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Old 17-09-2014, 18:25   #1
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Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

Does one really need seacocks on cockpit drains above the waterline? After all they are never closed. I am redoing my hoses and they had crossed the drains in the cockpit as the height of the 2 in seacocks would not allow hose to bend the short radius. Two things there, 1. Made it nigh on impossible to move in the engine compartment and 2. Water doesn't drain uphill. I am thinking I should be OK with double hose clamps to the thru-hulls (with the correct hose barbs.) Am I missing something?
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Old 17-09-2014, 18:31   #2
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

If your thru hulls are under water when healed, then you need seacocks!
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Old 17-09-2014, 18:45   #3
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike d. View Post
If your thru hulls are under water when healed, then you need seacocks!
As they are never closed, why?
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Old 17-09-2014, 18:50   #4
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

Your hose fails in a storm. Hull is flooding. What do you do? You close the seacock. All is saved, right?

Uh, no. You still have seas breaking over your deck, flooding your cockpit. The seacock won't help there. A tapered plug into the drain will cure that. Why not use another tapered plug on the seacock?

This debate will never end. :bang head:

If you aren't on the boat, the seacock is useless - you won't close it, will you? Of course not, your cockpit will flood. If you are on the boat you won't close it will you? Of course not, why would you?

You would ONLY close the seacock in the event the hose fails while you are on board. Once you note that, use the plug. You should have properly sized tapered plugs at every thru hull, right?



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Old 17-09-2014, 19:30   #5
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

Can't imagine installing below waterline thru hull without a seacock.

Leaking hose in heavy seas, do you want to crawl into the engine compartment, cut the hoses, and pound in the tapered plugs... Or close a seacock?


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Old 17-09-2014, 19:56   #6
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

Below waterline = seacock + plug

Above water line (as in this case)= plug

I've got three above waterline cockpit drains running directly through the transom, sometimes they go below water when motoring in a chop and the stern fills with about a cup full of water but it doesn't go anywhere. I keep a few rubber plugs just in case but there's really no conceivable way for it to sink me.

The way it looks like your drain is set even if you had a seacock installed you wouldn't notice even if it did leak till late in the game. I think maybe a bilge alarm would be good if you don't have one already as a just in case and I would add the drain to your list of things to check if the alarm goes off and then only if the drain goes below the water for any length of time at any point of sail.

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Old 17-09-2014, 22:00   #7
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

I've got a novel idea. Check your hoses often. A suspect hose should be replaced. You change out the batteries in your smoke alarm every year, don't you?

You see the water in your bilge rising. Your automatic bilge pump is running continuously. You frantically search for the source. Even before you enter your engine space you have your knife out. See, cut, plug. A good sharp knife will easily cut thru that rotted hose you should have replaced 3 years ago. The tapered plug at hand is easily tapped home.

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Old 17-09-2014, 22:42   #8
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Re: cockpit drains - seacocks?

Quote:
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Below waterline = seacock + plug

Above water line (as in this case)= plug ...
You were doing OK, right up to the time you decided to add "as in this case".

His cockpit drain thru-hulls are definitely below the waterline, at least when heeled--they need seacocks.

And the traps should be removed from all hoses.
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Old 18-09-2014, 00:43   #9
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

His drains may or may not go below the water, possibly depending on tack, weather, and point of sail. Personally if the only way for it to leak is while sailing, than it's not so much of a concern provided there's a bilge alarm to let the person aboard know early on if there's a problem. If the alarm goes off then the drain gets included on a list that should be in every skipper's head of things to check when you start taking on water. If the drain is below water, and if it's the problem, you tack and either repair or plug. Given the number of "ifs" involved, and provided the drains are also placed on the list of things to check and periodically replace, it becomes more a perceived safety issue than a real one. The main point of a seacock is to protect the boat when no ones aboard, it becomes a matter of convenience when there's someone aboard paying attention, and less so if it restricts access to a part of the boat where hundreds of other possible safety scenarios could be thought of.

It's all a matter of compromise, some owners want a boat locked up tight to protect from thieves, others want the boat open with the keys in the ignition in case the boat sinks or drags. Some owners hook up all sorts of alarms and automatic pumps, others disconnect the battery when they leave. When it comes to safety on a boat all any of us are really doing are hedging bets. If safety was really the most important thing none of us would be messing about on boats to begin with. So the compromise becomes, would you rather have the convenience of closing your cockpit drains with the turn of a rarely used and possibly stuck lever, or have a plug standing by and have better access to the stern of the boat including easier access to the engine for both maintenance and in cases of emergency. I probably fall into the later category, despite the current mythos of the online sailing community, provided we're talking about my compromises, with my personal levels of responsibility, and on my boat. As is so oftentimes said on cruisers forum; your own mileage may vary.

As an aside; you did OK until you thought there was only one right answer ;-)

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Old 18-09-2014, 03:13   #10
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

Possible reasons I can think of is that a sea cock allows the hose to be changed more easily and in cases where multiple drains use their own through hulls, all but one can be turned off when the boat is unattended. My boat uses a single through hull with a gate valve for dual cockpit drains and I doubt it has ever been turned off.
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Old 18-09-2014, 03:21   #11
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

My boat has both cockpit drains as solid steel pipes. No need for sea cocks and of course always open. But if I had yours I'd have seacocks and make sure they are always maintained.
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Old 18-09-2014, 04:43   #12
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

Ah, says the blind man. I guess sailing is like diving as there are as many opinions as participants. Thanks for the various points of view though. Personally I prefer the seacocks, but they pose some real issues in getting hoses to them and I do not want to remove the thru-hulls and move them. Perhaps if I could find a heavy equipment supplier with a formed 2 inch hose like in automotive? Just an idea I just thought of.

It was really crazy the way the manufacturer put them in. 2in drain with of course effective 1in or a little more due to drain covers. These then went to 2 1/4 in hoses with full flow discharge 45's to the seacock. The four corners of the lower cockpit have little sump areas which collect all kinds of ... and continually clog up.
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:57   #13
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

Reefmagnet makes a good point about replacing the hoses. Being a fresh water sailor in North latitudes, we take our boats out of the water in the fall before the water gets hard. I suppose a quick dive with a tapered plug into the thru hull from outside the boat would suffice but the seacock right there and handy is a real positive.

Since I plan to go to seawater in the future, I need to think these things thru. Long held beliefs are hard to change. It's why I came here. I hope to keep and open mind about these things - if I ain't learning, I ain't growing.

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Old 18-09-2014, 11:51   #14
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

The OP says the drains are above the waterline but I suspect they are below it when heeled and the hoses are crossed so that the water doesn't back up into the cockpit.
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Old 18-09-2014, 12:06   #15
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Re: Cockpit Drains - Seacocks?

Presumably there are at least TWO cockpit drains. So while Crazy makes a good point...he forgets that you can close the failed drain, and the other drains will still be open, draining storm water from the cockpit.

Yes, there's a reason for having multiple drains and a seacock on each. Which also allows you to close off each seacock when replacing the hose on it, and rubber hoses ARE supposed to be replaced on a regular basis, like every five years.

And then again, if one has insurance, the insurer may require them, making any discussion a moot point.
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