As we near the start of our first major phase of the refit, Danielle and I have been furiously doing our homework on what we need to order to make this thing successful.  One of the major projects we knew that we would face in the initial drydocking would be the replacement of the old leaking fuel tanks.

Luckily a source still exists for these tanks via Worldcruiser Yacht Co which is run by the Bud Taplin who was the GM of the Westsail corp and probably oversaw the building of Sundowner.  We were able to order them and they are on the way!  Goodbye old smelly leaking tanks and hello new aluminum tanks that should be clean and shiny.  I can’t wait to see them.  They’ve been shipped and we’re having them delivered to the marina where we are putting in for dry dock.

Now onto a more… Intimate topic.  Its a topic that only the bold and brave of heart care to talk about and yet a very basic one.  One that almost every boater has a story about.  The Head.  Boats refer to toilets as heads.  And boat heads are nasty onerous beasts that require multiple seacocks, a ton of plumbing, extra pumps, and stinking holding tanks.  Generally they’re temperamental.   As in… single ply only and God forbid someone flush a tampon.  Other issues abound, like the fact that marine grade sewage hose eventually seeps smells and so must be replaced periodically.  A job that is less than… fun.

Well I had harbored a hope that we could find a good solution aboard Sundowner.  My main goals were to eliminate the complexity of the plumbing and pumps and also not have the stink associated with marine heads.  I had read extensively about this topic and found several cruisers were suggesting something called a composting toilet.

Last night Dani was lamenting to me the fact that boat heads slosh water around and make it hard for her to go “safely”.   I immediately thought of the composting heads with their lack of water.  And we had a long talk about it and so decided to investigate further.  I think we’ve made the decision to buy one and install it.

The good:

  • Eliminates two seacocks
  • Eliminates several pumps
  • Eliminates need for ongoing maintenance
  • Is “foolproof”
  • Don’t have to worry about pump outs
  • Gives back all the space of the holding tank
  • No “splashing”

The bad:

  • Costs 1000 bucks (made of gold?)
  • Must be emptied periodically
Anyway, I think we’re going to get it.   I mean honestly, just look at it.  Looks like a 1k toilet right?


Or maybe not.  In some ways this thing reminds me of the Look Who’s Talking movies where the commode terrifies children.  Or perhaps some ancient torture device.   But in the end everything on a boat is a compromise.  And this is one I think we’re willing to make despite what our lubber friends may be thinking.  The fact that they smell better and are easier to operate make it an even trade for the sneers we’ll get.

Don’t worry.  I’ll be sure to provide a detailed report in the future that is sure to embarrass Dani.