panel but haven't had a chance to install it yet. We're seeing upper 80's to lower 90's most days. This is our third Midwestern season and first time dealing with this issue. We're trying to avoid desiccant de-humidifiers since they have the potential to tip or get wet while heeling
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,451
O'Day 25 Chicago
I installed the solar vents and cleaned out the bilge yesterday. To answer my own question, that area drains to the bilge for a good reason. Anytime water enters the boat from the deck, cabin top, etc, it'll end up in the bilge. Those passages from the under seat storage allows this to happen. It also allowed me to use a hose while cleaning
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,606
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 28400 Portland OR
I think the saildrive seal is leaking a bit... Then again it's an O'Day which are notorious for leaks! That seal requires haul out and engine removal. Definitely a winter project
That's a really 'big deal'. Those old seal/membranes are rated by one of the major vendors (Volvo) for a 7 year replacement regimen. I have never hear that the O'Day 25 has any more leaks than other boats of the same age. And age can be the main problem -- it's rarer than the proverbial hen's tooth to find any boat over 30 years old that has had all (100%) of the deck fastenings and opening pulled and re-bedded. The result is deck leaks, rotting core, and constant moisture problems inside... and a boat with a negative value when an attempt is made to sell it.
I have friends that enjoyed their OD-25 for many many seasons, but these folks also did their major maintenance chores too.

If you are keeping the boat for 5 or 10 more years, consider doing a re-fit, and also changing out the sail drive. Is yours a Volvo or OMC? Gas engine?
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,994
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
There are 2 ways to think about this assuming that you are talking about a gap under the floor that connects the bilge with the space under the seats. Here is how my salon floor looked on my Starwind 27 as I was replacing my floor.
IMG_1197.jpg


See those teak rails under the cushions? The fiberglass liner sealed the void under the seat from the bilge. I thought about punching a few limber holes under the floor but decided not to.

You can seal this area up and prevent bilge water vapor from permeating the space under the seats. You will have the occasional water collection in those spaces if you have deck leaks. This might be easier said than accomplished, so think it thru.

Or, you can let that space drain and leave it open to the bilge water contamination.

I much prefer that it be closed. The bilge tends to be nastier and more pervasive than any water that might collect in those spaces under the seats. Sure, I mopped up under the seats occasionally, but there was nothing fetid about it. It was clean even if it was a bit of a nuisance.

Few people have 30-40 year old boats that are perfect. I certainly didn't. You can still sail perfectly well even if there are a few warts. Some people act as if any deviation from perfectly clean, sanitary and structurally perfect is the basis for a negative value. I did not find that to be the case. And if you read enough posts in here, you realize that there are multitudes of people whom are willing to jump all over just about any complete hunk of junk if they think they are getting a deal.

Take care of those warts to the best of your ability and go sailing. No boat is perfect, but there are plenty that are worthy of enjoyment despite the imperfections. I think I would attempt to seal off that bilge and then strive to eliminate any vexing leaks that may contribute to a little water under the seats from time to time.
 

Ward H

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Nov 7, 2011
3,093
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
On my 82 O25 there were rubber tubs that fit into the openings under the cushions with wood covers. I think these tubs helped to seal the area under the benches from the cabin.
I think you could seal the majority of the opening but still leave limber holes so any water leaking into that area can drain into the bilge but minimize condensation of bilge water into the area under the cushions.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,833
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
It is tough to dry thing out without power available, but the first thing to do IMHO is to work on the leaks. If your shaft log/ sail drive is leaking, that should be fixed. And start working on deck leaks…stancions, cleats, etc where there is a hole in the deck.

I have power at my slip so I can vacuum out the bildge if I get water in there, I keep a pan under my shaft log to catch any drips (will go to a dripless this winter layup), I have rebed leaky stancions and cleats, and now have a mostly dry bilge.

Gonna storm tonight in Chicago…go look for water leaks tomorrow!

Greg
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,451
O'Day 25 Chicago
I rebedded 90% of the deck fittings last winter. Turned out to be a much larger project than anticipated.

We were unaware of the leak until after we launched. I suspect that it's the OMC saildrive as there's always a little bit of water on top of the ISO ring (giant rubber seal). The water levels there and in the bilge are very consistent. The bilge pump does not have power going to it all the time. This will be corrected once the solar panel is installed

I like @Ward H 's idea of reducing the size of the holes. Another idea that just popped into my head is to lay down some sort of plastic or rubber mat that's 1/2-1" thick. This would elevate anything stored in there just enough to keep most water from touching it

Gonna storm tonight in Chicago…go look for water leaks tomorrow!
I own an O'Day so they're plentiful! All hail silicone! I'd love to check out your 322 before the end of the season!
 

Ward H

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Nov 7, 2011
3,093
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
I bought my 25 in later Sept 2012 and it was hauled for the winter a few weeks later.
I knew it had some fresh water leaks so I left the bilge cover off and visited the boat after a period of rain and vacuumed out the bilge.
Each visit I found lots of condensation on the ceiling of the cabin. Then I started putting the bilge cover back on after each time I vacuumed out the bilge. No more condensation on the ceiling despite rain and weather cycles.
Thus my theory that not allowing a path for the moisture to rise up out of the bilge will help reduce the bilge as a source of condensation.


My biggest fresh water leak was the damaged port rub rail. Luckily that was below the wood in the deck. I found the plastic rub rail broken and several loose/missing screws.
I was very lucky as deck leaks were minimal. I did re-bed most of the deck hardware, chain plates and the mast step, potting all penetrations with epoxy. I found very little damp wood in the deck.
But all that work didn't happen until the next spring.