Skip to main content

Serious Essentials

Our new boat came with plastic seacocks, and when I closed one of the small ones, the handle broke off along with part of the tapered plug, leaving an open hole in the hull. I immediately pushed the broken piece back in place to reduce water flow, but it was still coming in faster than the bilgepump could handle. I needed a quick remedy. I keep a can of Plumber's Putty in my toolbox. I
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Our new boat came with plastic seacocks, and when I closed one of the small ones, the handle broke off along with part of the tapered plug, leaving an open hole in the hull. I immediately pushed the broken piece back in place to reduce water flow, but it was still coming in faster than the bilgepump could handle. I needed a quick remedy.

I keep a can of Plumber's Putty in my toolbox. I jammed a wad of this into the hole, put a small piece of wood over the opening, taped the whole thing in place with electrical tape, then stood up and admired my handiwork. The leak was stopped.

Plumber's Putty resembles modeling clay and is used to bed fixtures like the drain in the middle of your sink. It can be molded into any shape, is always semi-flexible, and leaves no residue when removed. It's perfect for plugging sudden leaks and should be in every sailor's toolbox.

I also carry a can of Marine-Tex and a small piece of fiberglass cloth I can shred into fibers to mix with the Marine-Tex. This makes a composite putty-and-glass lump that can be molded in place. For example, when a friend found a hole in his exhaust system, I put some Marine-Tex mixed with shredded glass over the hole and let it cure. The next day we motored home, and everything was fine. My friend, who is a thrifty sort, never did get around to replacing the damaged exhaust system. It was still there when he sold the boat. Rod Glover

Related

01-LEAD-DSC_1255

BoatWorks: The Rig and the Crane-Barge

During the three months my little ship lay in Belfast, Maine, I had three friends. The first was a schooner bum I’d met sailing in Florida who now worked for the shipyard next door to where I had just bought my boat, Teal, a 1963 Tripp 29, sight unseen. He would hook me up with ...read more

01-LEAD-18-Running-before-strong-winds-en-route-to-Molokai

Cruising: Hawaiian Island Hop

We didn’t get off on the right foot sailing into Hawaii. It was our own fault, of course. We should have known better. It’s never a good idea to assume that just because procedures were a certain way one year, they will be the same the next. It was an especially bad idea given ...read more

DUFOUR_470.JM-LIOT-15

Boat Review: Dufour 470

Annapolis may be the sailing capital of America, but if you looked around the United States Sailboat Show last fall, you would have no choice but to conclude most sailboats are now built in Europe. The Dufour 470 is a good example of a modern French performance cruiser. DESIGN & ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_6563

Close Encounters: Captain Sarah Schelbert

I met Captain Sarah Schelbert back in 2019 while on the boat trip from hell aboard a seaworthy but poorly run Triton 28 in the western Caribbean. I was trying to help the owner sail his boat back to Florida from the Rio Dulce, in Guatemala. Outbound from the river basin, we had ...read more

02-Voice-of-the-Oceans---sailboat-Kat-11

Raising Their Voices

Many of us who are cruising sailors have been sailing mid-ocean or walking along a perfect beach in the middle of seemingly nowhere, only to be appalled at the amount of plastic trash we find. Few of us, however, have taken that disheartening reality and turned it into a ...read more

IC37racingonSunday-Photo-by-Paul-Todd

IC37 North American Championship

This past weekend saw 20 IC37s off Newport, Rhode Island engage in fast and furious one-design racing with the win going to Peter McClennen’s Gamecock. “It’s huge,” said McClennen of the win. “I think of the one-designs of this club going back to the New York 30 [built in ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_2056

South Pacific Storm Prep

Having set ourselves the task of transforming our recently purchased Open 66 ex-Vendée Globe racer, NV, into a performance family cruiser, my partner, Timo, and I found ourselves (extremely) high and dry as cyclone season approached. The favorite cyclone strategy in Fiji is to ...read more

00-Alexe-1---GUaGKDY4-single-boat-sailing-away-from-skyline,-Hill-Holiday

Cruising: Find Your Own Adventure

Whether they’re at the end of their collegiate career or after aging out of a summer sailing program, a lot of young sailors have a hard time finding a way to continue sailing as adults. Some of the barriers to sailing, including location, finances and time, can be hard to ...read more