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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I am a new member, but I have been lurking around here all summer. I just finished my first season as a keel boat owner, a new-to-me 1973 C27. I had a fun season and she sailed great with no real issues or failures.

The boat is now on the hard now so I am beginning to try to wrap my head around and prioritize repairs that I have in front of me. To that end, this will be the first of several of maintenance questions I would to like to get help with.

So onto my question:

I have read in various places that the original seacocks on an early model C27 are a disaster waiting to happen - that they will fail in some manner and sink the boat.

So is this true? If so, how will they fail and what are the early warning signs? Do these pictures of the seacocks below the sink show any sign of concern? What can you tell me about these in general?

Some more info: The gates are not seized as I have opened and closed them a few times, mostly leaving them closed. The water tank did have water in it, but I drained it and the tank and these lines have been winterized. I am only a day sailor and I frankly do not plan on using the fresh water system at all, and I probably will only use the ice box for dry storage.

Thanks!
 

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Master Mariner
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Those aren't even seacocks, they are gate valves. And they are rotten, unsafe gate valves at that.
Yep, I'd definitely put those in the category of a disaster waiting to happen.
Sorry, but it looks like you've got some replacing to do.
 

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My boat had the same sort of thing. I replaced it this spring before sailing. I posted a few pics here: Notes on a thru-hull replacement

I ended up spending over $600 to replace one thru-hull because I went with oversized bronze and had to buy some new tools. The actual work was pretty easy.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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1) As capta said, those aren't seacocks; in fact, they don't even look like they're bronze. They need to be replaced with either real seacocks, or marine ball valves (the latter being more common these days).

2) Your "thru-hull" also looks like a glassed-in pipe nipple; a common flaw (and potential disaster) in Catalinas, and many other boats of that vintage. That should also be replaced with a proper thru-hull.

3) Unless the other thru-hulls and seacocks on the boat have been replaced they are undoubtedly just as bad. I would replace the lot.
 

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How do these seacocks look?
Scary!! :eek:

As others have said.. these ARE on your replacement list before you launch again.
 

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This was one of the very first "upgrades" I did during the off-season when I owned a Catalina 27 (my first "big" boat). Not a huge job, but you need to do it right, with new through-hulls and backing blocks, along with real sea-cocks.
The pipes that Catalina used back then for thru-hulls are not mechanically mounted to the hull at all, they are just held in by a cone of fiberglass.
Some useful info on this (and lots more) can be found at Replacing Thru-Hulls and Seacocks Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
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Matthew
1985 Catalina 36 ¡Que Chévere!
 

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If you ignore the advice given here, be sure to post and let us known how bad was the disaster or did you just sink the boat with no fatalities.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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If you ignore the advice given here, be sure to post and let us known how bad was the disaster or did you just sink the boat with no fatalities.
Let's not get too carried away here. Those valves and pipe nipples could last for several more years --- or they could fail tomorrow (probably at the worst possible moment). Problem is, there really isn't any sure way to know which is more likely without taking everything apart, and at that point you might as well replace everything anyway.
 

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islander bahama 24
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Agreed replace them they are not bronze and those are not thru hulls if you want flush smooth hull when closed look at shakewell valves
 

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That Drunk Guy
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As some are suggesting here, you will certainly die the next time you step foot on the boat, and probably take all aboard down with you, not to mention the environmental disaster of the oil and fuel spill in the marina, probably requiring the state to declare a natural disaster in which case the governor will have to issue a declaration of martial law ushering in the inevitable demise of all man-kind.

(....or since they've held up for 30 or more years, they'll probably hold up for several more...or you could just bite the bullet and replace them - seriously its not that big of deal)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK - replacement it is! Top of my list for the Spring.

I have 3 followup questions:

1) Bronze versus Marelon versus ??? - pros and cons?

2) Should I plan on patching the original hole like Minnesail did, or is there a chance I can successfully clean out and re-use the hole?

3) Can the backing plate be purchased instead of built up with glass (as seen on the pbase site) or cut-out (apparently with difficulty) from stock?

Thanks again everyone.
 

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Use bronze, marelon is relatively new, so do not be the pionee to test.
Reuse the hole.
Backing plate can be made of many materials, make sure they are though enough.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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I'd certainly replace them. I dunno I'd believe the end of the world is coming if you don't ;)

I'm not real big on holes in the boat regardless of how nice the seacocks are, but if you have to have them (who doesn't?)... might as well take the time and do it right.

Welcome to [old] boat ownership.

