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Considering yesterday’s post about our rudder, and the fact that one of my jobs today involves looking at, and potentially improving, our bilge pump system, it’s timely that this video showed up in my Facebook feed today. Heartbreaking!

When you see things like this, you have to admit that there certainly are some benefits to having a well-designed multihull with a lot of positive buoyancy, like our PDQ for example. Believe me, there have been several times over the past few days that I have questioned why we are selling her!


  1. That’s just heartbreaking

  2. This was very sad but they handled it all very well. More info is available here:
    Sre?ko’s blog entry on this event is heartbreaking to read, but is sadly available only in Slovenian.

    Also, they already bought another boat of same type and are happily cruising along, currently in Scandinavia.

  3. Seeing her go under put a lump in my throat. No wonder the owner was in tears.

  4. Makes my heart hurt! It could’ve been worse, at least they are both ok. What happened to the vessel? What caused them to take on water?

  5. Our 41 Morgan classic was fitted with a y
    valve on the generator . We could swing the valve and pick water up from the bilge. No idea how many gallons per hour . I am sure it was a lot.

    • Using an engine’s cooling water pump (either on the main engine or the generator) as an emergency bilge pump is very risky.

      It’s one of those things that sometimes seems like a good idea on paper. The flow rate you get, though, isn’t nearly as much as might be expected; the cooling pump of a 50 to 100 hp motor is barely enough to keep up with a burst 1-inch seacock. On top of that, most bilges are full of crud that will quickly come loose and get sucked into the pump, gumming up the engine’s heat exchanger right when you have dire need of that engine.

      A much better solution is to fit several independent high-flow pumps. 8000 gal/h class water removal pumps are about $250 to $500 in your choice of 12V, 120V or gas-engine power. Just one of these will outperform any engine cooling pump; three of them would be a very reasonable fitout for a typical cruising boat.

  6. The stuff of nightmares indeed…..

    Two thoughts I’d like to add:

    As an engineer with extensive knowledge of yacht design, it pains me to see a yacht lost when a small change to the original design could have saved her. It would appear that this particular boat was holed at the rudder stock in a collision with an underwater object. The rudder seal appears to have been a “criticality 1” item – something that had no redundancy, and whose failure was not survivable. Proper compartmentalization with a bulkhead ahead of the rudder might have saved this boat. Building the rudder mounts to survive a high-speed impact might have saved this boat. All the time, I see crucial design features – watertight bulkheads, reinforced rudder and keel mounts, series drogue hardpoints, etc. – omitted or badly degraded in the name of cost and to get a layout that looks good at the boat show.

    Secondly, the level of foresight given to damage control in many boats is sadly lacking. Probably 90% of the yachts I’ve seen have seriously inadequate bilge pumping systems, adequate for routine de-watering but less than one-tenth of the capacity that would be called for in an emergency. It is absolutely imperative, on an offshore boat, that the pumps be able to keep up with a major leak while you find and plug the hole. If losing a 3-inch rudder stock, for example, could sink the boat, then you might very well need 20,000 gallons/hour of pump capacity during the time it takes you to plug the leak.

  7. This is so sad. The good thing is that there were other sailors nearby and the people were saved. But to watch one’s home go down is heartbreaking, as is watching someone else’s home go down.

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