Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Babiba Almost Sunk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Babiba Almost Sunk

    On April the 17th 2011, I was going over to Babiba to carry on with those little jobs I am having to do, but I was going via my Dad's house about 1/2 mile away as I was meeting my father in-law at 10.00 am, who was collecting a large work bench from my Dad's garage (my Dad - 91 moved on 28/4 from a large 3 bed house to a 1 bed sheltered accomodation to make his life easier so there is a lot of clearing out).

    Outside his house (at 9.30 am) I turned on my mobile phone and immediately got a voice mail, it was from the boatyard/marina owner, 'Ian, it is 9.20 and your boat is sinking), started the engine and raced down to the marina.

    He had a pump on board and she was listing quite badly, the starboard hull had about 1 foot of water over the sole, he had already pumped out about a foot level already, he had checked the skin fittings all OK, so the thought was that when she dried out yesterday at a very low spring tide, something in the mud must have punctured the hull.

    Water was pushing up through the floor so we decided to cut a hole to try and find the leak, water appeared to be gushing in but the submersible pump was taking care of it.

    The decision was made to try and move her on the mud so she would not sink further, so he got his motor boat to tow her, half way through the operation it was decided that there was not enough room between a slipway and the marina and a fast falling tide, could get into trouble, so we went back to her marina slot.

    We then rigged up a small new auto bilge pump on the port side batteries (well clear of the water on the stbd side), and decided to leave the shore power on to keep the batteries topped up via the battery charger, but the little pump did not appear to be coping.

    We then decide to drop her back on to the end of the downstream pontoon to save any more hole puncturing when she dried out at low tide again as we did not know what was lurking in the shallows, an old anchor, Jaws
    who knew.

    When we tied up, the water level had gone down considerably and the little pump was doing it's job and the in-flow seemed to have almost stopped .

    Anyway I continued to clean up and dry the lockers etc that were pretty full of water, partly due to the fact that the hose from the pump had come loose and water had gone everywhere.

    The clean up job actually meant she was cleaner now than before .

    The engine had been submersed about 2/3rds up, no evidence of water in the sump, but the genny was 7/8ths submersed, my marine engineer who came along at 4 pm to take his boat out was given the news by me and arranged to come the next day to take them out and check they were both OK.

    At low tide the boatyard owner came back in full dry suit and checked where she had been moored for anything that could have holed her, all we found were some rather unpleasant rockery type rocks, he then walked around my now dried out boat still in 2 feet of water and felt around the hull, no damage .

    We then decided, that a rock has punctured the bottom of the keel which is hollow.

    Thinking back to when I got her just over 1 year ago the Stbd rudder bottom was holed and damaged which I had repaired, but I never inspected the bottom of the keel thinking they were solid, so maybe some damage was dome and it just needed this fine little nudge, I can assure you both keels will be inspected thoroughly and glassed over heavily, plus I am going to put in inspection hatches over the 2 main compartments and carry a heavy duty pump.


    Sorry to be so long winded, but the facts are needed, I think.

    Babiba came out on the 20th April, there is a hole into the bottom edge of the keel (pictures attached) about the size of a finger, but, we think that as she settled on a large boulder/rock, that was probably washed down the river at flood times, caught the edge and rolled over on a sharp side taking a chunk off the edge of the keel and hence making the hole.

    The bad news is that the engine will need a new alternator, starter motor, wiring loom and senders etc. (only done 225 hours), the Mastervolt 3.5KW Genny (only 55 hours ) is totally buggered.

    The pictures below show one of the inside where I have put a freezer box (that is 23" high) on the floor and in the background is a bit of ply showing a waterline which meant the water was about 30" above the floor level.


    The other 2 show the full keel and the hole hardly noticeable and the other is the hole.

    I have also attached the surveyors report, if you are interested.

    The insurance company have been fantastic (especially when I only changed companies 10 days before the incident) following the local surveyors report, the main delays have been due to the fact that there was a delay in getting all the prices for the engine parts and Mastervolt would not give a replacement price for the genny as it is currently not on sale as they have fallen out with their engine supplier, but after serious pressure as we need to replace like for like we eventually (5 weeks) got a price:.
    The basic outcome is that I will be getting a new Genny, new engine parts, keels re-glassed on the inside , the damaged one repaired on the outside, fibreglass keel shoes (I am contributing to this), as it is deemed prevention and not repair, but I am happy to do this to make the boat very safe plus while she is out of the water it will save a lot of time and money.
    Work started yesterday on the keels inside and out and all should be finished by next Thursday, the mechanical side of the repairs will not be completed for another 2 weeks, which gives me more time to get all the outside jobs done.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Arendal, Norway
    Posts
    245

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Sorry to hear about your problems, better to discover it tied to the side than out away from the shore.

