CAUTIONARY TALE No. 2 – By Mike Lucas
Article from Sadler Owner’s Magazine, January 2001
SELF-DRAINING COCKPITS – CHECK OUT THE HOSE AND FASTENINGS
There is a tendency for most owners to assume that self-draining cockpits will look after
themselves, because operation is automatic. The reality is that any malfunction of the drains does
severely endanger the safety of the craft. This will arise either through a drain blockage or the hose
detaching from the spigot or seacock.
Take care during the winter (when the boat is ashore) that leaves do not fill the cockpit and block
the drain hose. We have learned only this month of a Sadler 29 which experienced this problem.
The water flowed into the cockpit stowage trough, through into the engine bilge and then
overflowed into the cabin, where it proceeded to fill up the boat to the level of the sole boards.
Each of the Sadler and Starlight models has a different cockpit layout and I now make a few
comments for each boat.
Both the 39 and 35 drain in a similar manner, from spigots glassed in to the drains at aft end of
cockpit, proceeding downwards to skin fittings fitted to the underside of the quarter of the boat.
Clearly these fittings are above the water line at rest, but underway they will be underwater. The
outlet spigots are joined with good quality reinforced hose which after ten years is still likely to be
in reasonable condition. However, do check the jubilee clips (which should be two at the top and
two at the bottom) for security. After ten years there is probably a case for replacing the hose since
it will by now have aged and hardened. When replacing, do take the opportunity to route the hose
so that it is clear of gear and equipment stowed in the lazarette lockers.
These are done in a similar manner to the Starlight, but upto 1989 the hose fitted by Sadler Yachts
was not reinforced. The hose certainly needs replacing with reinforced or ribbed hose and at the
same time, check jubilee clip fastenings. Also check that lazarette contents do not apply pressure
on the vulnerable hose and hence the fastenings.
Access to the self-drainers can be obtained by lifting the cockpit floor and the stowage trough out of
position. In the case of the 32 the cockpit drains go outwards to seacocks fitted in the sail locker
(port side) and under the quarter berth (starboard side). These seacocks must be serviced annually
with the other seacocks and hull openings in the boat, but in practice I find they are rarely
examined. As previously, replace the old hose and double clip all joints.
Like the 32 the self-drain hose can be accessed through the cockpit sole lid and by lifting the
stowage trough. However the drain hose with the 29 goes aft and out through transom skin fittings.
Because these are difficult to get at (particularly the transom fittings) it is vital to service these
components when ashore for the winter.
This is an almost impossible situation in that you need to be extremely small and agile to get
access to where the hose is attached to the cockpit spigots and then to the skin fittings through the
transom. The problem with the 26 is that there is no removable cockpit sole panel.
Access to the starboard side is just about possible by climbing into the sail locker and working
headfirst through to the transom. There is no doubt that the hose will then need replacing and
securely fixing with double jubilee clips. The port side is impossible to access and I suggest that
you crawl down into the far end of the quarter berth and cut out a suitable rectangular aperture to
enable access to the spigot and skin fitting to be obtained. Having cut the panel out, tidy up the
saw cuts and make up a teak frame to go around the removable panel which can then be screwed
into position with self tappers.
The self-drainers are situated similar to the 26. However access is much easier through the lifting
aft locker lid, where the necessary work can be done.
I recommend that a check be carried out on the self-drain hoses every winter, because any
malfunction when afloat would be difficult to rectify. Should any owners have a further contribution
to make on this matter then why not post it on the Discussion Forum?
Cautionary Tale No.3 to follow soon….
HEADSAIL FURLING GEAR – HALYARD WRAP