Bilge deep in acetone

siliconFor those of you who are land lubbers a ‘bilge’ is the space on a boat below the floor and above the sea. Acetone is basically nail polish remover, and it smells funny.

Whats interesting about bilges is that just by looking in them you can tell how well a boat is looked after or what kind of repair she’s in. Therefore it’s important from a professional pride point of view, to keep ones bilges clean.

Can you guess what I’ve being doing this week? Uh hu, cleaning bilges. Now for your average person finding a way to squeeze themselves into a small irregular shaped space is challenging enough. For me coming in at about six foot five, well, it elicits all kinds of colorful language.

Bilges. *squeezes bridge of nose between thumb and fore finger*

Just so were clear the floor in the boat has been designed so that it’s flat. The reason, I assume, being that it makes walking on it easier. Meanwhile the bottom of the boat is more curved, which makes for moving through the water and other things like floating, all the more satisfactory, I’m guessing.

What you find in between is the bilge. A nautical nether world where hopes, dreams, oil filled cuts and a thirteen millimeter spanner can be found.

Owing to the discrepancy in shapes between the two sides of the bilge and the irregular way it is constructed I find the whole space rather awkward, both to get into and out of.

On top of this, this strange nether world is the natural place to locate the boats ‘services’ (basically pipes, wires and a few 12v batteries).

All of this adds up to a small constrictive space which naturally loves to collect and keep: oil spills, hairgrips, breadcrumbs and any water which happens to be flooding/trickling in to said boat.

And just in case water is rapidly filling your boat the go to place to check would be the bilge. This is why, dear reader, keeping them ‘ship shape and bristol fashion’ is a good idea. It allows one to swiftly asses and isolate (stop) any leaks be them either into the boat or, more likely, out of the engine.

So how do we get a winters worth of accumulated muck out of our bilge? Well, I have been using:

  • Elbow grease
  • Scouring pads
  • Swear words
  • Acetone

After musing upon the subject of cleaning bilges, followed by a good, solid, twenty minuets thinking about them, I feel the only way to improve on the time honored tradition of the start of season clean would be to have them steamed.

This would though most likely play havoc with the boats ‘services’ or at the very least the 12v batteries. So with this in mind I sighed, finished my coffee and frowned my way to the chandlers (boat shop) to get yet more acetone.

Bilges. *rests hand on fore head with pained expression on face, sighing*

But that’s not all I’ve done! I also took the opportunity to carefully clean the silicone in the heads (toilets), so that they would look immaculately sanitized for our guests this summer.

The quickest way I’ve found to do this is to take a stanley knife, very carefully remove all of the silicone, and then just put new, clean silicone back in 🙂 I even took a picture! (see above)

Personally I feel I’ve already done enough cleaning this week. Hopefully now all of my none yachtie friends can see that I do actually work when I’m off ‘sailing’.

So it’s all doom and gloom, right? well not exactly…

I’m pleased to announce that after five (maybe six) years of learning it was possible to see, This year I have been on a boat at night, with stars over head, and, wait for it, stars below.

Yes, when the sea is calm (flat) enough it turns into a mirror and you end up surrounded by stars!


This photo was taken just before the boat we were on got enveloped in a globe of stars and I’m also pleased to be able to say we took some of the beer I can’t pronounce, which I mentioned in a previous post (it’s croatian)

This little excursion was in honour of the fact that some people came to stay whom were here to clean and launch their boat for the season. So I’ve had some friends to play with this week.

I have also been exploring the local coffee shop culture, I am after all in the Mediterranean. In my immediate area there are a few of these coffee shops which all have wifi, which to be fair is why I go to them.

The local town square with aforementioned cafes has the potential to be very nice, the current problem is that it looks like this:


I assume it will look a lot less like a building site by the time tourist season starts, although with it being the med and having that continental approach to deadlines, one can never be to sure.

One thing I can say for certain though, as I sit here and pretend to be all sophisticated playing with my laptop in a cafe, all the acetone has definitely taken the shine off the ‘manicure’ I had last week.

And so now I wait, in earnest, for the season to begin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *