Drain plug

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by LAuman, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    I assume it's not illegal to install a drain plug low on the transom.
    BTW, Anybody know history behind putting it by the gunwale instead of the transom?
     
  2. Alan Glos

    Alan Glos Active Member

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    Good questions. The conventional wisdom is that you can install an inspection port anywhere on a Sunfish hull and a drain plug is just a small inspection port (?) Ergo, it is class legal to retrofit by installing a drain plug in a Sunfish transom, and I have installed a bunch of them in project boats.

    The Sunfish should have a stern drain plug right from the factory as it is far easier to simply lift up the bow to check for/drain water out of the interior rather than tipping the hull on the starboard side. The Laser (sister ship to the Sunfish) has come from the builder with a stern mount plug since day one back in the early 1970s. Maybe the class should make this change.

    Alan Glos
    Cazenovia, NY
     
  3. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    I 'kinda, sorta' disagree with this opinion. A Sunfish has this tub in the middle where we put our feet. This makes getting the water from the front/bow to the back/stern circuitous at best.
    Putting the boat on its side with the original drain down really does a better job of getting rid of (all) the water. Comparing the inner spaces and the draining to the Laser is inappropriate because the interior layout of the Laser is different which makes draining a Laser hull from the stern pretty efficient.

    If you aren't convinced of my argument, take a look at this set of pictures of the innards of the Sunfish:
    http://www.sunfishforum.com/content.php?pg=construction

    and visualize the tub and storage compartment in between those foam supports.

    Also remember that Laser sailors occasionally forget to close the stern plug....

    http://propercourse.blogspot.com/2012/07/unplugged.html#comment-form

    Thanks Tillerman!
     
  4. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    A drain plug is not an inspection port and one in the stern would most likely be considered illegal.
     
  5. Alan Glos

    Alan Glos Active Member

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    Ah ha! Seem to have touched some nerves!

    Water will find a way around the cockpit tub even with all the foam in place. The nice thing about a stern plug is that you can tip the boat stern down on a trailer or beach rack to drain it. , I am not opposed to the deck drain - I just want both deck and stern drain plugs.

    Alan Glos

    p.s. Beldar is probably right - I don't have a stern drain plug in my 2003 race 'fish for fear that it might not be race legal.
     
  6. Pat75

    Pat75 Member

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    Why would it not be legal?

    (because you could partially fill the hull with water and air pressure to make the boat a water rocket when you pull the plug?)
     
  7. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I would be really surprised if a class member was bounced from a class-sanctioned event, maybe even the North Americans (but we could ask the class measurer on that) for having an extra drain plug. Worst case you could fill it if you had to, but I'd be surprised if anyone really had an issue with it. More likely you'd get condolences.

    Even if it was explicitly permitted I'd be hesitant to put one in, in that it would raise obvious questions if you ever wanted to sell it. If I were looking to buy, I'd probably take a pass on a boat set up like that, no matter how nice it was otherwise. I'd assume (a) the boat was probably stored and transported deckside up, no matter what the present owner claimed, and (b) more importantly, that at some point this boat must have had some continuing water problems to need that much draining, presumably routinely, for the owner to have taken such a drastic measure.

    If you do have that kind of unresolved drainage concern where you have to be emptying the boat regularly, you might put a smallish stern port in, with a clear plastic cover. The plastic will tend to fog up if there's moisture and will be easy to spot. And when you pull the boat onto shore or the dolly, you'll be able to easily see just how much has accumulated, and sop it out with a sponge if necessary. If we're talking a lot of sopping then there's something else going on that will need to be addressed. While a stern port won't go unnoticed, it won't raise the kind of concern that an unorthodox drain plug would.
     
  8. douglas_zargham

    douglas_zargham Member

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    just for all of y'alls 'fyi' information - having cut out and repaired the hull under the footwell - theres a couple inches between the bottom of the footwell and the hull - plenty of space for the water to flow unobstructed. its the center stern foam block that would be the only obstruction. i've considered a drainplug in the transom off to one side, but never seem to get around to it - i just sponge out the water from my inspection port behind the splashguard.
     
