Deck Scuppers

Date: July 19, 2000
From: Mike C. Harwood

Hi there,
Our 1979 E32 has two premenant water pools on the deck between the cockpit and the coaming; at the same position as the winches - got any suggestions as to how I can drain the water - it seems like that perhaps the weigh had been moved about since the original design, however, I cannot see that there has been any heavy objects moved. We do not keep our water tank full; it is under the V berth.

Date: July 20, 2000
From: Paul C. Uhl

Nothing has been moved or missing. It's a design flaw. We corrected the problem on our E32 almost as soon as we bought our boat by adding "scuppers" (scuppers are deck drains). When your boat is at rest mark the lowest or most central point that the water pools to. As for chosing scuppers look for atleast 1/4" ID with a flat TOP--the ones that taper like a wood screw--and have a screw on backing flange. You want these so that when you drill your hole in the deck, and taper it, the scupper will sit flush with the deck surface. If you don't, the part of the scupper that protrudes above the deck surface will prevent the water from draining. Make sure you epoxy the inside of the drilled hole to prevent the boat core from getting wet if water should ever migrate behind the scupper. You then use an adhesive caulk (don't use 5200) such as Sikaflex 240 to bed the scupper. Tighten up the backing nut by hand so that the caulk is NOT all squeezed out. After it's dry tighten it.

After you've installed the scupper you need to add a 'T' ( a 'Y' might be better) to the fuel locker drains and connect a hose from the scupper to the 'T'. When doing this think about how the drain hose is led to the 'T' and keep any turns that the hose makes to a minimum, but downward angle. The reason for this is that dirt and debris can collect in horizontal areas of the hose requiring constant cleaning. Use 2 hose clamps at each connection. It's an easy and fabulous solution to the problem. Just give it some fore thought. Remeber the old addage "Measure twice, drill once".

If you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Date: July 20, 2000
From: Kevin D. Coon

Your water pools are normal for the '79 E32, later models have scuppers there. I put scuppers in mine and they work well.

Date: October 10, 2001
From: Jay Call

Like all E-32 owners, I had a problem with water pooling on the side decks. In addition, my cockpit scuppers were not mounted flush, and little pools of water always accumulated in the cockpit side drains. I decided to try to solve both problems at once, and replaced both the of the cockpit scuppers, installed a set of port and starboard side deck scuppers, and a renewed f the drain hose system originally installed on my 1978 E-32 -- it was pretty tatty.

I looked for scuppers that I thought would work for some time, and finally located some. For the cockpit, I wanted scuppers that were flat (so that the cockpit would drain completely) and with a grate (to keep crud out of the pipes). For the side decks, I wanted something that would be flush with the deck and which would rapidly drain the side-decks where the water tends to pool just aft of the winches, and which would be attractive. I had a difficult time finding just what I wanted, but after some searching, decided to order both the cockpit scuppers and the side-deck scuppers from an outfit called SailboatStuff here in California. Visit them at For the cockpit I ordered round cockpit scuppers in bronze (item number 1784-2BR), which come both with grates and with a anti-back flow valve to keep water from flowing back into the cockpit when the boat is heeled. These were $58 each ($9 each more for the chrome models). For the side decks, I ordered 6-1/2" X 2-1/2" cut-out size oblong scuppers (item number 1783BR), at $67 each. Note that "SailBoat Stuff" apparently doesn't stock much, and delivery times tend to be SSLLLLOOOOOWWW -- but I couldn't find another source for the scuppers they carry.

Note that both of these types of scuppers are secured by screwing them into the deck, rather than using the typical, screw-on backing plate. This is actually an advantage, because the side-deck and (especially) the cockpit glass is not of an even thickness, and flush-mounting the scuppers with a screw-on backing plate would likely result in a tilted, uneven scupper.

The installation process was fairly straight forward. Since you've done this before, I assume you know the drill about access to seacocks, hose connections, etc. The only thing I can add of value is that for these scuppers, you'll need to use a Dremel to route-out or relieve the area around the hole you cut for the scuppers in order to accommodate the lip and, of course, they have to be really thoroughly bedded (but not with 5200, or they'll never come up). I found the best way to route-out the required area around the hole was to use a cut-off disk to cut a slot about 1/32" deep all around the circular perimeter of the hole, corresponding to the "lip" of the scupper. Then, I changed to a drum grinder, and ground the glass between the hole and the perimeter cut at an angle matching that of the angle on the head of the scupper. I kept up the grinding process until the scupper fit just slightly below the deck, flush and even all the way around, fitting the scupper by trial and error. I then placed the scupper into the hole, and drilled holes through the fiberglass deck which matched the holes in the flange of the scupper. Next, I bedded the scupper with 3M 4200, and screwed the scupper to the deck. I didn't bother to through bolt these, since there won't be much strain on them.

After the scuppers were both installed, I just connected the whole thing together using 1-1/2" sanitary hose and a couple of "Y" connectors (West Marine number 7220). As set up now, the Y's are mounted about 2" below the cockpit scuppers, with the hose arranged so that it's always running "downhill" (when the boat is on an even keel).

So far, the thing works well, so long as you keep the cockpit scuppers cleaned out. Before I go offshore, I'm thinking about putting in two more at the forward end of the cockpit and "Y-ing" these into the existing holes.

If I've not been clear about anything, let me know.

Date: October 10, 2001
From: Paul Uhl

Thanks for the scupper info. Just on a whim I looked in my ABI catalog and found the exact same scuppers in there. Although you're right, I too haven't seen these screened scuppers anywhere else. If you don't know about ABI I suggest you get one of their catalogs as they have a lot of cool metal products. Everything from bronze and chrome lights, hinges, anchors, deck fills, pad eyes, ports, mast steps, rub strakes, wooden and brass blocks, the list goes on.

1160-A Industrial Ave.
Petaluma, CA 94952

Thanks again.