DIY Garboard Drain

By Richard Frye



When it rains, my duck fills up with water. Also when trailering down the road in the rain, the hull catches a lot of water too.

After bailing and bailing and bailing after a rain, or dumping in other way that water gets in the boat. I needed a better way to keep from lifting the boat, turning it over, etc., etc. That really gets old and you can trailer it upright now if on a long trip where rain is probably. This eliminates the worry.



So I used a 1-1/2" T with at 1/2" threaded little part! Put a 1/2' pvc plug in it and it works.



Since I was away from my workshop and didn't have any tools to speak of except a cordless drill with a complete set of bits, etc. and this little part was cut off by using the saw from my Swiss Army knife.



I installed it by roughing the outside and slicing a few deep gouges all around the part to gain retention. Here it is installed, and I can wash the trash out of it too.

Most people cringe at the though of drilling a 1" hole in the bottom of their brand new boat. This hole goes thru the keelson strip too, and since Geroge O'Day had faith in it and designed several boats using the garboard drain hole method, I guess I can too since that's what I have on my O'Day Widgeon, and it works great and it don't leak, and that boat is 40 years old!

I suppose epoxy would do just as well but the Goop is amazing and I've used it for numerous applications and will put it up against 3m 5200 in many cases. PL Premium would probably seal it too but it's ulgy and brown and yukkieee! The GOOP is clear and can be painted after 24 hours

I favored using it for installing lightweight bulkheads mostly in plywood kayaks cause I thought they would be easy to remove. WRONG! It's very difficult to get out, even with a razor knife, filleting knife and a thin hacksaw blade, but I finally did remove it! So over the years I learned to carry an extra tube in my sailbox for all kinds of repairs. Great for cruising too for anything can happen there! I'm also going to cut a plug down so it will be flush with the inside and fill the hole with a dowel rod that is glued in and sanded flush with a slot for installing with a flat tip screwdriver or coin, etc.

Be sure that you drill from the bottom thru the keel and get a small pilot hole as close to center as you can get FIRST. THEN...Drill only half-way with a 1" bit from the ouside, a paddle bit will work if it's sharp, then complete the hole by drilling from the inside to prevent splintering. Round the edges slightly with some sandpaper. Apply lot's of glue to the nipple or part cut off a T or whatever you are making the female part of your drain from, rough it up with 60 grit, then score some retention grooves and remember to apply a generous amount of GOOP, EPOXY or your favorite waterproof glue. Tap in with a hammer till flush with the inside. Wipe off excess carefully. Apply more glue around the edges for both the inside and around the hole in the keel. Take care not to get any glue on the threads. Paint, let paint dry and install the PLUG...go sailing!



As in the photo, it can also be done in brass but I like the PVC better.



I spray painted the plug RED so I can see it better. Planning on painting the inside light gray like I do most of my boats to cut down on the glare. I went to the lake yesterday for about an hour before the storm came to check it out and I had NO leak whatsoever. I did use one wrap of teflon tape, then I took it off, sailed out to the middle for a while and it still didn't leak. It only needs to be FINGER TIGHT! But then I had to get in because of a storm.


After returning from another trip:
I left NC early this morning and got back in PA just in time for the damnedest thunderstorm you've ever seen. Yep..I am SO GLAD I put that drain in! I didn't have to stop, bail it out, pump it out or undo everything and turn it over. The inside was dry and washed out nicely too with out me doing anything when I got home! I'm sold on it and will put one in Chris's boat and the others I'm building.


Fair winds...
Richard, and Monkey (First Mate)