    You have spoken of fibre glass shoes, may I suggest that you "Sika" a wooden sacrificiatial strip to the bottom of that.

    wishing you the best with repairs and refurbishment and good to hear from you again

    I hope to post some photos of my progress next week.

    Regards Terence

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Stratford upon Avon, boat Poole
    Posts
    3,373

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Very interesting Ian. Thank-you.

    Those pics, yours and his, make it all too clear. It is almost fascinating that so much corrosion damage could have occured so quickly. As I understand it, things were immersed for no more than a day!

    Glad its going well.

    Mike
    Nothing works on an old boat, except the skipper.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Port Canaveral Florida
    Posts
    700

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Ian

    Bad luck ... but a silver lining as the old is being replaced with the new courtesy of your very accommodating insurance company. Hopefully your contributions will be minimal.

    Out of curiosity, why is the Mastervolt 3.5KW Genny being replaced? Couldn't it be flushed with fresh water, electrics left to dry out, engine relubricated, and then restarted?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Hi Terry

    Thanks for your comments.

    Regarding the shoes we have toyed with many ideas including wood, she did have SS shoes on both the keels and rudders stuck on with sika, but they got sucked off in the mud in Cornwall before I got the boat.
    Main reasons for going with glass is that we do not need to make any holes in the keels, therefore not giving any chance for water intrusion (either leaks or osmosis risks) plus it will alleviate the need for more anodes or potential electrolysis, and at 6mm thick along with the other work, they should last years and are easily rebuilt if necessary, plus cheaper.

    Cheers
    Ian

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Hi Mike

    What you see is not corrosion just dirt left on to show the insurance company the level of ingress, basically I doubt if they were under the water for more than a few hours.
    I left the boat at 3.30pm on the Saturday at about 1 hour after low water so she had 1 full high water and was nearing the other one when I got the call.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmmbruce View Post
    Very interesting Ian. Thank-you.

    Those pics, yours and his, make it all too clear. It is almost fascinating that so much corrosion damage could have occured so quickly. As I understand it, things were immersed for no more than a day!

    Glad its going well.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Hi Rick

    Originally my thoughts exactly, I thought 250.00 to fill the hole, cover the boatyards time on the Sunday and clean the inside, but both the marine engineer and insurance surveyor both said that once a marine generator has been immersed, even replacing all the electrics etc (and even the fact it was virtullay new), reliabilty would be a serious problem and give me nothing but grief, so a new genny.

    But if anybody wants an almost new genny very cheap who has the skills to repair and service themselves, just email me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
    Out of curiosity, why is the Mastervolt 3.5KW Genny being replaced? Couldn't it be flushed with fresh water, electrics left to dry out, engine relubricated, and then restarted?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Millbrook Cornwall UK
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Ian sorry to see the damage to engine and genny, the keel damage is easy to repair and compared to our damage on the Azuli minor. We were on a drying mooring close to the HW mark in Littlehampton. The bottom was sand but about 300mm down turned to flints. In our absence over Christmas a SE gale washed all the sand from around the keels and dropped the boat onto the flints. When we returned a few days later the tides had dropped meaning the boat was neaped but was still picked up and surged around on the flints. I spent a HW on board and was so distressed that next day paid for a 100 ton crane to lift her out. The keels which were worn were in a bad state with many large holes. On the positive side the keels were glassed over inside the boat so no water came in, the keels were also filled with foam. 300mm holes were cut on the inside of the keels and they were rebuilt and the holes glassed over, and wooden shoes sikaflexed in place. (see your other thread) When complete and antifouled the keels were as new. Although at the time a very traumatic experience the repair resulted in a set of strong and well protected keels that have serverd us well for the last 10 years and look like continuing well into the future.

    All the best and I hope your afloat soon and look forward to meeting you in a sunny anchorage

    Peter.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    east coast uk
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Thats an unlucky break Ian

    Glad that things are getting done though.

    I am on a drying mooring, and in its history Tollesbury Saltings was the local tip.there is everything down in the mud including old bits of aeroplanes from the war.bits of old boat, engines you name it. the first thing I had to do was get the wet suit on and stomp very carefully all round the area.
    I found an old electric winch, remains of 2 anchors, some large chain, and wooden stakes ,the remains of old staging h just below the surface of the mud. any one of which would have gone through the hull. oh and 3 brass port holes with covers
    aghhh the price we pay for (not so )cheap mooring::

    Kim
    just a scared rabbit in the headlights of life

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Hi Kim

    My normal mooring is above sand and she only dries out on LWS by about 6", the damage happened while in her winter berth on a muddy bottomed marina berth.

    I hope you have made yourself some money by selling al the items you found on eBay, especially the 3 brass potholes with covers

    Quote Originally Posted by kim s View Post
    Thats an unlucky break Ian

    Glad that things are getting done though.

