10/21/2012 – By Jove! I think we’re going to make it!

I spent all this week working on installing the new Lavac toilet and the associated Y-valves and holding tank.  Not to mention all the hoses to connect everything together.  Didn’t have to deal with any of that with our AirHead composter.  However, it’s done now and we have quite a bit more room in the head as a result.  Of course there’s less room under the v-berth were the tank now lives and less room in the various lockers in the head where the hoses, valves and pump now live, but that’s just room for “stuff”.  The room we’ve added in the head is for us.  It now may actually be feasible and not too uncomfortable to rig a shower on board.

Please pardon the construction dust.

I doubt that you can see it in this photo, but there really is more footroom in the head now.

Although the hose I mentioned in my last installment was head and shoulders above any other sanitation hose for flexibility, the installation was still not without its issues.  I opted for a behind-the-wall pump so that the only thing you see is the socket where the handle goes.  This makes for a nice neat installation and keeps the hoses hidden away.  I also opted for the same style of Y-valve so that all you see is the valve actuator (handle).  The only drawback with this system is that the hose connections for the pump are at least an inch to an inch and a half further back from the inside wall than are the ones for the valves.  If I had a ton of room to install everything, this would not be a big deal as you just separate the two items far enough that the hose can bend to accommodate both.  But we don’t have a ton of room.  I couldn’t put the pump and the first Y-valve more than 6 inches or so apart and still be able to have enough room to hook the other 2 hose connections up.  So, compromise #1 was that one of the Y-valves (the one that directs the pumped flow to either the holding tank or the thru-hull) ends up inside a cabinet, supported by short lengths of hose.  You just have to reach in and blindly turn the handle.  It’ll be okay but it’s certainly not ideal.  Maybe I’ll change it someday (yeah, right).

The pump and the hidden Y-valve taking up space in our “linen cupboard”.

The second snafu was that I ran out of my beloved Raritan Sani/Flex hose before I was done.  At almost $12.00/foot, I guess I was just a little too conservative in my need estimate.  I spent one day knocking around Guaymas looking for some hose to finish the job.  I ended up buying some wire-reinforced black hose meant for fuel and oil.  The hose was downright easy to find compared to the 1-1/2″ hose fittings I needed.  Nobody seemed to have anything like that.  Before I could actually install the black hose, I got to worrying about odor-permeation.  I didn’t really want to put this hose in if it was going to start stinking right away.  So, I bit the bullet and went to Star Marine to get some of the standard white plastic sanitary hose that’s been being used on boats for years.  Now, just because it’s been being used for years does not mean it’s good.  It’s almost guaranteed to start allowing odors to escape by the time it’s a year old or so.  But it’s what was available down here so it’s what I used.  If it gets too stanky too soon, I can always try out the black hose until I can get more Sani/Flex.  Anyway, I got the hose and ultimately got a few hose fittings as well.  There’s this little plumbing shop in San Carlos, off the beaten path, that had 2 elbows and 2 couplers.  I bought them all.  I had visions of buying a half dozen of each so I could add them to my spares but I guess I’ll have to wait until Home Depot opens on November 1st for that to happen.

Besides trying to find all the parts and trying to wrestle hoses in confined spaces, the worst part of the job was emptying out the V-berth so that I could install the holding tank.  This is what the salon looked like before I started.

Ye gods! What a mess!

Now the v-berth was just as packed as the salon but with mostly bigger stuff (cockpit cushions, duffel bags, a sleeping bag, lines, oars, etc, etc.  All that had to go somewhere before I could move the mattress enough to install the holding tank.  On the day I went to the plumbing store, I set aside the rest of the day to do nothing except straighten up the boat and open up the v-berth.  I approached the job methodically and patiently and, lo and behold, a few hours later the v-berth was empty and the salon was actually more or less straightened up.  The last thing I did that afternoon was to epoxy some padeyes onto the inside of the hull to tie hold-downs to to keep the holding tank in place.

As of this afternoon, it’s done.  DONE!  I did have to install a vent on the holding tank so we could fill it without blowing it up and empty it without collapsing it.  Plus, there might be a few gases being produced in the tank.  The vent needs to exit the boat high enough so that it doesn’t take on water, even when heeled over.

That shiny thing just aft of the whisker stays in the vent outlet for the holding tank.

Got to make sure that the vent line is high enough so that it’s never submerged, lest we fill our holding tank with seawater while heeled hard over.  Consequently, I ran an extra length of hose way up high inside.

