Through Hulls

In its former incarnation, the boat project had been completely stymied by the presence of the boom in the cabin, running the entire length of the habitable interior. It was impossible to miss and couldn’t really be lifted by me alone or it or anything under it investigated. 

That boom wasn’t there when I bought the boat. I remember walking around in the cabin. 

I had the plans from 1957 and the best assurances that it was the same boat as in the plans. That it was pretty. And that it had been sailed within the last two years. 

Ten years is what the decal on the hull says.

Needs new running lines, I was told.


Mostly the boat was yard decor, available to be looked at by sheep.

I had some big plans for this sheep souvenir but not enough manpower.

Until the truck driver who bought it from me helped me move the boom out of the cabin and into the exterior so he could get a good look at everything, a good look that took two days with me involved helping and commentating on the necessity of fermentation in vegetables - we were both seasoned vegetable fermentors and snarking about the other mortals who don’t have proper respect for sauerkraut — and getting the boat looked at.

That was when I noticed all of the cool features under the v-berth that were now no longer owned by me, one of them being the through hulls.

The through hulls are holes that enable the inside of the boat to communicate with water. That communication is supposed to be strictly controlled. 

My sailing guru Nikki of the Tacoma Women’s Sailing Association pointed this out very kindly. “Sometimes boats have holes in the hull and valves that can be closed.”

As I looked up these boat valves, it occurred to me that they are the main cause of the majority of sinkings. 

The majority of sinkings are not in the open ocean but in the boat slip itself. What happens is, you leave these suckers open in the wrong way and water comes in.

The general public maybe doesn’t know that boats have holes in them intentionally and that a lot of the time they should be open, like when you are doing dishes and want the dish water to go out. But when you are moving rapidly under sail, sea water can come in and flood the sink. 

I have been casting about looking for how to shut this particular hole because it worried me when this expert sailor was smirking about my ghastly project while also knowing that I wanted it or I wouldn’t be all over the place with boats.

So there we are, finally finding the valve that we had been inquring about and seeing that the previous owner had been excellent about this fine detail.

A lot of DIYers buy the wrong valves at Home Depot, which is not equipped to deal with marine valves.

It has to be a special alloy called marine bronze that is ideal for the fact that the magnetism of salt water can cause accelerated oxidation of metal. Mega rust that causes boats to sink. 

So here we are with a moment of great happiness looking at a valve that is not rusted after probably a decade of sitting there. That nut does need a little oil, but I don’t think I’m going to have a bedroom full of water when I try to take her out. 

© Joann L. Farias 2023