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 Catalina/Capri 25/250 Sailor's Forums
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 Bilge vents
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Voyager
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Initially Posted - 03/16/2019 :  09:51:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a bilge problem on Passage, mostly related to a trickle of rainwater coming in through various cracks, crevices, and stanchion bases. I occasionally get a few cups of water after a heavy rain. Iím on a plan to rebed the stanchions and portlights once the weather warms up.

But itís not the water, itís the mildew smell that overwhelms once the weather warms up.

I have a dinette style cabin. You can see the entire bilge when you open the boards. It smells.

Also, if you remove the galley drawers, woof!! Open the fender locker, same thing.
The smell isnít bad beneath the Vee berth. All good in the quarterberth.

So Iím wondering, whatís the best way to ventilate the entire area down below with either passive or active vents? Iím thinking I can cut some 3Ē holes in different areas like:
+ the side of the forward dinette seat
+ the area beside the galley drawers under the rotary switch
+ the side of the port side cockpit seat
+ somewhere else?

Iíd like to add a 12VDC fan on one of these vents that would run off a small 8W solar panel and a separate 2AH gel battery.

Has anybody done anything like this on their boats?

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 03/16/2019 09:52:41

islander
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Response Posted - 03/16/2019 :  10:52:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I wouldn't start chopping holes in the boat. The problem is the leaks. If your going to address the leaks I would pour half gallon of the nice smelling floral scented bleach in the bilge and load some into a spray bottle and spray everything below the floor. That will get rid of the mold and smell until you can fix the leaks. I usually put a cup or two in my bilge as a just in case through the season. It sloshes around with the boat movement and keeps everything smelling nice.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound



Edited by - islander on 03/16/2019 15:58:27
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bigelowp
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Response Posted - 03/16/2019 :  13:47:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I second Scott's suggestion. FWIW i get water in the bilge and floor area from the companion way and sometimes from my old style vent in the head area. Most seasons the bilge is dry but the cabin floor has puddles, this past year -- a rainy one -- fresh water was frequently in the bilge. I have, to date, never had a smelly cabin or unusually smelly bilge -- but have had some mildew. Using Tilex to clean the mildew works, and I would suggest if you spray the tilex then even before you get to cleaning much of the smell will dissipate and cleaning will be easier. Separately, if you suspect the stantion bases or window's are leaking, then fix them ASAP as they could be hiding other, far more serious problems.

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
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glivs
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Response Posted - 03/16/2019 :  16:10:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
fwiw....When we purchased our boat, the smell was rank..serious. I removed all hoses (head and freshwater system) but the smell remained. At that point I took the drawers and frames in the galley and all removable locker covers off the boat and used a garden hose and spray nozzle to hose down between the hull and the liner behind the seats and under the sole from bow to stern the best I could. I was amazed by how much what appeared to be fiberglass dust (?) I presume was left over from when the hull was laid up washed into the bilge...and it clearly was at least one source of the smell. I followed up by spraying a mild bleach solution as Scott suggests. Nearly 13 years later...and I've tackled several leaks but the boat still smells fresh.

Gerry & Leslie; Malletts Bay, VT
"Great Escape" 1989 C-25 SR/WK #5972
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Voyager
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Response Posted - 03/16/2019 :  18:08:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for your generous advice on this. Here are a few points:
+ The cabin doesnít currently smell badly because thereís sufficient ventilation with my forward hatch passive Nicro Vent and companionway board slats.
+ I have a hygrometer in the cabin and during the boating season it rarely reads less than 70% humidity.
+ It only smells when you open up the down-below. This has been consistent since my early days with Passage.
+ Itís gotten a little worse, or with age, maybe Iíve gotten a little more intolerant.
+ I agree a good inspection of the core will find the usual amount of bad core, however, thatís not going to sink Passage.
+. I am starting with the six stanchions first, then the portlights.

I like the idea of using a mildew killer to reduce the total mold quotient. Tilex is good cleaner, flavored chlorine bleach is good too.

When we had a basement flood last summer the ServPro folks recommended ďconcrobiumĒ spray, a fogger actually, and that worked quite well at preventing mold and mildew.

Itís claimed to be nontoxic made of natural ingredients. Perhaps it is, but the stuff works! I also have a 16oz spray bottle.
See: https://www.lowes.com/pd/concrobium-32-oz-liquid-mold-remover/50053503

But Iím really considering adding a few ports like these for bilge ventilation:
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/sea-dog--3-thru-vent--10729531

I think I can add a basic computer fan to the back of one end. Not sure how many CFM Iíll get from one of those. I could add a gas locker exhaust fan, but that would take a few amps to run it, so itís not a great solar-panel kind of thing...

