Sunday, June 16, 2013

Preventing the cockpit lockers draining into the bilge

During the main refurbishment I turned the port cockpit locker into what I intended to be a gas bottle locker. You can read about that in Work starts on aft and cockpit lockers and Completion of the aft and cockpit lockers
For the reasons stated in It’s a gas, or not as it happens; it is the spirit of the thing that counts I gave up on the idea of using gas at all. So now I had a self draining locker with the obvious advantage that any water ingress through the hatch would not find its way into the bilge, making Little Grace that little bit more seaworthy.
The rust is from where the gas bottle used to stand, where it kept the drain clear. The fact that this locker only drains through the transom makes it the obvious place to keep the folding bucket (a small ridged one lives in the aft locker) and the Whale stirrup pump.
Otherwise the locker is used for stowing the dock lines, the main four of which were deplyed at the time this picture was taken.

Drain from the port cockpit locker.
I was keen to do the same to the starboard locker as the erstwhile gas locker. But if I totally enclosed it would have to extend to the transom so that the boat hooks (we have two types as one is for the Handyduck) and emergency paddles could still fit in. This would mean that if the starboard locker filled with water there would be a large volume. If the boat heeled because of the weight the skin fitting in the transom would be higher than the outlet from the box and the water would not drain anyway. Adding another outlet further outboard was not an option as it would be in danger of going bellow the waterline on a port tack. I could add a flapper valve but I don't fancy putting more holes in the boat.
During the refurbishment I had installed a plastic box as a liner in which the fuel tank was stowed. This was connected to one of the skin fittings in the transom so that spilt fuel and vapours could drain out of the boat (the vapours being heavier than air). The latter would only work if the pipe was clear of any water, of course, but I could keep it clear as discussed in It’s a gas, or not as it happens; it is the spirit of the thing that counts.

After the original plastic box for the fuel tank was removed. You can see one of the boat hooks at the top of the picture.

Pipes connected to the skin fittings in the transom. The clear pipe is connected to the boxes in the starboard locker; there is a crossover just out of shot.
Clearly I had to find a compromise and after much processing of a range of ideas I settled on two plastic boxes bolted together, it not being possible to insert one larger box via the aft locker because of the dimensions of the boat don't allow the necessary turn. OK it's not a watertight compartment that drains overboard but there would have to be considerable flooding before much water finds its way to the bilge. However, if there is that much water it is better that the amount that can't drain from the boxes goes into the bilge than list the boat to starboard because the manual Whale Pump pumps from bilge and there is an electric pump there too. When I have time to write about the pump setup it will be listed in A - Z of Refurbishment and Ongoing Improvements
The two boxes in position. In these two photos you can see the drain from the grey to the black and the outlet from the black to the transom.
The boxes are bolted together and fastened to the wood below. For extra security they are braced against the hull by a small fender bought for the purpose.
The paddles are between the far side of the boxes and the hull. You can see the boat hooks on top. The box further aft houses the stern/kedge anchor (important here as Scandinavian mooring with stern anchor is sometimes required). There is a plastic grill under the warp so that water and fumes can pass from the box with the fuel tank to the skin fitting.




  1. Hi I'm wondering how were the cockpit lockets sealed in little grace? I have an Alacrity named Artful. She came with some rather rotten plywood hatches which I have replaced, sadly there is no hinges and water most likely get in.

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  3. Hi. There were hinges and locks. You can see them here:

    and here

    and at 3:50 mins on this video:

    The lids were sealed using a type of draft excluder but I got is from a chandlery as fit for purpose on hatches. You can see it on the page where you left your comment. The fit was a bit tight and once the lock (a clip anyway) was in place the whole think was acceptably water tight for the expected conditions.