  9. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Thanks for that info.
    On my 2005 hull, the cockpit is in immediate contact with the hull, at least in the area around the bailer (the only spot where I can take a look). However I gather from a 2008 thread that the construction in the footwell/cockpit area has changed over the years. I would like to get Geophizz's input on this issue, since he has seen the Sunfish production line (as of 2008) with his own eyes. He reported:

    'In these pictures you can see one small design change from the old photos that I've seen on the net. If you look at the picture of the daggerboard, you'll see two rectangular mats laminated into the fiberglass, and foam along the edges. The foam mats add a small amount of structural hull reinforcement and cushioning under the cockpit, while the foam adds some side support to make the cockpit sit more securely in the boat. '

    http://sailingforums.com/threads/laser-performance-factory-tour-photos.13473/

    On the pictures one can see the keel channel in the middle which would allow water to run front to back, but there are foam blocks sitting on the channel near the front and the back of the hull. In addition, the mast tube/step and daggerboard slot are in the way and would impede the flow of water towards the stern.
    I agree that one can get rid of the major amount of water with a stern plug and slanting the hull, but the last half gallon or so may pose a problem.
     
  10. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    Thanks for all the input. Mine's a 2006 with an inspection port installed between the cockpit and the spray coaming. It has developed a crack in the aft side of the mast tube, so that water entering the tube drains into the hull. . . a pint or so at a time during rains or heavy weather sailing. Don't why the crack; I have a halyard cleat on the mast and have always had the mast fully inserted. In any case, I am considering overlaying the crack with a strip of epoxied glass tape. There appears to be plenty of room in the tube to add a single layer of glass.
     
  11. douglas_zargham

    douglas_zargham Member

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    mine's a '72 with the couple inches clearance
     
  12. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    . . . and BTW, in my 2006, water seems to flow freely forward to the inspection port from the stern
     
  13. Cavi

    Cavi Member

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    anyone have a picture of a drainplug installed?
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    I watched a newer Sunfish empty at least a gallon of water from a transom drain plug, so I was determined to install one.

    The drilling went well, and I drained about a pint of water out. To determine if had been a good idea, I used a "wick" to move every trace of moisture out. Checking my inspection port behind the splashguard, I sponged out what I could.

    The result? No water has been emptied from the transom drain plug, but some water has returned to the bilge below the inspection port.:confused: I have some long 24" drill bits, and may eventually probe the starboard foam to expedite drainage. The plug itself is one to a baitwell, perhaps 5/8" in diameter. It's a tight fit without a "proper" sleeve, though I may smooth the opening with epoxy before next season.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    Thanks, all. I've learned a bit more about the interior of my 2004. . . Wish I'd known more before I hacked into the foam block behind the spray coaming with a sabre saw! In any case, the drain plug I'll probably install over the Winter will suit my logistical situation better than the forward inspection port. That fip is a relatively slow and inconvenient means of getting water out, and, if I've left it unsealed for ventilation, I sometimes get surprised by an overnight thunder shower.
     
  16. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of surprise, I drained a half-gallon of clear water via the transom drain plug today. :confused:
     
  17. Demon

    Demon Member

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    Have you done a leak test?

    Easy way to locate the leak.
     
  18. Cavi

    Cavi Member

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    I love this discussion! I installed one on the transom of my wife's boat. She and my 13yr old are the main people that sail this boat. It lives on a trailer at a drydock on the lake near us. when on the trailer the mast stays up so draining the water from the side drain was a real pain at best, plus I would have to do it since until recently my son would not have been capeable of doing it safely. Anyway the drain on the transom makes it a snap. That is the only reason we installed it and anyone who would pass on one just because someone installed a drain on the transom is deffinitly way, way too serious, at least compared to me. Then again, if I was looking for a boat to race in maybe.
     
  19. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    Demon . . . Easy way to locate a leak . . . I'm really interested in easy ways to nail location of a mast step or daggerboard well leak . . . details?

    Cavi, any 'fish that's down to weight, is clean (esp. underwater), and has a modern rig should race pretty well.
     
  20. Demon

    Demon Member

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    Just blow into the hull then tape over the plug hole. Use soap bubble mix over the mast it will confirm if the mast is the problem. Tape the bottom of the centerboard trunk then use the soap mix over the centerboard top. Check the boat edge seams and around the bailer.
     

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