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Smelly Contessa!!!

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Colin Pritchard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colin Pritchard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Smelly Contessa!!!
    Posted: 22 Aug 2009 at 11:08am
I have started getting a pretty horrible smell emanating from the depths of my bilge especially during bashing about in rough seas. I seem to recall seeing a thread about something like this on the old discussion board, but can't find it. Can anyone advise.

This post might appear as if from a new forum member, but I'm not really. My details seem to have disappeared so I've re-registered.

Many thanks.

Colin Pritchard (Rampage of Lymington)
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Conor Owens View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Conor Owens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 2009 at 10:47pm
Hi,

My boat had this problem a few years ago.  It seemed to persist despite a thorough cleaning of the bilge.  The boat then needed some remedial work at Jeremy Rogers' yard and while in there they drilled several holes in the sides of the keel above the lead ballast and drained out quite a few liters of foul smelling liquid.

It seems that when the hull is moulded the keel is then filled with some epoxy and chopped strand and the lead ballast (already cast to shape) is lowered into this loose mix. Sometimes this left voids which over many years get filled with water containing lots of other stuff!

Once drained Jeremy then injected resin to fill these voids.  That was about 4 years ago and it has been a definite improvement.

Regards,

Conor.
Conor Owens
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Colin Pritchard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colin Pritchard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2009 at 6:29pm
Thanks Conor, I've given the bilge a really good clean with disinfectant but the problem hasn't gone away. I wonder if any other owner has had this and knows where to drill the drain holes.

Regards

Colin Pritchard 
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doug View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2009 at 11:10am
 Even a small trickle from the head's seacocks can cause problems.   A sprinkle of talc under the cocks will betray the problem
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Carolus View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Carolus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2009 at 12:16pm
I had just read through the old boards and could locate quickly. Here is the extract that I think was being referred to.
 

The Lost Waters of the Ice Box

 

From: Nick Baker (French Herring)
Date: 23 Mar 2009
Time: 21:45:02 +0100
Remote Name: 92.8.203.44

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The ice box on our 1977 Contessa works a treat - 1kg of ice lasts 2-3 days. But inevitably the bags leak and the water seeps out of a hole in the aft end, although it obviously needs unblocking. Where does it go? I have vision of a void somewhere full of foul smelling water, slowly rotting the woodwork. On the subject of water, I easily got the water tank open for cleaning. Not a pretty sight inside - must account for the evil tasting water. Any suggestions on how to clean it?

omments

There is a copper tube that leads water out, and it goes harmlessly into the bilge. It WILL need cleaning! I block mine up to keep cold air in (I have a fridge) so I have to bail the thing out. Re the water tank, a) mop it out; b) wipe it down with pure bleach on a rag, on a stick; c) fill it with a strong bleach solution; d) pump that into the pipes; e) leave for a day or so; f) pump dry and marvel at all the nasties that appear; g) fill with water and pump dry at least twice; and h) do that once a year. I use dairy bleach from a farmers store (sodium hypochlorite) which is sold in twenty litre packs, and is cheap. Also good for killing algae on paths and drives!

Removing Cabin Sole

 

From: James Moore (Katisha)
Date: 04 Sep 2008
Time: 13:44:13 +0200
Remote Name: 194.176.105.41

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I am considering removing the cabin sole - so that I can deep clean the hull to get rid of the hideous pong. I can see that the horizontal piece is srewed down, but cant see how the bits at 45 deg are fixed - Im hoping they arn't just epoxied in. Does anyone have experience of removing the sole and how to do it?

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I have removed my cabin sole several times. The side panels were screwed down and then filled with wood filler. They were difficult to see at first. Now I leave them open.

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Hi James, My boat had a persistent bad smell like this too. More than the usual sort of bilgey smell and throughoughly cleaning the accessible bit of the bilge it remained. I had some work done to the boat by Jeremy Rogers and mentioned the smell and he said that the problem, at least partly, is because some water gets into voids around the lead. When the hull is made in the mould the precast lead is lowered into the mould into a mixture of resin and chopped strand. On some boats there were some voids. he drilled several holes in the side of my keel mostly along the line of the top of the lead and he said that they got about 10 litres of stinking liquid out. Then they injected some resin to fill the voids and patched up the keel. It definitely did fix the problem - now it seems back to just "normal" bilgy smells. Normal for my boat anyhow, with its various drips and leaks. Regards, Conor.