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 03/16/2019 18:14:30
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redeye
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Response Posted - 03/18/2019 :  11:04:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I added hinges to the bilge cover and an opening




Then I removed the top drawer of the two aft drawers. I use the bottom storage drawer faster and easier because I usually don't have to open it, I can just reach in.

This allows cross ventilation of the bilge area as well as the area behind the counter. Keeps most of the area dry and allows the bilge to dry faster.

Ray in Atlanta, Ga.
"Lee Key" '84 Catalina 25 SR/FK
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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
8281 Posts

Response Posted - 03/18/2019 :  12:23:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In addition to attacking the leaks and giving the bilge a dose of lemon-scented chlorine (and then letting the boat air out for a while), I think I'd do something like Ray did so the bilge can be left pretty open when I'm not aboard, and closed off when I'm there. Small permanent vents from the bilge into the cabin probably aren't going to make or keep things dry, but they might spread odor when you're there as well as when you're not. This is where the solar vents really help--they pull the moist daytime air out overnight before it cools and "dews" all over the interior (including the bilge), replacing it with cooler night air that has already dropped its dew. And wind or no wind, you have a constant 24x7 air exchange. I know Nicros have been problematic, but when the work, they work.

(I recall the area under the quarterberth is open to the rest of the bilge, although water runs to the keel sump, so I don't know why you don't have the same smell under there.)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 03/18/2019 12:25:56
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redeye
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Response Posted - 03/21/2019 :  05:19:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like the idea of the sea dog vents, with screens, as a way to add vents. Thank You

Ray in Atlanta, Ga.
"Lee Key" '84 Catalina 25 SR/FK
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Voyager
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Response Posted - 03/21/2019 :  05:59:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
@ Dave ó it seems I forgot to mention the space beneath the quarterberth in my original note, but itís musty in there too. The quarterberth itself however is not particularly musty smelling because itís open to the cabin area.

I am going to try a test this week: open the boards up that cover the bilge area, take out the drawers and open the dumpster. Sheís still under a tarp so I doubt any rain will get in.

Then Iíll run my 12VDC fan using my spare solar panel to ventilate the cabin. Iíll let it run for a few days then check the smell and relative humidity.

If that reduces the smell to a tolerable level and drops the RH below 60%, then Iíll have my answer.

Iíd need some kind of hinged hatch to allow for air circulation down below. I would add a few Sea Dog vents inside.

I have a spare 20W solar panel and an 8W panel. The fan is a 10Ē O2-Cool fan. Should do the trick

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 03/21/2019 06:03:32
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OLarryR
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Response Posted - 03/21/2019 :  09:13:26  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Another area to check is a leak coming down the mast column - look on the flooring for a water stain leading to the bilge.

Larry
'89 Robin's Nest#5820, Potomac River/Wash DC http://catalina25.homestead.com/olarryr.html
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islander
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Response Posted - 03/21/2019 :  10:54:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Through the winter lay up all my hatches and drawers are open. Nothing is left closed for maximum air circulation. The cushions are all raised up on pool noodles so if water did get in they wouldn't be sitting in a pool of water. I've nerey yet opened the boat and found mold or smells.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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Voyager
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Response Posted - 03/23/2019 :  16:21:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After all the discussion I stopped at Passage today and opened all the bilge covers. The seats, the quarterberth panel and the fender locker. No smells at all.
I looked down and it was completely dry down below. Relative humidity was about 40% in the cabin. I didnít check the RH in the bilge.
So I started on rebedding the stanchions. The first one was in there very tight, after I removed the nuts, the bolts were pretty snug.
I scraped off the old bedding. I checked on the core and it was firm and not rotten.
Iím looking forward to replacing the rest.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT
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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
8281 Posts

Response Posted - 03/24/2019 :  13:08:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The window frames are at least as suspect.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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islander
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Response Posted - 03/24/2019 :  13:45:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Or worse yet the car tracks. A zillion screws and nuts and 30+ year old caulk. I figure that caulk is non existent or just dust by now. To make it worse the screw heads are recessed slightly into the track creating tiny little pools of water. It's enough to keep you awake at night.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound



Edited by - islander on 03/24/2019 13:50:18
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Voyager
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Response Posted - 03/24/2019 :  17:07:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The window frames are next on my list, Iíve gotten through two out of six stanchions. Good news, no rot yet.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT
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