Blackwater Leak

Blackwater Leak

Blackwater Leak

The day started well after dry night in Ilfracombe. We moved and moored the boat on time to get out of the dry dock and quit the bay with the tide.

Sunset, two sail boats are also crossing the Bristol Channel, one of them sailed a hundred meter near us for some of time, we did not find us ridiculous compared to them, modern boats, both sail looks comfortable ...

Wind was good, 12 to 15 knots, we sail strong, immutably devon's cost disappeared in the morning mist.

Without our notice the boat started to lean as much as the wind and the sea began to get harder. There came a time when we noticed that our peace is not normal, the rudder got more and more difficult to hold, the boat leaned more and more, but who cares we go!


The odds of wales are not yet visible and Devon and our two boats have disappeared.

A quick glance at the GPS to see where we are. We should be close to half of the road and it is noon. We take turns at the rudder with the conviction to arrive as we had planned in due time. But as usual nothing happens as planned. The weather conditions haven't ceased to grow. The sea is at present particularly formed and waves that local name the Blackwaters have nothing of an invention. As the boat was carried away by the waves and began to surf, we felt that we could escape the formed situation. We are very vigilant and observe any signs of changes.


Mark asked me if maybe it is time to turn back to Ilfracombe.


Half of the road is behind us, silhouette of wales is now piercing the thick fog, wind is too strong but it constant and the weather forecast do not signal any storms. We decided to continue our road when suddenly the electric pump started to work. I was surprised because the way the switch is placed means that water is on the opposite side of the leaning of the boat. But sea moves a lot today and it does not bother me too much.

Just a quick look inside the cabine, everything was floating.

I literally plunged into the cabin to measure the situation, Mark wondered what happens, I reappeared with a bucket full of water in hand.

“Are we sinking?!?” 

“Don't know... yes !!!”

The pump worked now for more than 45 seconds, it pumps usually 200 liters per minute. I screamed to Mark to use the manual rear pump to see what is there and after a look on the batteries, I saw that one is dying, a endless ballet started.

We have a leak, a big one, around 150 liters per 10 minutes, still 5 hours to go, in the middle of the Blackwaters of Bristol Channel with too much wind and waves breaking inside the cockpit.


As usual we don't panic, every 10 minutes we activate 2 pumps to evaluate the number of liters and check if the leak got bigger.

From now till the end Mark did not quit the rudder, i was going back and forth from the cockpit to the cabin to overview our problem. Mark is more confident driving us and anyway i'm not able to handle the boat in this sea.


We pumped more than 5 tons of water till our arrival. The batteries where flat when we have reached the harbor. We have to put bear winner out of the water, fix the leak and take a rest.

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