Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sea Cock repairs

The galley sink drains into the ocean through a hole in the hull (a thru-hull).  There is a valve (sea cock) attached to the thru-hull which can be closed to prevent sea water from coming up through the thru-hull. When it's closed, it also prevents the sink from draining (which makes for a good quick test). When the boat is flat (motoring, docked, anchored), the galley sink is higher than the outside water, so there is no problem with sea water coming in.  When we sail on port tack, the galley sink is below the water line and the sea cock must be closed or the sink fills up with sea water and overflows.  Our sea cock was not 100% water tight so water came in when we were sailing on port tack.

We were waiting for better weather before leaving Puerto Escondido, so Malcolm went into the water and put a wooden plug into the thru-hull to prevent water from coming into the boat, then came back onboard and took apart the sea cock. There was nothing obviously wrong with the mechanism. He cleaned it, re-greased it, and put it back together. Malcolm went swimming again to remove the plug. With the sea cock closed, we filled the galley sink with water and the water leaked out, albeit slower than before.   That's still not good enough, if water leaks out through a closed sea cock, water will leak in when the boat is heeled over.

Next step, try to smooth out the sides of the valve so it closes better.  The next day, w
e asked the local residents on the Puerto Escondido daily morning radio net where we could locate grinding or lapping paste. Various helpful people told us where we could find it in Loreto. Some offered rides into town, and one helpful person even picked it up for us and brought it to the marina. Once it arrived, Malcolm went back into the water, complained again about it being cold, put the wooden plug into the thru-hull, took the sea cock apart and used the paste to smooth out any places where water could be coming in through the valve. Of course there were complaints about it being hard to reach, and awkward, blah, blah, blah. Clean off all the grinding paste, regrease the valve, put it back together (still hard to reach), back in the water (still cold), pull the plug out, close the sea cock and fill the sink with water…….
We went to Mary and Kip’s on Angelos for drinks. When we returned….


It had worked! No water was leaking out of the full sink!

The next day we took off, headed for Guaymas to get the sails repaired as well as some planned jobs, such as replace some lifelines with stainless steel bars, change some other thru-hulls, replace the propane lines to the stove… It was a sunny, warm and windy close-hauled (into the wind) sail towards Punto Pulpito where we anchored for the night and admired the impressive view (that black mark is a huge vein of obsidian)