Old Boat Nightmares #3: Gate Valves

Among the multitude of things that needed upgrading on our project boat, the cockpit drain seacocks loomed large. The wheels on the 1973-vintage gate valves were frozen open so the valves could not be closed. This is a typical problem with gate valves. The valve stems and the valve body are usually dissimilar metals, and eventually they’ll corrode so that the valve sticks on the position it was
Author:
Updated:
Original:
bwnl.obnmares.1

Among the multitude of things that needed upgrading on our project boat, the cockpit drain seacocks loomed large. The wheels on the 1973-vintage gate valves were frozen open so the valves could not be closed. This is a typical problem with gate valves. The valve stems and the valve body are usually dissimilar metals, and eventually they’ll corrode so that the valve sticks on the position it was left in – either closed or open. Another problem is that debris often gets caught inside the valve, preventing it from closing. In short, these items have no place on a boat.

Replacing the valves was one of those jobs that I just kept putting off, until shame drove me to it. Amazingly, after I’d chopped off the wheels with an angle grinder, the nearly 40-year-old valves unscrewed easily from their through-hulls; apart from being jammed open, they were in better condition than they looked, a testament to the quality of 1970s bronze.

bwnl.obntmares2.2

On the other hand, the through-hulls themselves were a real chore to remove. The retaining nuts had been covered with gelcoat and that, combined with the fact that the through-hulls were well bedded into the nearly inch-thick hull laminate, meant that gentle persuasion was not the answer here. I got out the Sawzall and—from outside the boat— poked the blade into the through-hull and made a series of cuts around its circumference, taking care just to slice through the bronze and not to bite too deeply into the surrounding fiberglass laminates. Then I just tapped the pieces out with a hammer.

The new through-hulls and seacocks are Marelon – no more corrosion for me!

Related

QuarterdeckBuildingWatercolor

Bitter End Yacht Club 2.0

Amid the widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria when they swept across the northern Caribbean in September 2017, the destruction of the iconic Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands was particularly keenly felt by sailors. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The back door Satisfied with your headsails? So was I, until one day I took a long, hard look up the luff of my genoa, making sure I inspected the leeward side as well. The sail had plenty of life ...read more

02-Lydia12-01

Losing Sight of Shore

I arrived on the docks of Beaufort, North Carolina, in late April with two backpacks filled with new gear—everything I’d need for my first offshore passage. Though I’d been sailing for 16 years, graduating from dinghies to keelboats to a J/122, I’d spent my time racing and, in ...read more

Squall

The Face of a Squall

They are the worst of times, they are the best of times There’s a fabulous line from an old Paul Simon song that I often sing to myself while sailing: I can gather all the news I need from the weather report. It is part of the magic of sailing, this ancient process by which we ...read more

ntcktshtrstk

Cruising Southern New England Waters

One of the most wonderful childhood vacations I can remember was back in 1971 when my best friend invited me to his family’s summer home on Nantucket Island. For a 10-year-old kid, this was a thrilling trip for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact it was also my ...read more

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more