Holiday progress day 6: starting top end of cockpit drains

Having got the seacocks dry fitted we started on the top end of the new cockpit drains. Another scary job as we have had to cut the cockpit floor (removable section) and the supports for it.

The shows marking out the cut in the cockpit floor which is where this drain will be. That cockpit floor is pretty heavy and unwieldy to lift off and on the boat in these strong winds, so we were glad to manage it without incident.

Not only is it scary to contemplate cutting bits of the boat up, it is also scary to see how quick it is to do so. Here are the two aft corners of the cockpit floor cut off. No going back now.

Next was to cut the supporting “lip” in the boat. Here you can see the removable floor put back in position to mark the cuts.

Again very quick to cut.

And now you can see how the water will drop into the corner where the drain will be,

At this point rain stopped play as the plywood we need to fill these holes (into which the skin fitting will go) is right at the bottom of our van with tools etc piled on top.

Eventually, the new cockpit floor, in the corner with the drain in it, will be level with and smoothly integrated with the lower lip of the corner. It will have an upstand under the cockpit lid and the cockpit lid will have a new edge over that upstand. So the whole thing will be watertight and stronger than it was before, but the cockpit will have two nearly straight, large diameter drains.

We have to cut the original forward drains out of the cockpit to put in new skin fittings. Then hoses from these come back under the cockpit floor to connect to “T”s in the main drains.

For us this is just one of those areas where design standards have been forced to be updated. One of the learning points of the Fastnet Disaster of 1979 (2 years after Vida was built) was the importance of cockpits that drain quickly. Doing a full refit like this allows us not just to replace like with like but also to upgrade where standards/expectations have moved on. That is true of the size of drains but also in the quality/strength of hoses that we are going to be using, the use of double jubilee clips holding the hoses onto the fittings etc.

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