It began with the best of intentions, but doesn’t it always? When my family bought our 1978 Sabre 10 years ago, the surveyor recommended we install an automatic bilge pump to augment the manual Whale Gusher mounted in the cockpit. But this wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The designer of the Sabre 34 allowed for only a very shallow bilge, with no real sump to collect the water, should any accumulate beneath the floorboards. Which it does. Being a boat, water somehow finds its way in through the cockpit locker lids, down the mast, past partially closed ports, and by means of any number of other vexing ways. Over time, I found that the manual pump worked quite well, and what that pump couldn’t clear, I daubed up with a big sponge and bucket in a constant battle to keep the keel bolts dry.