Cockpit drains and stopcocks...

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Re: Cockpit drains and stopcocks...

Postby Mavanier » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:11 am

Close all sea-cocks except the engine exhaust, which is a blimey to get to and above the waterline anyway. I keep the engine keys clipped to the engine sea-cock so that I cannot forget about it. Also having to open up the engine compartment every time I start her up means I cannot avoid a cursory glance at the strainer, belt, etc.

I got to know my sea-cocks very well because I changed them all out with the boat dried out against a wall. The tide pouring into your boots is a great motivator to get the job finished.

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Re: Cockpit drains and stopcocks...

Postby sahona » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:48 pm

Are the insurance companies right? Or, has technology moved on to the extent that the material the hoses and clips are made from no longer make them the weakest link? Mechanical 'things' like stopcocks/gatevalves/ballvalves will probably fail if they are continuously waggled...
The yard who made my boat in the 70-80's, Marcon, had a habit of adding a giant gatevalve in the amidships exhaust system. It was out of reach to the normal human being (even an abnormal gibbon), and the chemicals in the exhaust gasses quickly rendered it immobile - but it was under the waterline, and as I said - huge. I don't know of a failure, and ours was still watertight when recently removed, but it was NEVER a valve that could have been closed in order to satisfy insurance requirements.
IF it were to fail by fracture and come away from the skin fitting, there is no way the pumps could have balanced the inrush, although it was just below the waterline and could have been "bunged" if there was enough advance warning from something like a bilge alarm. (had anyone been in the vicinity!!!)
I'm a believer in "if it's working don't fix it" but have to concede that doesn't mean you can ignore it... and now have to place my faith in a new philosophy: "If it's proper quality, working correctly, and well inspected/looked after, trust it".
Surely, when you shut off a seacock, you : 1, are assuming it actually has turned off. 2, don't trust the infrastructure it is connected to. Why ?..... 20' - 30' Berths available, Clyde.
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Re: Cockpit drains and stopcocks...

Postby Dougie the Mate » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:51 pm

Last winter the Port cockpit drain was apparently blocked and we spent days trying different potions and unguents to clear it with no real success. I asked at the yard if they could do something and Donny - the owner - suggested that I check the stopcock. Since I had no recollection of ever closing it I wondered what the point in this would be, but indeed it was closed and the cockpit drained on both sides very well.

Last week we were emptying the boat for the winter and I was in the process of putting two bottle cleaners in the cockpit drain holes to stop leaves etc bunging them up over the winter when I noticed that again the port drain was full of water. I went below and once again found the valve closed.

Neither Mrs Dougie or myself have any recollection of closing the valve during the season but closed it was. Spooky!!!! :? :?
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Re: Cockpit drains and stopcocks...

Postby marisca » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:22 pm

On my boat the port side seacock (Stb side drain) can be closed by anything in the locker. Surveyor marked the lack of handle on that seacock as a big no-no when I was buying - now I know why it wasn't there. While I had the boat dried out I removed a burgeoning colony of barnacles from both cockpit drains - explained the lack of flow. Bog, sink and engine seemed clear. Any idea what noxious liquid to pour down the drain to discourage the blighters?

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Re: Cockpit drains and stopcocks...

Postby Clyde_Wanderer » Sat May 05, 2012 11:30 pm

SteveN wrote:I close all seacocks, 11 of them, when leaving the boat between visits.
However, I only twigged recently that the bleed/feed pipe from the stern tube joins the sea water inlet after the seacock, so all this time a failure of one of the many bits of near 30 year old hose on the engine would have let the sea in. I realized this when trying to drain the entire ocean into a bucket during an impeller change afloat.
So I've since added the 12th. cock/valve to the stern tube feed.

This is our first boat with (4) cockpit drains that exit below the waterline so I asked for advice from my insurance underwriter.
I was told that should the boat sink and it was subsequently found that any cock was open then I was effectively uninsured.
So I asked what about damage or sinking due to rainwater if I closed the cockpit drain cocks? No, not covered either, as there should be a means of draining the cockpit..
I now have a Y valve on the lowest cockpit drain that diverts rain water overboard above the waterline.

All this, yet the weakest point anyway is probably the ancient log fitting which is just a bit of old plastic and an O ring or two..

So what happens if the cockpit sole is below water level, and you have drain stopcocks closed, would they then cover your loss if she filled with rain water?
Hummingbird was surveyed for insurance purposes in oct 10 and the only recommendation was that I fit cockpit drain isolating valves.
I was adviced that if I was on the boat and something dislodged the hose/s and I dident have a means to stem the flow that the insurance would not cover.
Aparently there was a storey about a newly wed couple who sailed to NI for honeymoon and while stowing their sail they dislodged a cockpit drain hose and lost the boat in harbour while they consumated the marriage in a hotel that night, only to waken in the morning to be told their bride and joy was sunk.
My angle on the pluses for stopcocks is that if I am out somewhere on the sea and a hose comes off then I can close the 1 1/2" stainless ball valves and keep my feet dry.
I can reach them from the cockpit with ease.
I do leave them open all the time, but my boat is always out in winter.
All other valves get closed when leaving the boat for more than a few hours.
I wonder would it be worth enquiring with my insurers to ask what they recommend for the cockpit drains when leaving the boat on the mooring.

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