Monday, May 22, 2017

Sailboat scuppers overkill

.In sailing-lingo, a scupper is a drain that prevents sea water from accumulating in a boat's cockpit, making the boat hard to control ("pooped") - like this. In a big storm, this can sink a boat. So, considering that in a normal open sea storm, the wave frequency can be less than 1 minute apart, it is pretty important for the cockpit to drain out, quickly.

Cutting holes in the hull makes me nervous every time

Now, the Pearson 35 has a particularly large cockpit (9 feet long) which is ideal for entertaining, eating, lounging, sleeping etc. but this also means the cockpit can ship (carry) a large amount of water.

Well, to the extent that this is a real problem  (I don't plan on sailing in places with waves that can swamp my boat!) there is a simple fix: more, larger cockpit scuppers.  

The Pearson 35 came with two 1.5" scuppers, located at the forward corners in the cockpit, on each side of the steering pedestal. I started by added two 2" scuppers on the aft corners of the cockpit. The process was quite easy, using lengths of 2" fiberglass tube. I also added another pair of scuppers, this time cut vertically into the foot well wall, in the mid-section of he cockpit. (The idea was to drain water while the boat is heeling.)
Thick solid fiberglass at the counter-stern. They don't build 'em like this anymore.

New scupper with scalloped edges. Ohh so fancy
  The ABYC code states,
"When filled with water to the fixed sill height, and with weathertight hatches sealed to the height of the sill, 75% of the cockpit water volume shall drain in 90 seconds." 
I didn't have enough patience to do all the necessary volume and drainage calculations, and frankly, if an 11" hole in the cockpit does not drain a swamped boat fast enough, well, I'm not cutting any more holes in my boat!

The seat scuppers were also too small and tended to clog due to the long, twisted route for the drain so I enlarged them, re-routed to drain right above the old scuppers.
The new seat scuppers, drain right above the existing 1.5" cockpit scuppers

Seat scupper hose. Clamps have to be tightened.  
The cubbyholes on the port and starboard side of the cockpit also have their own tiny drains, but apart from checking to make sure they were not blocked-up, I didn't see any need for improvements there. Not a lot of water gets in there, but bugs and leaves sometimes do (and mud wasps like to make nests in there) so I make a point of cleaning out the cubbyhole drains once in a while

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