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James,this could be of interest. Some years ago my 1977 boat had a bad bad-eggs pong especially after being out in rough seas. After removing large amounts of rubbish from the bottom of the bilge I found that it was not possible to sponge it dry because a small amount of foul whitish liquid gurgled in from an enclosed zone forward. This zone is forward of a diagonal diaphragm extending from the mast foot down to the bilge further aft. I eventually drained the zone of nearly a bucket full of said foul liquid by drilling a smallish hole through from the outside of the fin just above the lead. I then tapped the hole and screwed in a metal plug removeable with a screwdriver. In the bilge I glassed in a smooth floor above the bottom and embedded in a copper vent pipe rising to just under the cabin sole level with a cork in the top. The pipe allows the enclosed zone to be vented but I am not sure whether this was necessary. Every winter afterwards I removed the plug and drained the hidden zone but now there is no liquid to drain. From previously using copious quantities of Bilgex etc the pong totally disappeared and the bilge is now easy to clean. JR can advise on this enclosed zone which was also was found by our local osmosis contractor on another boat and he had to similarly drain it in order to dry out the hull. I suggest that before removing the cabin sole at least check for this as possible pong source.

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V interesting and good advice John

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Afternoon Yes & No.. I plan to replace the grp tank so will have to tackle this. I have removed the old table base and replaced the section of delaminating ply from the port side in the "U". It was not too difficult but it is epoxied in. I assume the long starboard run is the same. There were large "dollops of resin scattered around and the ply pressed on to that, rather like laying paving flags Regards John

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Colin Pritchard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colin Pritchard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2009 at 8:26pm
Thanks very much Carolus, the old posts you have found seem to cover what I'm looking for and the symptoms seem similar.

I don't think my pongs are coming from either the water tank or the heads. I've replaced the old water tank and spent ages cleaning round the heads, seacocks and under the engine etc. The pong seems to come from somewhere else and the inaccessible zone above the lead sounds a likely source. I think I will have to try drilling some small holes from outside and see what comes out.

Colin Pritchard
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Post Options Post Options   Quote James Moore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2009 at 4:09pm
I am the James who was in the old thread - we did the remedial work last winter and the smell has gone.
We drilled a hole at the fore end of the keel at the top of the lead - tap the keel with a hammer - you will find a level where it starts to sound hollow - that is the top of the lead ( Jeremys method).
About 4 pints of foul smelling liquid drained out.
You will find if you look at the very aft end of the sump under the cabin sole that there is a gap in the moulding where water gets into the void between the lead and cabin floor moulding - this is where the evil lurks. We then flushed this through  - ie pour water and variety of cleaning/degreasing agents in from the cabin and it runs out of your hole in the keel. When this had run clean we let it dry for some weeks and then filled it with resin poured in from the top until it ran in no more and the gap was covered over. We then filled and epoxied the hole in the keel - job done! No more evel smell.
It takes a leap of faith to drill holes in the bottom of your boat but it is definitely worth it!
Hope this is all clear - any questions let me know.
 
James - Katisha
James - Katisha
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colin Pritchard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2009 at 9:48pm
James

Thanks very much for describing where my smelly problem might be. I will take the leap of faith and tackle the job as you suggest.

Thanks again.

Colin Pritchard
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colin Pritchard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2009 at 10:17am
James

It's as you foretold. Drilling a couple of small holes above the lead produced several litres of very smelly liquid. And there is a small gap at the aft end of the bilge where the glassfibre is lacking resin. Water can be observed trickling throuh this gap and it then appears throuh the holes above the keel lead.

Thanks for your help.

Colin Pritchard
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Post Options Post Options   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 12:19pm
 A very intesting thread.  
 I think I have the idea but am a little worried about doing the right thing.  Would anybody be willing to annotate a sketch, showing whats what, and post that?
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