Last night we were closing up the boat after a week long cruise, and I tried to shut off the galley seacock. We are always diligent about closing the seacocks when we leave the boat. But no good deed goes unpunished.
I turned the handle on the Forespar Marelon seacock and it broke off in my hand. Worse, a solid stream of water began to gush from the hole where the handle fit.
This is not what I would call a "fail safe" design. I imediately pulled out the under sink drawer and put the handle back into the hole. This slowed down the water flow to a trickle, but I could not use the handle to turn the ball to the closed position.
I also couldn't sit there all night like holding the handle, so I asked my wife to get the doomsday box, complete with wooden plugs, a variety of tapes, and my new best friend, silicone Rescue Tape. It is expensive but worth every penny.
Anyway, my wife cut off one foot strips and I wrapped them around the valve, and holding the valve handle in place. The Rescue Tape stuck to itself, even under water. Absolutely amazing stuff. In a few minutes, I had the water flow slowed to a trickle, and I could think about what to do next.
I wish we had caught the whole thing on video. The unedited version of events is much more exciting...
At this point I noticed that the bilge pump was oscillating, pumping out the water, shutting off, then turning back on when the water ran back down the hose. - not useful, and now on my to-fix list, right after the broken seacock.
Fortunately, Forespar includes a little white plug in the handle of the valve for plugging the thru- hole. (Really, that is what that little white plug on the handle is for!) The plug for the galley sink was under several wraps of tape, so I borrowed one from the head seacock.
All I had to do was swim under the boat, find the tinny hole for the galley thru hull in the fading light, and place this little plug into it. (The bottom kill) Simple.
Fortunately, this was not the first time I have had to hang upside- down under the boat fix something, since I have in the past had to retighten loose zincs etc.
so I strapped my childs swim goggles to my head and with the plug in one hand and a wooden plug in the other, I swam under the boat and went looking for the thru hole.
I did eventually find it, and managed to get the plug in without dropping it, and that was it.
Once I figure out how I am going to fix the seacock, I will post what I learn. I am also going to replace all existing seacocks with something else. I will also post what I learn.
According to the Forespar website, they began supplying Catalina with Marelon seacocks in 1993. The claim to have made several improvements since then. I for one am glad to hear it.
So for all Catalina owners with early versions of this valve, be ready for a surprise if the valve handle breaks off.
Have some Rescue Tape handy. No boat owner should leave the dock without this stuff.
In retrospect, if I had had some waterproof putty of some kind, of a silly-putty like consistency, I might have been able to shove that in the hole before I taped on the valve handle. This may have stopped the leak completely. ( A top kill )
Know where the little plugs are, and be prepared to use them. have some wooden plugs as back-up if there is too much bottom paint to allow the little plug to fit. Having a few rubber corks in the doomsday box would also have been handy.
Still afloat (for now)
Ballena 1995 Mk II #1445