Amel Mango Hull #14 - the engine room was not built to be watertight?!!?


Daniel Alexander Thompson
 
Edited

(EDIT: i realise now that the engine room was built to be watertight and the prior owners have drilled all manner of holes in it)

Dear Group

I have just purchased Amel Mango hull #14. I took delivery of her about three days ago.

I have been rampaging through every nook and cranny of this boat for two days, and have found something which has left me aghast: the engine room was not built to be watertight. (EDIT: i realise now that the engine room was built to be watertight and the prior owners have drilled all manner of holes in it)

There is a small opening, just above the propshaft, in the aft cabin bulkhead. This opening (about 10 inches square) allows the aft cabin hull floor to drain directly into the engine room bilge. I find it very weird. Amel have gone to great length to vent the engine room far above the waterline. There is a watertight door and hatch. What on earth?

I want to make the engine room watertight. Does anybody know anybody who has done such a job on a Mango?

Best regards


Bill Kinney
 

Daniel,

First, congratulations on your new-to-you Mango!  And double kudos for seeing this as an issue. I am by NO means an expert on Mangos.  I have never been on one, so feel free to dismiss everything I say, I will not be at all offended, but I can discuss this part of Amel's philosophy of boat building and design.

With a boat this old, you can never assume that everything you find is "as-built."

As far as I know Amel is unique among yacht builders because when they decided that a compartment of the boat SHOULD never have water in it, they treated it as if water could never get in.  In "traditional" yacht design it was considered essential to always supply a path of water to travel to the bilge sump.  This makes having watertight compartments extremely difficult, if not impossible.  Amel looked at this and said, "There is no way for other than trivial amounts of water (from condensation, for example) to get into the aft cabin, the saloon, or the forward cabin."  Based on this, they did not set up the boats to drain to the bilge from these areas. While there are are certainly downsides to this approach, there are a lot of things to recommend it too.  First and foremost is if you find water in any of these normally dry areas, you know there is a leak that needs immediate attention!  If it just drained to the bilge and was pumped overboard, you might never notice until it got REALLY bad.

I see two possibilities with the situation you describe.  Amel MIGHT not yet fully committed to this philosophy, and "cheated" on the Mango, OR a previous owner made a modification to the boat.  If I had to bet, I'd go with option 2.  If someone had a significant amount of water leak in past the rudder packing (for example), they might have thought it best to just cut a hole and have it drain, instead of fixing the problem.  In the Amels I have inspected, cutting holes in the watertight bulkheads by some one of the previous owners is among the most common things I see that show a lack of understanding of the "Amel Way."

I believe that Amel assumed that an inspection of all the bilges in the boat was a routine, at least daily if not every watch-change.  They assumed if water was found where it should not be, the problem was fixed at the source, not just the symptom.  This strikes me as just good seamanship, and common sense.

As always, my opinion is worth what you paid for it...

Bill Kinney
SM160,  Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA


Daniel Alexander Thompson
 

Thank you very much, Bill, for all your words, here. Really appreciated.

I found another hole in the engine room forward bulkhead, right at the iron keel. Somebody created an opeing through to join the two halfs of the bilge together, so that he might install a bilge pump that pulls water from both halfs!!

It is really rather shocking what an owner is capable of. There are about seven breaches to my engine room.

I have now come to the understanding that all of these breaches are owner innitiated and that the engine room was indeed watertight at time of contruction.

The question i have is, is it possible to install a gasket on the Mango aft cabin door and make the aft cabin watertight?

Best regards


Justin Maguire
 

You’ll likely have to fiberglass and plywood will those holes… 

Crazy that they carved it all up. :-(


On Sep 4, 2021, at 11:26, Daniel Alexander Thompson <Thompson.Xander@...> wrote:

Thank you very much, Bill, for all your words, here. Really appreciated.

I found another hole in the engine room forward bulkhead, right at the iron keel. Somebody created an opeing through to join the two halfs of the bilge together, so that he might install a bilge pump that pulls water from both halfs!!

It is really rather shocking what an owner is capable of. There are about seven breaches to my engine room.

I have now come to the understanding that all of these breaches are owner innitiated and that the engine room was indeed watertight at time of contruction.

The question i have is, is it possible to install a gasket on the Mango aft cabin door and make the aft cabin watertight?

