Funky odor...

13 years 5 months ago #633 by Jim Allaway
Funky odor... was created by Jim Allaway
This past summer was our second season on the water in our W42 #312 "Next Horizon" and we've been puzzled by the occasional detection of a really funky odor. We did not detect it during our first season (2008) nor when we brought her to Milwaukee from Westport Point, MA via the Erie Canal in early 2008. We've sniffed all over under all sorts of conditions, and we've had the family and guests sniffing as well, but we can't figure this thing out. So, we're hopeful someone else has had this same experience (sorry!) and can offer us some suggestions.

Here's the key: The odor appears ONLY when the boat is heeled more than about 8 degrees either to port or starboard. When sailing or under power when heel is less than about 8 degrees, there is no odor at all. When in a slip or at anchor in wind/seas, and if the boat rolls frequently more than about 8 degrees, the odor appears. Under completely calm conditions, I intentionally heeled the boat by running a main spar spinnaker line abeam to a cleat on the adjacent slip and hardening on this line to increase heel. Again, at about 8 degrees and more, the odor appeared. Ease the line and the odor disappears.

The odor is a generally sulfury/cabbage/with a touch of amine. Some people say rotten egg. Most likely the product of some biology going on. When it is detected, it is strongest in the cockpit (dodger in place), more mildly in the passageway and around the main companionway and less so in the galley and main area but not below the cabin sole anywhere, and not in the engine room nor in the heads. Incidentally, all sanitary system components (tubing, holding tanks) were replaced last year, and there is never any head odor ever.

I've suspected liquid fermenting in the exit tubing from manual bilge pump (operated in the cockpit)(the pump does not draw at all and is on the list for replacement) which runs athwartship to the port side vent but I've never been able to get my nose down there while heeling. When flat, nothing is detectable at the vent. Sniffing around the pump in the oily locker yields nothing.

It occurs to me now, I have not sniffed the cockpit drains while heeling. Something to look forward to next year?

Thanks for reading all this and I'd welcome any comments!


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