I really really REALLY hate the way this looks. I’ll have to find a more elegant solution someday. I don’t mind the hose but the square loop looks stupid!

As you may remember, I banned Lulu from Siempre Sabado during this job because she’d be confined to the outside, even if it started raining, which it did occasionally.  So what was she doing during this time?  Sitting around watching soap operas on YouTube?  Playing Mah Jong with “the girls” at the club?  Lounging around reading romance novels?  Nope, none of the above.  She spent the week doing a deep clean on Chamisa.  She likes doing that sort of thing and it seemed like the right thing to do considering we’ve been allowed to squat here for months now.  Today, she was finally allowed back aboard Siempre Sabado.

We spent today getting the engine room ready to receive the engine.  We’re going to try to get the yard guys to hoist it up tomorrow because, right now there’s no boat on our port side and they’ll be able to get the loader close enough to us to do the job.  Once the engine is back in the boat, it’ll take me about a day to get it all hooked back up, aligned, stern tube reinstalled, new prop installed, etc.  Then we just need to get our gudgeons back from Luis and we can hang the rudder again.  We also have to caulk the outside of the caprails which we’ll probably do tomorrow.  Couple of other little jobs but we should easily make our self-imposed arbitrary goal of “back in the water by November 1st”.

On the food front, yesterday we were planning on finishing the shrimp we got from Alejandro the other day.  But, in the meantime, he came along and sold us a kilo of fresh Dorado filets ($120 pesos; $4.28/lb delivered!).

A kilo of fresh Dorado.

I broiled the Dorado with just salt and pepper for seasoning.  Lulu mad a green salad and fried potatoes to go with.  The potatoes were at least as good as the fish.  Fried up with onions, garlic and red pepper flakes, they were so good they could make you wet your pants.

There were no leftovers.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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9 Responses to 10/21/2012 – By Jove! I think we’re going to make it!

  1. it really is a mess stephen, and i feel sorry for lulu, since i am familiar with having to clean up after my hubby and his “workspace”–lol

  2. John Dakins says:

    I’m glad you came up for air and gave us a report on the head. It will be interesting to find your opinion on the Lavac vs. the airhead in the coming months/years. Your willingness to take on projects like that (and Lulu’s too) are an inspiration.

  3. Eric says:

    That was ja clear and interesting description of your toilet project but frankly Steve, I feel a little cheated. I went looking for a project progress picture and all I got was a hunk of fish. Where’s the finished pics? Where’s the beef?

    • sryoder says:

      Believe me, Eric, the hunk of fish is probably a more interesting photo. However, I hear ya and I’ll get some photos today and add them to yesterday’s blog this evening.


      • Eric says:

        It’s all good Steve, just having a little fun with ya, is all. it sounds like you’ve come up with some pretty good solutions. I’ve solved my head space issue by cutting out the cabinet under the sink. I’m in the process of making my floor all one level. (same level as current toilet platform) I’ve lost the ability to stand fully upright but can now almost stretch out for a nap in the head. I plan to remove the urine reservoir from the airhead and instead install a hose leading to a holding tank under the partially built bathroom floor which will sit right next to the shower sump which also is in the planning phase.

        I admire you guys who somehow manage to actually finish projects you begin. Haven’t mastered that skill yet :-/

      • sryoder says:

        I’d love to see some photos of your “new, improved head”. Enough space to almost nap in? We can do that. Of course, we have to nap standing up.


  4. sailmama says:

    Steve & Lulu,
    we are so blessed to have you guys for friends! First, for being aboard and service as guards for anything on “Chamisa” which could run amok (such as the electricity/water issues already tackled!), and second, for the delightfully unexpected “deep-cleaning”, thirdly for the contacts re: driving down to San Carlos in our other “little home”, and fourth – for the all the future years of fun sure to happen with you two!

    Keep up the blog – it’s superb, and fyi – the photos of the fish on “our” dishes made me homesick and teary for life aboard!!! (ps…it’s raining/wintry here in the Bay area today!)

  5. Pingback: 10/23/2012 – Updated post | yodersafloat

  6. Curt says:

    Very nice installation. Looks like it was original equipment.
    You could change your square vent loop to a triangular one, if you prefer, by taking out one of the elbows. Might require a scosh more hose, but it might fill an afternoon that would otherwise be spent relaxing and sipping Coronas.

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