Whitby Home-made Through-hulls

Warning! This information could save your boat.

Whitby did a lot of things over the years to keep the cost of the Alberg 30 affordable. Perhaps the worst thing was to make their own half-inch through-hulls. They took half of a pipe nipple and peened it over a fender washer. While this seems like a mechanically sound construction at first, a little corrosion can make this fall apart into the two pieces. Fortunately my boat was on land when it did so. I put a wrench on the engine intake valve and the pipe nipple pulled through the hull with no apparent effort. I had been that close to sinking all season.

At right, you can see such a through-hull in "good" shape and one that has fallen apart. Whitby used these for all of the half-inch intakes:

  • the engine intake
  • the head intake
  • the galley salt-water intake

This photo shows one of these through-hulls still mounted in a boat, and covered with bottom paint. If you look closely, you can see the ring around the opening where the pipe was peened over the washer. Be aware that years of bottom sanding can reduce the visibility of this, as can a buildup of paint.

If you don't know for sure that your through-hulls have been replaced with proper ones, please check them and replace if necessary.

Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.

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Last modified: Monday 13-Apr-2009