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Tips For Your Ship's Head

Joker Valves Are No Joking Matter

from Hal Schade, Sailing Vessel “Griffin”

Ship's Joker ValveWhen your head gives up its only obliging purpose in life, its flushing ability, you scratch your head, hoping it isn’t something really serious like clogged hoses.  My first look is always the joker valve.  You know, the one that keeps the out-going from becoming the in-coming.  Recently, I experienced this unfortunate event.

Going immediately to the j-valve I found a grotesque figure covered with “warts” and with a twisted sneer that revealed the source of my problem (see really ugly photo!).  After scratching my head some more, I remembered that I had replaced the j-valve but a mere 4 months ago.

This called for drastic action.  I used my monkey cell phone connection from here in Guatemala to call a valued acquaintance, Patrick, at Groco, the company that makes my K-Model head.  Patrick, the wizard (no pun intended) of heads, said that the “warts” and distortion most likely came from chemicals.  He asked me what magic potions I had been using to clean the head.  I said soap & water, a little vinegar which I thoroughly flushed and a special head cleaning product I had used for years.  “Hummm,” he said, telling me that all seemed fine.  However, he ran a few other chemicals by, and my ears perked when Lysol® came up.  Ah, yes, forgot that one.  Had used it.  So antiseptic, you know.  Well, my friends, seems like this may be the culprit.

Patrick, always helpful in a scatological way, also referred me to a product he found very effective in cleaning while causing no harm to rubber parts.  I haven’t check it out yet, but he said it can be found on the web searching for Tracbuster Marine Products.  You can bet I’ll be looking at it soon…right after I put the “NO LYSOL” sign on the head seat (which I always close, I might add!).


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