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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-21-2009
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sailingtime is on a distinguished road
seacock scare

My galley sink seacock is always an exertion to open ad close due to its distance far from the sink. While closing it the whole seacock turned clockwise on the post. In other words the valve handle that once faced to port and opened aft to bow is now facing forward and opens port to starboard. The valve and through hull are solid and no water is leaking in but now the valve handle is unmovable in the closed position which I know is better than the open position.

My guess on what happened is that while closing it I unwittingly pulled on an angle and unintentionally further tightened it on the through hull post. Iím assuming that by doing this the through hull post is pressed against the ball valve keeping it from now moving. Not wanting to mess around with any seacock while in the water I am curious of happened and still a little unsettled by the experience. Could this be just a case of -horrifying thought - turning it back to its former position? I am comfortable leaving it alone and making it an on the hard winter project but it does mean losing the galley sink as a real sink and not its usual place to put things while under way.

Does anyone know if I am correct in thinking that all I did was tighten it and it should be ok or is this an indication of a more serious problem and not even attempt to reposition it?
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Old 07-21-2009
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You don't give enough information to know for sure. What size boat? Size and brand of seacock? etc.

However, you shouldn't be able to turn ANY seacock which has been properly installed and is in service. The fact that you were able to turn it indicates either that it was improperly installed or something has gone very wrong.

I wouldn't try to reposition it in the water. Better to do a "short haulout" and, while it's in the slings, investigate to be sure what's going on. Be ready to replace the seacock and to do it properly.

Bill
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Old 07-22-2009
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a picture would be helpful too. and i agree - this is worth the cost of a short haul (where you hang in the sling until you resolve your issue).
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Old 07-22-2009
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If it was that loose it could be broken. The good news is that it's really no big deal to remove it, inspect it, and replace or reinstall it. With the valve closed, remove the hose, then unscrew the seacock. Cover the small geyser with your hand or even better insert a wooden plug. You can then inspect the threads on the whole thing, clean it up, and replace and or just reinstall as needed. I like to use some thread compound on them.

The first time you do this it's a tad scary. After that you'll see it's no big deal at all. I can do the whole operation and only spill maybe 2 cups of water at the most. If you are really nervous have a helper with you.
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Old 07-22-2009
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I'll second the thought that this shouldn't happen, for three reasons.

First, the seacock SHOULD have 3 bolts (or lag screws) through a flange and into the hull, making it impossible to turn.

Second, the through hull has straight threads, and so does not achieve an ever-tightening condition as tapered pipe threads do.

And third, I would be VERY skeptical about the ability of the through-hull to actually reach the ball. I would expect a very distinct "end" to the threads, before the ball is reached.

Oh, a "short haul" may not be as easy as it sounds. My new-to-me boat needed a new centerboard cable, a fairly easy job but one which cannot be done on the hard. The yard would not let me on the boat when in the slings, so I had to pay them for the work (quoted $500, billed $1000).

And finally, seacocks CAN be replaced in the water. You can dive the through hull, and either put in a rubber lever operated cork, or put a small plunger over it. I've never done either, but I know people who have. I have replaced a shaft seal in the water, and while a LOT of water comes in, a good bilge pump running and a reasonably quick job (deliberate, NOT rushed) kept the water well below the floorboards. It does take a certain degree of nerve.


Harry
'79 Sabre 34
Annapolis
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