Topic: Relocation of Cockpit Drain Through-Hull Fittings

My through hull fittings are under the cockpit floor next to the driveshaft.

That location concerns me because the valves are not readily accessable. 

To check on their condition or to close them if necessary, one must first remove the screws that secure the cockpit floor.

Also, they are not proper seacocks but rather they are simple mushroom fittings screwed into glvanized 90 degree elbows that are screwed into the ball valves.

I have been considering installing proper seacocks in the hull at the forward end of the compartments under the cabin seating.  That would enable to inspect and operate them from inside the cabin.

The other option I am considering is installing them on the transom.  That would allow me to inspect and operate them from the cockpit.

Any thoughts on these, or other options?

JJT Contessa 26 #320

Re: Relocation of Cockpit Drain Through-Hull Fittings

I am in the process of tackling this project and will post pictures in due course.  What started as a simple job has turned into a huge and expensive hassle because of the location (and interference) of these drains.  In hindsight I should never have started as the original installation was fine.

I FINALLY have all the pieces in hand and hope to goo them into place this week.  I finished applying the Interprotect around the flange bolt holes today.   

Wrt to your questions:  (a)  It seems to me that if you are experiencing massive flooding related to these drains then you probably have done major structural damage to the boat and have bigger problems.  This is a very strong part of the boat and the weak link is the plumbing.  Your seasonal inspection and maintenance should take care of it.

(b)  My solution also uses 90 degree elbows between the through-hull and the valves.  It was either that approach or a great deal of glass-work to relocate the holes.  For the proper install, I have all pieces in bronze and am using the Groco flange adapter plates.

(c)  Relocating the valves to the quarterberth lockers -- I wouldn't.  The lockers are not very deep and I believe you will have clearance issues.  And the valves will still be difficult to access during a voyage once there is stuff in the lockers.  Plus you will loose storage space. 

(d)  If you must have instant access consider plumbing the drains to the bilge area forward of the engine.  On my boat (#166) this would place the valves between the batteries and the engine.  You will definitely be using elbows in this location.  Actually -- as I write this I am already rejecting it.  The levers on the ball valves are too long to swing in this area. 

(e)  For faster access to the existing valves consider installing a bronze or stainless deckplate in the cockpit sole.  You can reach through it to close the valves (assuming they are not too stiff or are seized).  However, I'll bet that you are just about as quick removing the bolts on the cockpit sole panel as you would be unscrewing the plate.

(f)  Transom drains are a great idea but the transom is above the waterline so water will not flow out once the level reaches that of the drains.  I recall reading something about a Contessa owner who fitted dinghy-style flapper drains so that his cockpit would empty more quickly if filled by a large wave.  These freeing ports would handle the bulk of the water and the last few inches would pass through the existing drains.  I always thought that this would be a good idea but I have not yet felt an urgent need for it.  Improving the companionway drop-boards would go hand-in-hand I think.

Good luck with the projects....

Re: Relocation of Cockpit Drain Through-Hull Fittings


So far, the OEM arrangement has worked fine but, as a matter of principle, I like to have easy access to all the important parts.   

You are correct about the removal of the cover being a fairly quick process because I have replaced the screws with hex-head fasteners and I can remove them in a jiffy using a simple speed wrench and socket.

However, if a loose object, like a propeller shaft free of its coupling or an alternator broken free from its mount, damaged a drain hose in rough seas, seawater could flood the bilge faster than I could remove the cover and close the valves.

Also, I have replaced my other through-hull fittings with proper seacocks with flanges that are through-bolted to solid fibergalss backing plates and I have been seeking a way to do the same for my cockpit drains but maybe a mushroon fitting and a 90 degree elbow is good enough.

I am looking forward to seeing your solution.  It sounds like upgrading the parts in the current configuration might be the best idea.

Keep us posted.



JJT Contessa 26 #320

Re: Relocation of Cockpit Drain Through-Hull Fittings

My spouse stole my cell phone / camera.  Hence the delay.

I seem to be IT challenged today -- I cannot get logged into the Gallery and am failing miserably at posting an image here in this thread.  I have included the picture and more comments as a new thread under he same name.

Re: Relocation of Cockpit Drain Through-Hull Fittings

I sent you a PM.

Re: Relocation of Cockpit Drain Through-Hull Fittings

Possibly a rod or line can be routed to close the valve. It only has to close.A fitted box in the cockpit will facilitate quicker drainage.