On the way from Langkawi to mainland Malaysia we discovered that water was coming through the floor-boards. Apparently the bilge alarm was not working! This happened at a tricky moment as we were navigating under the bridge in Penang.
We lifted the floor-boards and saw where the water entering. Michel used the manual bilge pump on deck that we had installed for the Sydney Hobart Regatta back in 2008 and together with the electrical bilge pump we managed to clear the water to stabilize the situation.
At first we thought to sail as fast as possible to the next travel lift so as to lift the bloat, but this was 85 nm away, so we anchored instead and made an improvised solution to stop the leak and then proceeded back into the port of Penang for 24 h where we improved on this improvised solution. We then cleaned all items stored in the bilge and all equipment that had been soaked with sea water. We rinsed with fresh water and finally dried everything as best we could.
The cause: Hitting a big log entering Kuah on Langkawi the stuffing box came loose. To make it to the peer we needed maximum RPMs from our auxiliary motor. In retrospect this was too much and an O-ring separating the fresh – from the salt water broke. As a result the engine got salt water in the system because the high pressure opened the valve.
Soon after we proceeded and sailed through the night. Luckily we did quite well in spite very low wind thanks to the current pushing us South.
We are now sitting in Pangkor Marina Malaysia (www.pangkormarina.com) near Lumut where we are very lucky to have great helping hands from two wonderful people: James Khoo, the operation director and Muthu an Engineer.
We hope that we can proceed to Singapore tomorrow with a better and stronger solution.