    I am on a drying mooring, and in its history Tollesbury Saltings was the local tip.there is everything down in the mud including old bits of aeroplanes from the war.bits of old boat, engines you name it. the first thing I had to do was get the wet suit on and stomp very carefully all round the area.
    I found an old electric winch, remains of 2 anchors, some large chain, and wooden stakes ,the remains of old staging h just below the surface of the mud. any one of which would have gone through the hull. oh and 3 brass port holes with covers
    aghhh the price we pay for (not so )cheap mooring::

    Kim

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Now cruising in the SUN! In Malta.
    Posts
    1,055

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Ian,

    Really sorry to read your story - boating can be hard sometimes! How are the repairs going?

    This is what my starboard keel stub looked like after we hit the only rock on the municipal slip in La Coruna on a falling tide:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Roger

    ------------------
    I look to the future, because that's where I am going to spend the rest of my life - George Burns

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Hi Peter
    Thanks for your comments and information.
    Glad to hear that you sorted out your keel problems, and all is being sorted as we speak on Babs.
    I also hope up that we may cross each others paths on the south coast sometime especially in the sun.
    All the best
    Ian

    Quote Originally Posted by peter-lillywhite View Post
    Ian sorry to see the damage to engine and genny, the keel damage is easy to repair and compared to our damage on the Azuli minor.
    All the best and I hope your afloat soon and look forward to meeting you in a sunny anchorage

    Peter.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Hi Roger
    Thanks, at the end of the day as I have said, a blessing in disguise.
    Sorry to see your damage, at least it looks like yours were solid and not hollow.
    They have laid up the inside of the keels with 12 layers of glass and are putting in about an extra 4" of composite resin into the bottom and then on the outside laying up about 5/6mm shoes, this should make them nice and solid and safe

    Keep in touch with your trip I enjoy reading your adventures.

    Cheers
    Ian

    Quote Originally Posted by multihullsailor6 View Post
    Ian,

    Really sorry to read your story - boating can be hard sometimes! How are the repairs going?

    This is what my starboard keel stub looked like after we hit the only rock on the municipal slip in La Coruna on a falling tide:

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Brighton, UK
    Posts
    2,816

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    I have been surprised a couple of times by stories of holes on the LARS causing flooding = I much prefer the concept of the lars being ab;e to sustain damage without threatening the vessel. Building it as a seperate entity is one way, the other is glassing over the gap and having inspection ports to enable access from the inside. Either way prevents a lot of problems
    Insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Devon, UK
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Mark
    I fully agree, I was amazed/stunned when I saw under my floor that they were not totally sealed off

    Quote Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
    I have been surprised a couple of times by stories of holes on the LARS causing flooding = I much prefer the concept of the lars being ab;e to sustain damage without threatening the vessel. Building it as a seperate entity is one way, the other is glassing over the gap and having inspection ports to enable access from the inside. Either way prevents a lot of problems

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    'Estrella del Sur' is currently on the hard in Fort Pierce, Florida for hurricane season.
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Ian, I am so glad that the damage was not more serious and that your insurer has dealt with this in a professional manner (although I am sure it initially gave you quite the scare!).

    Cheers!