Funniest conversation I had with a guy selling a recovered boat that sank. I asked him why the boat sank... can't make this up... he said "the bilge pump broke."
I'm sorry NO, the boat didn't sink cause the bilge pump broke, it sunk faster because the bilge pump broke, what was the REASON it was taking on water in the first place? I swear everyone is a comedian these days.
 

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We had those EXACT same things on our Catalina 27 - - and they looked just like that. In all honesty, I'll bet they probably would outlast me. BUT, I want to be able to sleep on board at night and not be wondering if my "bet" was right or not.

So . . . we replaced them.

Actually, I removed 3 of them and glassed over and faired smooth. My thinking was that 3 less holes in a boat is 3 less potential problems to have.

On the other two, I replaced with Marelon valves - bought from Catalina Owners Group web page: Forespar: Marelon Full-Flow Seacock - Thru-Hull x Ball Valve x Hose Barb - OEM

The hardest part of the repair was getting the old ones out. I mean, its very very hard. The base of those pipes is so heavily glassed up, it's rock solid. and the old pipes do NOT turn off - majorly rusted/galvanized/mucked up. I posted a query on here (sailnet forum), and got some helpful responses. What worked the best was to take a wooden down (just slightly larger than the hole) and hammer it in from the outside - so it fits tight. Like a plug. Then use a hole saw - these have a center bit that kind of "guides" the hole saw. Run the center bit into the temporary wooden 'plug'. Pick a whole saw size (probably 1" or 1-1/2") that just clears the outside of the old metal pipe that is glassed in place. Drill in from the outside. When your hole saw gets through the hull and the built-up "cone" around the pipe on the inside, you're golden. This approach leaves a nice clean smooth hole - and avoids a TON of chiseling and swearing from the inside trying to "remove" the pipe. BTW, I did have to do a little grinding after the pipe was cut out to give me a nice flat surface on which to bed the based of the new seacock. Let me know if you want more info or a clarification of this process.

~markb
 

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Use bronze, marelon is relatively new, so do not be the pionee to test.
Reuse the hole.
Backing plate can be made of many materials, make sure they are though enough.
Sorry Marelon is not "relatively new" I've been using them in boats since the late 80's They're perfectly good for seacocks, in fact now I prefer them to Bronze as there is no worries about dezincification. the install procedure is the same as bronze through hulls.
 

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1) Bronze versus Marelon versus ??? - pros and cons?
I feel like the bronze was overkill for my boat and would probably go with Marelon if I were doing it again. That big pile of bronze does look awfully manly though.


2) Should I plan on patching the original hole like Minnesail did, or is there a chance I can successfully clean out and re-use the hole?
The only reason I patched the old hole and made a new one is that the old hole was on a very sharply curved slot in the hull that the swing keel cranks up into.This doesn't apply to most boats.


3) Can the backing plate be purchased instead of built up with glass (as seen on the pbase site) or cut-out (apparently with difficulty) from stock?
If you can find a place to purchase a backing plate directly I'd do it… I still need to replace the motor in my drill press.
 

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I have 3 followup questions:

1) Bronze versus Marelon versus ??? - pros and cons?

2) Should I plan on patching the original hole like Minnesail did, or is there a chance I can successfully clean out and re-use the hole?

3) Can the backing plate be purchased instead of built up with glass (as seen on the pbase site) or cut-out (apparently with difficulty) from stock?
1) On our old Catalina 27, we used Marelon. ( Boat Marine Plumbing Flange Mounting Seacock Thru Hull )

2) I installed the new thru-hulls and seacocks in the same locations as the existing glassed-in pipes. You won't be able to "clean out and re-use the hole" per se, because the thru-hull (if I recall correctly) is a larger diameter. Going from outside the hull in, I used a hole saw the size of the new thru-hulls and used the existing glassed-in pipes as sort of a guide to center the hole saw (had to stop ever inch or so and chip out the glass within the circle). Sort of as like Bratzcpa described, although I didn't find it as difficult, apparently. Just go slow. It removed most of the cone of 'glass that had held the pipe, and what was left succumbed to a grinder.
In hindsight, it might have been better to relocate at least one of them (the one for the galley drain) as it was in a very awkward location, but I didn't like the idea of having to add new holes and close up old ones.

3) If you google, you might find backing plates (see, e.g., Seacock backing plates )
I made them out of 3/4" wood, first coated with 3 layers of epoxy, and then glassed in place. Check out Don Casey's "This Old Boat" book, he's got a clear write up of the entire process.

Good luck!
 
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