One thing that is not intuitive to the uninitiated in sailing is the importance of seemingly mundane boat parts. The seacock is the perfect example. To the landlubber, it's nothing more than a few rusty faucets placed in incredibly inconvenient places. Bits of plumbing really.
Talk to an Old Salt and the seacock is up there with texting drunk, while driving and the construction of Japanese nuclear power plants in terms of peril, anxiety-creation and volume of discussion.
Take Yachting Monthly (In my humble opinion the finest publication on the planet). They ran a campaign for six months focusing their ire on how certain boat-builders were cutting corners by installing cheapo brass seacocks. Rightly so, as they recounted several tales of boats sinking as the cheap pieces of crap sheared off. They even showed what happens when "Seacocks Go Wild". Watch the first few minutes of the video below and you'll get the idea. I won't spoil it, but one word - Carrots. 'Nuff said.
When I commissioned, Cadence, last year, I made a vain attempt at servicing my seacocks.(For some reason this makes wife titter). My 1988 Sabre 38 is equipped with five accessible bronze Wilcox Crittenden seacocks. Four out of five were stiff but serviceable (Teehee). One, the raw-water head intake, was seized.
I dismantled the worst two, cleaned and greased them but was not able to reassemble them properly. I had to pay the yard to get them back in working order. I left the other two alone, feeling a little sheepish about my seacock servicing skills (Somewhere in the house, my wife is giggling).
The seized seacock was a whole other story. I tried brute force to unseize it but only managed to break the bronze handle off. I warn you that this is a lot easier than it sounds. The yard chaps were unable to do much beyond replacing the handle. I spent the whole season sailing with intake open and that slight nagging feeling that this wasn't quite right.
This year, I determined not be beaten by these bloody brass bits of plumbing.
Yesterday was gorgeous. Nearly 50F and sunny. I went down to the boat to start the annual maintenance. I dismantled, cleaned and CORRECTLY re-assembled two seacocks.
Feeling more confident, I decided to tackle the seized seacock. This year I figured I would engage the brain rather than brawn. Firstly, I plugged the through-hull outlet with a cork. I then removed the hose from the offending seacock and filled the bugger up with PB Blaster, a strongly recommended penetrating oil. The next day I returned with hair dryer and heated the thing up. I figured the combination of penetrating oil and heat would loosen it.
Sure enough, a couple of solid pulls and it freed up.I am a God in human form!
I then cleaned up the parts and reassembled it. The handle was stiff but functioning. I tried loosening it but unfortunately, I probably tightened it in the process. Disaster! The damn thing seized again and this time, it seized half-closed.
I repeated the penetrating oil and heat. No luck. Back to being a mere mortal.
A guy at the local boat store, said that he thought that the likely cause was that a previous owner had tried replacing the innards of the sea-cock without replacing the outer bits (As you can see I am really up on the technical stuff here). Apparently, Wilcox Crittenden mill the inner male bit to match the outer female bit perfectly. (More tittering from the missus). Put pieces together from different units and they won't fit. AWESOME!
I am open to ideas. Beyond that it's throwing money at the problem time.