Cockpit Scuppers Redux

This page was last updated on 6 June 2004.

For three seasons, and even back into the restoration work before, the cockpit scuppers had been a headache.  Earlier, during the main restoration, I had removed the original fiberglass through-hull tubes and replaced them with flanged bronze seacocks.  Dumbly, I placed the seacocks in the same place that the original tubes had been, but this created alignment and space issues in the tight area beneath the cockpit.  Had I known better, or even thought about it more, I could have simply changed the location of these seacocks, thereby eliminating many of the issues I faced down the road.  It's always a learning experience, and there's always room for improvement!

portscupperhose.jpg (56551 bytes)After the fiberglass "Y"-type fittings beneath the cockpit began to fail, I decided during the winter of 2004 to address these fittings once and for all, and replaced them with new bronze drains--a not-insignificant project by any means.  While I was pleased with the new fittings, I found, once the boat was launched, that the new hoses I had installed were not allowing water to drain properly.  With the shortsightedness borne of intense frustration, I had, after literally days of fighting, installed long hoses that formed sharp loops between the cockpit fittings and the seacocks.  It was the only way I could get hardwall, reinforced hoses to fit in the space.  Testing at the time, with the boat on the hard, indicated that the scuppers drained just fine.

Memory Aids:
(All open in new window)
Click here to go back to 2000 and read all about the original scuppers, and some interim repairs from 2003.
Click here to go back to 2000 and read about the seacocks I installed.
Click here to return to January 2004 and read about my new cockpit fittings and ill-conceived hoses

For the first few weeks of the 2004 season, I dealt with the annoyance of discovering that the scupper hoses did not allow water to drain properly from the cockpit.  The severe loops, and the fact that the loops extended below the waterline, prevented efficient drainage, and even allowed wave-induced sea water into the cockpit in small amounts, under certain circumstances.  Several times, after rainy periods, I would go out to the boat to find 3" of water sloshing in the cockpit, which had to be manually pumped out.  This was stupid; however, I was frustrated, since I had fought with every type of hose known to man over the past few years, and especially back in January.  Despite my large and comfortable cockpit access hatch, the access was still ridiculous, and the space between the cockpit fittings and the seacock nipples--and the variance in angles between the two--prevented any sort of successful hose installation.

Nonetheless, I knew I had to deal with the problem--and now.  And, reluctantly, I thought I knew the answer.

oldporthose.jpg (47298 bytes)     oldstbhose.jpg (48690 bytes)
These photos show the port (left) and starboard hoses just before I removed them for replacement with my new short ones.  The fact that both are pulled down so low is a result of my attempts during the previous weeks to make the hoses work; pulling the loops down seemed to help when first done, but didn't have any overall helpful effect.

I had always eschewed the use of automotive-type radiator hose for below-waterline fittings, believing that it was normally better to chose one of the extra heavy-duty marine-application hoses with their dense, thick rubber hardwalls and stainless steel reinforcing helix--or even fabric reinforcing plies.  I felt--and still feel--that the stronger the hose, the better, and when using the heaviest hose is a valid option, would always recommend it be used.

However, it was pretty clear that in this instance, I had no option:  I had to search for a pre-formed rubber automotive hose that might fit in the space.  It seemed the only way to make the curves and awkward angle transitions in the short space was to use a hose that was already bent into a similar shape.  Heavier hoses simply could not be forced successfully into position on both ends, and lightweight hoses tended to kink immediately when the bends became too intense.

preformedhose2.jpg (26548 bytes)I headed to the local Napa store, where I browsed a catalog featuring hundreds of hoses displayed with small pictures.  I looked through the several pages of 1-1/2" hose sections, and identified a couple types that looked like they might fit.  I was looking for hoses that more or less replicated the tortured curves that I knew would be required beneath the cockpit, and eventually settled on hose # 8426, which featured the two-directional curvature I was hoping for, and in approximately the right length.  These hose sections were about 8-3/4" in length.  The local store didn't have them, but fortunately two other nearby locations did, so within a few hours the hoses had been delivered to my local store--you have to love that about Napa.  

preformedhose1.jpg (53911 bytes)The hoses did not come cheaply, however:  $25 for the pair, though that's certainly a very small price to pay when you consider that these hoses would be the only thing between the vastness of the ocean and the tinyness of my bilge.  Never, ever skimp on your through-hull hoses and clamps.

The hoses feature an internal fabric reinforcement, and, while much more flexible and softer than the hoses I was used to, seemed fairly adequate.  

porthoseinplace2.jpg (54940 bytes)Out at the boat, I prepared for the replacement by first holding one of the new hoses roughly in place to check its potential fit.  I didn't want to remove the existing hoses till I was sure:  even a malfunctioning hose in good condition is better than no hose at all.  It looked like the new hoses were just the ticket, so I went ahead and removed the port scupper hose first.  (Yes, the seacocks were closed!)

With the old hose out of the way, I was able to quickly twist the new hose into place, with a little trial and error to decide which way was the best way, and which end should go where.  I was pleased how easily the hoses fit over both ends--cockpit and seacock--and, with some minor effort, I soon had the hose securely clamped in place and looking far better than anything I had tried to date.  I was thrilled!

stbhoseinplace.jpg (36439 bytes)I repeated the process on the starboard side, with similar results.  All told, replacing both sides took only 15 minutes or so--a far cry from the hours of toil and discomfort I had endured several times over the past several years, including my original hose installation way back in 2000--when I had the benefit of an empty boat, with far better access than I had at any time since.  I tugged firmly on all the connections to ensure the hoses were well and tightly secured.

Sometimes being a stubborn Mainer has its disadvantages.  But whatever the case, I had finally come around, and was pleased with the results of my hose replacement.  Still, I planned to watch the lighter-weight hoses carefully, over the remainder of the season and beyond



Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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