This week at work I’ve been following a slightly geeky email discussion about the merits of using old technology and whether it was built to last longer. This was definitely borne out by my recent experience.
I’d been talking to my Dad about my boat’s bilge water problems. Water had been steadily dripping from a leak in the propshaft and had also come in through the weedhatch cover on the aft deck. It was now several inches high. Because of the way the bilge is partitioned, the electric bilge pump is only partially effective at removing the water ingress and the plastic manual pump I bought was difficult to hold in position, took Herculean strength to use and broke after a couple of uses.
My Dad took a look in his workshop and found a second world war stirrup pimp. They were mass produced and this one might have been carried, along with a bucket, by an air-raid warden to put out fires. I took a hacksaw and cut off the round foot of the pump so it could reach right to the bottom of the bilge, connected it to a length of hosepipe fed through the cabin window and pumped the handle for half an hour. The rate at which it expelled water was impressive and the bilge is now drier than it’s been for ages thanks to some old-fashioned solid engineering.
I felt a bit guilty about the patch of oily water that was expelled from one section of the bilge into the Thames so I threw a few streams of fairy liquid onto it which dispersed the oil almost immediately.