Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to sink a boat

OK, it didn't sink, but it could have. While ripping out the old head plumbing, and fixtures, I came across the old overboard discharge hose. Well, don't need that. So I follow it down to the valve in the bottom of the hull. The valve (seacock) is closed, so I loosen the hose clamps and try to pry it off, to no avail. It's frozen to the fitting, and not going anywhere. Saw. Yes, a saw is what I need, I'll saw it off. I squeeze my little body under the aft berth, and start sawing away at the hose. Ew, fluid starts to form around the blade. "That's got to be old crap water" I say. "But it looks too clear for crap water". Another couple of thrusts with the saw and, "Holy Shit" crap water is now spewing upward, and spraying everywhere. Hey wait a minute, where's the smell? That's not crap water, that's the Bay coming into my boat! The valve is not closed! Frantic pushing, and pulling of the valve lever does nothing. Time kind of froze, as I stared at the water jetting up, and hitting the bottom of the bunk. Many options race through my head, including, running down the dock screaming "boat sinking, boat sinking". But fortunately, my brain kicked in, and I grabbed one of the many rolls of duct tape I always carry on a boat. Couple of quick patches to slow the bleeding, then many wraps of this shrink wrap tape I found laying around, uh, the shop, and the leak had stopped. Ten hose clamps later :) , and I was good to go. Go home that is, for a restless night of imagining the boat at the bottom of the Bay. Yesterday we were lifted out of the water enough for me to replace the valve with a shiny new one, not made in China. When I went to remove the fitting, it was cross threaded, and pretty much fell off with a half turn. Imagine discovering this in the middle of Lake Ontario! The valve was corroded and stuck in the open position, and the handle didn't do shit. Lesson learned. Never rush to launch a boat. Test every through hull, valve etc. Always carry bungs that fit all valves, or even plugs that will thread into a valve. Epoxy putty, or MarineTex are good to have on board too. Crisis averted. Old boats are soooo much fun.

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