Best regards


Daniel Alexander Thompson
 

Indeed. I have absolutely no idea what the protocol for glassing fibreglass to cast iron might be. Does anybody know a youtube channel for fibreglass techniques?

Does fibreglass bond to a flexing cast iron keel?

I'm scared to rip out all of the foam sound insulation for fear of finding another ten holes in the bulkheads. I already found seven.

I guess when cruising the med, nobody cares about ocean safety.


rob dillmann
 

Dear Alexander,
Our Amel Mango has almost exactly the same engineroom set up (bilge, aft bulkhead, exhausts, etc). 
Amel just did not build the engineroom to be watertight. 
Good luck with changing all that. 
Rob Dillmann
Westwind 
Mango nr 43



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Op 4 sep. 2021 om 20:19 heeft Daniel Alexander Thompson <Thompson.Xander@...> het volgende geschreven:



[Edited Message Follows]

(EDIT: i realise now that the engine room was built to be watertight and the prior owners have drilled all manner of holes in it)

Dear Group

I have just purchased Amel Mango hull #14. I took delivery of her about three days ago.

I have been rampaging through every nook and cranny of this boat for two days, and have found something which has left me aghast: the engine room was not built to be watertight. (EDIT: i realise now that the engine room was built to be watertight and the prior owners have drilled all manner of holes in it)

There is a small opening, just above the propshaft, in the aft cabin bulkhead. This opening (about 10 inches square) allows the aft cabin hull floor to drain directly into the engine room bilge. I find it very weird. Amel have gone to great length to vent the engine room far above the waterline. There is a watertight door and hatch. What on earth?

I want to make the engine room watertight. Does anybody know anybody who has done such a job on a Mango?

Best regards


Daniel Alexander Thompson
 

Wow, Rob, thanks for this incredibly informative information. I now have a different foundation from which to work.

Just curious. Do you think it is viable to make the engine room, watertight?

Best regards


JB Duler
 

Daniel Alexander,


Our Meltem does not have a watertight engine room. It just wasn't designed that way and I am OK with that.


Same with the watertight bulkheads. We just have two bulkheads at the bow and that's it, enough if we hit a floating object or a dock.


Several years ago on a different rock solid boat, while motoring in a canal, our skipper was not paying attention and hit a concrete wall at 6 knots. Complete stop. Bump/cracks at the bow but nothing serious enough to crack open the hull.


We surfed giant waves at 20-25 knots on sleds racing to Hawaii. Hitting a container at that kind of speed and with ultra light sleds would have been a different story. But our Amels are not sleds and they are slow and heavy beasts.


Once on a 1880 schooner we got in a storm off the coast of Brittany. Those schooners are slow, like 2-5 knots. We were going to miss the tide around a critical spot and decided to start the engine and of course that engine would not start. The engine was at the center with doors opening in the cockpit. Similar to our center cockpit in an Amel but with butterfly wood doors. We of course could not surf the big waves, we were too heavy and of course the old lady did not have a planing hull. One massive wave broke on the top of us, flooding the cockpit. And the engine. That was the end, we managed to sail to safety up a river, and without an engine.


If the engine or the generator does not start, you may have to open that cockpit floor and be at the mercy of a giant wave breaking on the top. And flooding it anyway.


Several points I am trying to make.


1. Even with a super tight engine room I am not sure your Amel will be viable for very long. If you hit a container at 10-12 knots while plunging down a wave I am not sure you will be able to sail at all or you may not be able to keep the mast up (if you rip off the attachment point of your genoa furler).

2. Being rear ended or with water entering through the hole of a rudder ripped off by an orca or something else? If it is big enough and without rudder (big seas + wind) I doubt you will go very far, watertight engine room or not.

3. Even before the water enters the engine room you may have a short circuit somewhere else.

4. Keep the engine room water tight for what? Running the generator to crank 220v to charge batteries? With water in the boat your 220v outlets may also be shorted.


Again I apologize to the group if I don't see the need for a super watertight engine room. If things are that bad, chances are you want to prepare the liferaft ASAP as the mast or the masts may be down, banging on the side of the hull. Are you aware of such a scenario where a watertight engine room solved your problems? Anybody you personally know who experienced that?


