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  • #26403
    Gregory Manning

    As the Atalanta has compartments that are effectively water tight what do other owners do about a bilge pump?   The most likely damage for those who sail bow first will be the forward cabin area which is separated from the rest of the boat by the main bulkhead.  In the past I have just had a large hand held pump and some collapsible buckets.  My hand pump discharge pipe is hors de combat and I can not find a suitable replacement so am pondering what to do.  Whilst it would be easy to mount a pump that operates from the cockpit it would in reality only remove water from the the engine compartment which is the least likely to get damaged on impact.

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    • #26404
      Mike Dixon


      A thorny problem.  A1 has three separate compartments, the fore cabin, the engine space and the aft cabin.  Most Atalantas have a further short space, the couple of feet or so between the two main bulkheads forward of the cockpit.  Ideally each space needs its own bilge pumping arrangement.  When I was restoring A1, it was readily apparent that she had no bilge pumping arrangements at all.  To put pumping arrangements in all spaces was going to be unsightly, with pumps and pipework everywhere, as well as expensive (but what price safety?).

      My solution, though admitedly a compromise, was to fit a large capacity hand-operated pump on frame which slotted into the tapered companionway into the fore cabin.  The suction hose is long enought to reach all three compartments and the discharge hose empties into the cockpit and self drains down the keel slots.

      Because of an annoying persistent leak in the engine compartment, an automatic electric bilge pump was fitted – mainly because the boat was being left to its own devices for two or three weeks at a time.

      Couple of points; the suction hose,though flexible, must have good re-inforcement so it doesn’t suck flat – and the pump/hoses must be stowed where they can be deployed quickly and without fuss and bother.  Mine are stowed (on top) in the aft cabin.  I haven’t timed it, but I reckon the pump could be deployed inside of 45 seconds – a variation of the “fightened man with a bucket” option.

      Aye Mike

    • #26406
      Gregory Manning

      Thanks Mike, you identify the conundrum I have with so many compartments.  I will look into your suggestion and try to identify were I could mount the pump and route the suction pipes.  I do have an electric pump in the engine compartment but I fear it would be of little use in an emergency particularly as the batteries may get flooded too.  Laminating a copy of the insurance certificate may be an option!

    • #26407
      Trevor Thompson


      It is difficult to create a satisfactory bilge pumping system for an Atalanta.  I don’t think many actually have a working bilge pump.

      Mikes solution is probably as good as you can get. However it is possible to mount a bilge pump in the cockpit and route permanent pipework to two compartments using 2 way valves (you can buy them from the usual places). Calista has such a system. In her case that covers everything except the aft cabin and the focsl. Not perfect but I prefer something built in rather than movable.

      You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss an electric system. As long as the batteries are not in the bilges, that is a perfectly reasonable arrangement. You are more likely to be able to service every compartment that way. Manual bilge pumping is hard work – and you might also have other things to think about in an emergency.

      If a leak is that bad – you arn’t going to be able to keep it afloat anyway.



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