    Brad

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern UK
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    Sorry to hear about your near-sinking and very interested in the damage reports.
    We had a similar event but unfortunately in the Irish Sea. We lost a bow locker cover in short steep seas. We expected to be out of the rough and the water to drain quickly thro 1 1/2" non-return valves I installed. But the water appeared in the starboard hull. My autopilot quit working and the gyro compass and Raymarine plotter acted up. So we turned back.
    The water reached a foot in the stb hull amidships, I could not leave the steering station and apparently the dual bilge pumps and my wife's valiant efforts on the manual pump failed to get rid of the water.
    RNLI pumped for half an hour. There was no water to pump in the bow lockers. Both appeared water tight.
    I suspected two deck vents on the bows. Tight under each deck was a drainpipe firbreglassed into each deck edge leading through each bulkhead. They apparently were installed as vents to the forecabins during construction (Hull no 35). There are wall vents in each cabin. A original plastic cable trough down the hull had been fibreglassed into the starboard vent and came out behind the refrigerator in the galley apparently as an air vent.
    We found both engines still working on return to rescue port but the starboard was blowing white smoke suggesting water ingress. Water pumps and 24V fridge autopilot and depth sounder were not working nor was the starboard Balmar 70Amp alternator. The engine room was coated in clean new oil from my upturned top-up jug. This probably protected the engine. The lifeboat engineer told me his hoses were the cleanest he seen after a rescue at sea.
    We made a temporary hatch cover, sealed the offending bow deck vents, changed all oil and filters on both engines and kept batteries charged - we have both 12V engine and 24V house batteries - with the generator. There are no dockside AC supplies so we have to be self reliant.
    Then after removing all the wet things we had a great sail back to our home port.
    I had thought it was just a job of replacing the missing locker cover, fully sealing the bow locker bulkheads. replacing the submerged water pumps and battery, repairing the fridge and alternator.
    I took the alternator to the local marine electrics dealer for test. He said it would need a complete replacement and asked to see the whole engine and to inspect the boat. He said the entire engine wiring would need replacing along with starter motor, stop switch etc since it had been covered with at least 3ft water. We only had 110hrs on the new Yanmar Saildrives so were pretty devastated.
    The port side bow vent dumped water onto the mattress. In the lockers underneath are mounted two gyro compasses for autopilot and B&G wind system and cockpit display. They were both full of seawater. We later discovered excess water had drained into the bow thruster compartment and filled my rigging supplies box that I keep there.
    We thought the water was only 1ft max deep as we had seen in the galley. What we didn't realise was that my non-return valves had drained the large bow lockers and tipped the water into the engine room. RNLI told me the water was up to the top of the engine when they arrived but none in the bows as expected from the distress call.
    We informed the insurer and he said his job was to put the boat back into the condition it was before. He required the starboard engine to be pulled and inspected internally. So we had to get estimates for that as well. This took time since the best people tend to be very busy.
    During the wait, we kept batteries charged by AirX 24V wind generator and 12V solar power as well as via our portable Kipor 3000i generator and the ProTech24V and 12V chargers.
    Then our non-submerged 24V 220Ah battery bank failed to hold its charge as shown via a drop tester. Then the 24V mains Battery charger alternator stopped working. I did not think it could be connected to the sinking so sent it back for warranty repair.
    Subsequently the port engine Balmar quit charging. I could not tell if other equipment was working or not because the battery bank was reading only about 20V. I keep bilge pumps on permanently.
    So puzzled by all this failing equipment after I had given the claim to the insurer, I phoned Balmar in Seattle and discussed the problem.
    I had considerable help from Balmar originally when connecting the 24V alternators to the 12V ignition system to charge both battery banks. The starboard alternator was probably running underwater for about an hour at least.
    I was told that the 70Amp Balmars (both) would react as though the B+ and B- terminals were connected - not as bad as a dead with a short wrench but with a strong electrolyte with low resistance. This would result in a 140Amp current at c25V ie 3.5kw!
    Thus he would expect all batteries 24V and flooded 12V to get warm and destroy the plates. He expected the seawater would be warm. All equipment connected directly to the battery terminals eg chargers would fail and need replacing along with both alternators!
    But that was not all. He expected all equipment on at the time would need replacing. Since we were at sea this is practically everything.
    What I had not realised was that the alternator was underwater so did not switch the engine off till the alarm sounded after an hour. Thus the current would be high through the seawater. But any system connected across B+ and B- terminals would carry a share of the high current and heat internal wires. This reduces their viability and means they will fail prematurely and we were already seeing evidence of this.
    So replacement of tank gauges, both those with submerged senders and those in parallel, the VHF which we noticed was unusually bad for our normally excellent Sailor VHF DSC set, etc. The list is mind-boggling.
    On inspecting the bottom I noted both Saildrive were completely corroded. We had replaced both these and polished the anti-fouled propellers before sailing days before. On the port, non sunk side there was a half inch of zinc oxide? (white like on the zinc anodes) on the rudder post. It appeared there was corrosion on the rudder post which is bronze coated epoxied and CopperCoated like the rest of the hull. It looked like a chip in the epoxy had led to some sort of earth/ground current. This is evidence of very strong currents through seawater wherever there was a connection.
    I asked a local marine engineer and surveyor to check out the boat and he agreed with the finding that all electronics would need replacing. He had seen this in professional dive boats and other vessels taking on seawater.
    I pass this information on in case there are consequential damages you have not considered.
    As a physicist I had not expected the extent of damage since we have been used to fixing problems ourselves for at least the last ten years - hence our good no-claims record. I had thought it was just the pumps and fridge. It was the alternator failure that led us to investigate further before making the final claim.
    As our insurer said, he did not want further claims after settlement and had insisted on getting the engine pulled. This had allowed further equipment to fail and the full extent of damages revealed before inspection and settlement.
    Best of luck Brian
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Stratford upon Avon, boat Poole
    Posts
    3,373

    Default Re: Babiba Almost Sunk

    WOW

    I keep re-reading this. It contains an awful lot of information that could be relevant, certainly to me and I would guess to many others.

    The Irish Sea is my old battleground, and short steep seas are all too familiar. Square seas was the RNLI description.

    Have you got it all fixed yet? If so you must have a nearly new boat!

    Cheers

    Mike
    Nothing works on an old boat, except the skipper.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •