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What is the Weirdest Thing You Have Ever Found on a Boat

Jan 4, 2006
2,948
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
@Sefuller recently posted that he was looking for a 7/8" barbed hose adapter for his water heater.


And yes, there is a 7/8" hose and fittings. This got me to thinking, what is the weirdest device, design, arrangement, peculiarity, etc.that you have ever seen or heard of on a boat. Post one and maybe help someone get through the current "end of the world scenario".

I've got two dimes, a nickel, and a wad of lint that says no one can beat this one for plain goofiness. Please pardon the Photobucket water marks as this is copied from an ancient posting of mine back in 2014 when things were "a little different":

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In the last fourteen years, I thought I had plumbed every nook, crevice, and cranny in this 1999 Hunter 310 and no further surprises could possibly exist. Yeah, you bet. I also hear the Pope's converting to Judaeism.

While replacing my macerator pump a few weeks ago, I found that the hose to the deck pump-out didn't look as good as it could under the gear clamps. What could be easier than replacing the hose ? Two hour job tops, in addition to the one week I'd already spent on the new macertor installation. Hell, the macerator replacement was only supposed to be an hour. So .................. first thing is to disconnect the hose down near the tank.



Maybe this'll only be a one hour job, tops. Next is to disconnect the hose from the bottom of the deck fitting. This is accessed through a panel in the rear of the medicine cabinet. Now this is interesting, how does one get their big meat hooks up behind the wall in order to undo the two gear clamps. You can't even slip a piece of paper in here, and surely not a screw driver, and loosen two hose clamps up in there ? ? ? Sure, and for my next trick, I'll be turning water into wine.

So, these boat assemblers were smart. The way you disconnect it is to go out on deck, dislodge the deck fitting, and pull out the SS deck fitting, followed by the gear clamps and finally the hose. No, not exactly. The hole in the deck for the fitting is just big enough to accept the deck fitting and no more. Any bigger hole and the screws would be screwed into thin air. The hose and the gear clamps are NOT coming through this hole on a bet.



So how the hell'd they put it together ?

Down below again and look behind the medicine cabinet. Wait for the answer to pop out of thin air. Absent-mindedly place my hand on the hose and wiggle it. The hose drops, my jaw drops, and I'm left with a sewage hose hanging in mid air. These characters had managed to push the hose, at a lenght of about a foot, onto the barbed fitting for all of 1/4 inch. Sort of like pushing on a rope. I was so gobsmacked, I couldn't even let loose with the usual barrage of obscenities.

So just how the hell does one manage to get the pump-out hose on the barbed fitting and crank up a couple of gear clamps in a space that's so small there isn't even enough room to spit ? Desperation is the real mother of invention.

Unscrews the stainless pump-out fitting from the deck, and sure enough, you can see how far the hose was on the fitting ............. about 1/4 inch. There truly must be a god of the sea or how else did this hose stay on the barb for 14 years without falling off ? Or, maybe all this stuff about about carefully fitting hoses on to barbed fittings is all a load of crap. Just slip it on a quarter of an inch and forget it. Look ma, no hose clamps.

I can feel insanity setting in and decided to get the hell out of the marina, running for my life. After a few hours of staring at the fitting, it comes to me ...... maybe.



If we extend the length of the stainless fitting down to the opening in the medicine chest, we can jam the hose on there and finally apply two hose clamps. Two clamps because I just couldn't bear to have a leak way back there on my toothbrush.

Back from the machine shop with this weird looking 13 inch long deck pump out fitting and we're ready to install.












Fortunately, it was easy to run the new hose from there.





Unfortunately I now have this insane compulsion to jam my head into tiny little spaces on the boat looking for another hidden screw up. I know it's in there ......... somewhere ............. I've just GOT to find it.
 
Jan 11, 2014
5,764
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
This past summer I decided it was past time to replace the vent hose on a water tank under the starboard settee. Not a big or difficult job, it did require removing the deck of the settee to access the hose, some time with a drill and screwdriver bit and the deck was off and I had access to the fitting. While disassembling the settee I notice a little water beneath the outlet. No problem I thought, I'll just tighten the screw on the clamp and it will be good.

To double check, I filled the tank with water and went for a beer. I wanted to make sure I had fixed the problem before putting everything back together. I came back, the water had returned and I pumped the tank empty. With the tank empty, I removed the fitting, put new teflon tape on the threads, attached the hose and tightened the clamps. After filling the tank with water I went home.

The next day, upon returning I found, no surprise, more water. Fearing the worst, a split seam on the tank, the tank was drained and I finished removing all the restraining parts to remove the tank. After wrestling with the tank, it yield to my persuasion. The good news, the seams in the tank were intact. Yahoo! And the leak was found. In the bottom corner of the tank that was tight against a bulkhead was an unused threaded hole for an outlet. The outlet had been sealed with a brass reducing bushing and a black iron plug. After 20 or so years the black iron finally failed and created a very slow leak.

IMG_1769.jpeg


Discovering the leak solved a couple of other concerns, a musty smell emanating from the region and a swollen drawer on the other side of the bulkhead that had some mildew and would not slide easily. Fortunately the leak had not damaged the bulk head yet, probably because the boat spends half the time out of the water on the hard so it can dry out.

Mystery of the leak solved, I swung by a big box hardware store on the way home and bought a 50 cent ½" PVC plug to seal the hole. On the next trip to the boat with plug in hand, I discovered the plug was too large. It must be a ⅜" plug I thought. So off to the nearest big box hardware store, a 50 mile roundtrip, to purchase a $5 ⅜" brass plug. Back at the boat and ready to be done with this project, I inserted the plug only to find, you guessed it, it was too small. WTF, it was another chance to practice my sailor speak and look for new words in the Profanisaurus.

Back home, with micrometer in hand I struggled to solve the problem. Perhaps it was a metric thread? A trip to the local industrial fastener supply center bore no fruit, a matching thread could not be found. Then it was off to the plumbing supply house, again, to no avail. Back to the internet and a deep dive into the world of pipe thread standards. Therein lies the answer. In the world there are 2 major pipe thread standards, National Pipe Standards, the NPT and NPS standard we all know and the British Pipe Standards (BST and BSS) and a couple of lesser known and rarely used other standards. My best guess was the thread was a ½" British Standard Taper (BST). But where to find a BST threaded plug in the US?

Where to find arcane bits and pieces? McMaster-Carr, there buried deep in their inventory was a ½" SS BST plug for just $3.10 plus $7 shipping. After waiting anxiously for a day or two for the part to arrive, the threads on the new and old plug matched. Off to the boat, the plug was wrapped in teflon tape and it fit!

IMG_1771.jpeg


While the tank was out, the areas was cleaned and treated with a mildew and mold killer. The bulkhead was inspected and found to be solid. The tank was installed and filled. After a few hours there was no evidence of a leak. Problem solved.

IMG_1778.jpeg


Now all that remained was trying to remember how it all went back together two weeks after starting this quick and simple project.:what:
 
May 25, 2012
2,945
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
on a run from sturgeon bay to chicago for a mac race, i put into algoma wis to run the kids. after they left the boat i was attending to chores when with a loud hiss i was startled by a opossum that was in a cabinet behind the stove. i jumped back from fright, he/she bolted for the companion way hatch, across the deck and onto the shore. maybe was just trying to visit cousins in algoma
1585505373923.png
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capta

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Jun 4, 2009
3,839
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Not really odd or weird, but really cool.
When I pulled the mast on my 1909 gaff ketch, after sailing her from Hawaii through the SoPac to NZ, we found a 1909 Double Eagle $20 dollar gold coin in the mast step. This was an old sailing tradition for good luck and when I restepped the mast, I added a NZ gold coin with the Double Eagle.
It must have worked, because we were capsized three times in a hurricane (with lots of damage) shortly thereafter, but the old girl got us back to a safe anchorage. Not without a lot of work on our part, but still, she hung together.
I've actually tried to find out what happened after the new owner shipped her back to the states, but she's been delisted as a documented vessel and the several posts I've made asking folks in the Bay Area if they had seen her, got no responses.
I wonder if she sank in her slip and was broken up, and whether anybody found those coins.
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,584
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Capta you sly devil.

Now your going to have treasure seekers pulling masts in hopes of finding rare coins at their base. :yikes:
 
Feb 21, 2008
329
Hunter 33 Metedeconk River
When I renamed my current boat in 2014, I thought that part of the tradition was to put a lucky coin under the mast. I used a 1947 Washington quarter (birth year) that I happen to have. For the christening we had a bottle of sparkling Asti-Spumante (bottled just like champagne) that we had bought 43 years prior on our honeymoon to be used for a special occasion. The ceremony was beautiful with many friends and family but instead of breaking the bottle we opened it for all to share. Unfortunately, what came out was brown sludge. The toast was made with beer. I'll have to check to see if the coin is still there.
 
Jan 11, 2014
5,764
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Speaking of critters...
Removed the pedestal cover one day to find @Kermit's cousin hugging the chart plotter.

IMG_1425.jpeg
 

Apex

.
Jun 19, 2013
924
Oday 28 Traverse City
on a run from sturgeon bay to chicago for a mac race, i put into algoma wis to run the kids. after they left the boat i was attending to chores when with a loud hiss i was startled by a opossum that was in a cabinet behind the stove. i jumped back from fright, he/she bolted for the companion way hatch, across the deck and onto the shore. maybe was just trying to visit cousins in algoma.
Similar story, but a racoon in my case. A friend was using the head when he exclaimed a racoon was on the boat. On deck? NO, staring at him just feet away in the v-berth. It holed up ahead of the anchor locker at 3am a fellow club member walked by and lent a hand. Crawled up in the v-berth with the varmint, fed him a peanut butter sandwich. It jumped down (inches from his face), hissed as it strolled by and exited the boat. Later we learned the racoon whisperer was less aware of his actions than we thought. We still have a stuffed racoon aboard as our mascot. (edit: a toy racoon, not the actual)
 
Jan 4, 2006
2,948
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
My best guess was the thread was a ½" British Standard Taper (BST).
Good Lord. This takes you back to the 1700's in Jolly Olde where each and every County and hampshire had their own standard for thread pitch, diameter, and every other parameter they could muck about with. Pity the poor fellow that took his horse drawn wagon from one county to the next and had a bolt fall out of the wagon :banghead:.
 
Mar 2, 2019
128
Oday 25 Milwaukee
I work for a very large hydraulics manufacturer . We use JIS , Japanese Industrial Standard , BTW .NPT, SAE , BSPP,, ORING FACE SEAL , fittings Sometimes on the same test component !
The strangest thing I found on a boat ? A previous owners idea of how to wire a stereo or the vhf .
 

BrianH

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Feb 14, 2005
72
Hunter 44 LaSalle, MI
We wee about 8 nm out from land in Lake Erie when I noticed something flutter from the top of the mast to the back of the main, near the outhaul. I wasn't sure what it was, until I looked on the leeward side of the sail and there was a small brown bat hanging onto the main near the clew. I left it alone, because I wan't sure what to do. Well it decided for me, it flew down into the open cabin. When I went below to see where it went, it flew in deeper, into an aft cabin. I grabbed a towel and started twirling it around and it flew out into the galley. I found it hiding behind a mounted fire extinguisher and threw my towel at it. Luckily the towel disoriented the bat and they both fell on the floor with the towel over the bat. I scooped them both up and got them out into the cockpit. The bat managed to poke it's head out of the towel at that point so I shook the towel out astern and off it went.

The boat had an in-mast roller furling main, so I assume he had spent the night in the upper cavity in the mast. After I let him go, I felt a little bad because we were so far from shore...
 
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PaulK

.
Dec 1, 2009
477
Tillotson Pearson J/36 Southport, CT
We wee about 8 nm out from land in Lake Erie when I noticed something flutter from the top of the mast to the back of the main, near the outhaul. I wasn't sure what it was, until I looked on the leeward side of the sail and there was a small brown bat hanging onto the main near the clew. I left it alone, because I wan't sure what to do. Well it decided for me, it flew down into the open cabin. When I went below to see where it went, it flew in deeper, into an aft cabin. I grabbed a towel and started twirling it around and it flew out into the galley. I found it hiding behind a mounted fire extinguisher and threw my towel at it. Luckily the towel disoriented the bat and they both fell on the floor with the towel over the bat. I scooped them both up and got them out into the cockpit. The bat managed to poke it's head out of the towel at that point so I shook the towel out astern and off it went.

The boat had an in-mast roller furling main, so I assume he had spent the night in the upper cavity in the mast. After I let him go, I felt a little bad because we were so far from shore...
We were beating into a nasty 25 knot rain about midway between Boston and Provincetown MA (about 30 miles off both) when at about 03h00 something flew in over the lifelines and seemed to disappear below. Mother Carey’s chicken that we’d scared up?? Screwy. A few seconds later it came out and dropped in the cockpit at the base of the pedestal. A brief moment later it jumped up and flew again towards the hatchway, ending up hanging upside down from the stretcher bar for the dodger. He (she?) hung there the rest of the night, swinging gently with the boat as we bashed along. We arrived in Tennant’s Harbor the following afternoon with it still hanging there, preening it’s fur every now and then, then going back to sleep. Very cute. We named it Bancroft. When evening fell, he flew off.
 
Jan 1, 2006
4,845
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
One of the things I love about sailing and being "Out" are the critters you encounter. When returning from Spring Off Sounding Regatta I often see the mating of Sand Sharks going on. Thousands of little sharks in the amorous rituals of life. Entirely entertaining and I have to admit I enjoy sometimes more than than the races. We see all kinds or critters out there like a seal munching on a flounder in the Race. Aint it good?