Join Date: Jun 2006
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One of the features the builder of our custom-designed steel cutter has is a single standpipe with "tee-offs" for engine intake, A/C, head and "extra" (which is probably going to be for a watermaker). It's a welded 4-inch capped pipe that goes well above the waterline, and the t-fittings are all seacocked and double-clamped. It is accessible via the saloon companionway stairs. All the inlets rise fairly quickly to close to the waterline to inline strainers, and in the case of the engine, to a large Perko "jam jar and cheese grater" type strainer. All are easily accessible.
It is possible when hauled to jam a wooden plug in the standpipe inlet, and to winterize the engine, the head and the A/C via the standpipe (just pour in antifreeze) or via the sink (T fitting at the drain).
There is a Marelon seacocked drain outlet below the waterline for the head drain (starboard) and the galley drain (port). These are closed when away from the boat.
All other outlets are above the waterline, and I am considering seacocking (is that a verb?) my starboard waterline exhaust (it's not out the stern to reduce noise and the length of the run) so that I eliminate the chance of taking in water into the waterlift when on a steep starboard heel. Basically, when the engine's off, I close the exhaust hose and hang the engine key on the handle! Alternatively, I can wire a sensor to the ignition so I don't make an unfortunate error.
Bilge, head and A/C outlet are above the waterline and are looped and vented. I put in a one-way, "Joker" valve on the vent of my older sailboat's holding tank because I found I was getting some water into that tank on certain heeling situations.
Boat plumbing and hydraulics, particularly in exhaust systems, can be arcane and, to me, not always intuitive, but a general set of rules I have found applicable in all situations: 1) The fewer holes in a hull, the better. 2) Have backup means to plug holes should a seacock or a clamp fail. 3) Have good access to all through-hulls and inspect them (tightening clamps, servicing seacocks and checking hoses for wear) regularly. 4) Keep a clean bilge, because debris kills one's pumps, one of which should be a large volume manual pump should you take on water while your electrical system is compromised (such as after a lightning strike that blows a dime-sized hole in the hull...you can save the boat in the absence of electrical pumps, but only if another crew buys you the time to find the leak and plug it!).
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