If you do decide to make your engine room watertight it may seem an impossible task AFTER the boat is built.  You would want to degrease the holes and 2 inches around them, and grind back to fiberglass. Maybe by hand since your 220v grinder would not be able to get there without making a mess or cutting wires and other pipes you don't want to cut. Then fit sleeves, valves and epoxy with mat.


I can foresee a very expensive and frustrating mess, and for what?


I am just being practical and I just don't get it. Make every cabin and the engine room watertight? If things are that bad, you won't last very long in what is left of your boat, and I doubt you will be able to dive outside to place a patch.


Please help me, what am I missing?



--
John Bernard "JB" Duler
San Francisco
Meltem # 19, Western Med


Daniel Alexander Thompson
 

You've had some fun on the high seas!

Thank you so much for the reply and concern regarding the rather ominous task of making an Amel Mango engine room, watertight.

You wrote: If the engine or the generator does not start, you may have to open that cockpit floor and be at the mercy of a giant wave breaking on the top. And flooding it anyway.

Luckily the Mango has a little tiny door in the walkway.


1. Even with a super tight engine room I am not sure your Amel will be viable for very long. If you hit a container at 10-12 knots while plunging down a wave I am not sure you will be able to sail at all or you may not be able to keep the mast up (if you rip off the attachment point of your genoa furler).

There are many less extreme scenarios where crew might be required to bail out water with buckets. If they tire; the boat sinks. In this scenario, a functional engine/generator might get the boat an extra 1000km.


 

2. Being rear ended or with water entering through the hole of a rudder ripped off by an orca or something else? If it is big enough and without rudder (big seas + wind) I doubt you will go very far, watertight engine room or not.

This is precisely why i intend to make the aft cabin as water tight as might be possible. This may be very difficult if the cabin bulkhead is not sealed well to the hull. I wish Olivier was here to help.


 

3. Even before the water enters the engine room you may have a short circuit somewhere else.

One could have a four dedicated bilge pumps DIRECTLYI  to the 12v with four switches to complete the circuits. 

 

4. Keep the engine room water tight for what? Running the generator to crank 220v to charge batteries? With water in the boat your 220v outlets may also be shorted.


I would be more keen on keeping the engine running to perhaps make it to land while it runs the bilge pump.

My intention is to make the engine room and huge port locker completely water tight and then to make the aft cabin a bit watertight,  and then to put about 10 of 500kg flotation bags connected to the stringers in the main salon in the under floor lockers to be pumped by hand if the worst should happen.

I think with this setup one could happily keep the boat with only three feet of water in the salon, if something bad happens. The forward cabin could be dry. The engine room pumping out from the salon and the aft cabin and potentially the engine room.

I also plan to buy a life raft that can sail. I won't name drop, here.

Blessings


 


JB Duler
 

Daniel, I forgot to add that every time things got very bad for me (storms and big waves) I have become seasick.

I am just practical. Keep in mind that when seasick: you become weaker, don't have the energy so that may impact decision making or anything requiring above-normal efforts (=bailing out with buckets).

But that's just me, if I am seasick I can barely drive the boat, trim sails and know where I am but not much else. I would definitely not be able to spend a lot of time down below sorting out major problems.

On the Meltem there is also an access door to the engine compartment in the navigator hallway but that makes no sense to use if there is water in the boat. Plus being in the engine room without the top open in tough conditions ---> I would be very seasick.

I never tried to use a Sonar (we have one), could that be set up with an alarm to detect a floating container? Would that leave enough time to react?
--
John Bernard "JB" Duler
San Francisco
Meltem # 19, Western Med


rob dillmann
 

Dear Daniel,

I think making the engine room watertight is a very complex undertaking.
Perhaps sealing the bulkhead between the aft cabin and the engineroom might be possible. And probably the most effective. 

Regards,
Rob 

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Op 5 sep. 2021 om 14:58 heeft Daniel Alexander Thompson <Thompson.Xander@...> het volgende geschreven:

Wow, Rob, thanks for this incredibly informative information. I now have a different foundation from which to work.

Just curious. Do you think it is viable to make the engine room, watertight?

Best regards


Arlo
 

I have been onboard 5 mangoes now inspecting them, and have lived aboard hull number 46 for 4 years now. The Mango was not built with a watertight engine room. Not a bad thing IMHO. The "rectangular holes" for the interconnect for the bilges both forward and aft at the bottom are factory designed and built by Amel.