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Old 27-04-2009, 15:16   #1
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2 Heads?

How important is it to have two heads on a boat? A little background on my scenario: I currently live aboard at a dock with my wife while working and have one head, which we find completely adequate. We are designing a new boat to build and do extensive cruising on in the not too distant future. We'll be cruising by ourselves with occasional friends/crew. There is space for a second head (without shower) that could otherwise be storage or a small workshop. For those of you that have cruised under similar conditions, how important is a second head? Is it just a good sales tool that you use if it's already there? The location would require a separate holding tank plus the obvious expenses of the fixtures.

The main benefits that I see are a reduction in the urgency to fix a broken head and the convenience when you have occasional guests. Is that reason enough to do it?

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old 27-04-2009, 15:28   #2
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Lived aboard and cruised for 3 years with one head on our last boat. Had a guest for 2 months at one time and two unrelated guests for another month. Never saw a need for a 2nd head though we were in SoPac where a dive over the side could take care of any emergency. Most boats we've seen with a couple cruising with two heads use one of the heads for storage. Storage or workspace would be way more valuable and less expensive to include. One thing I would opt for is a seperate shower enclosure. A shower that is part of the head enclosed by a curtain gets the whole boat damp in cooler climates.

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Old 27-04-2009, 15:58   #3
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Hi Garrett,

We have an ex-charter boat and the heads were fine but the buildup of calcium started clogging one of he heads.

Funnily enough it always happens at an inconveniet time!!!!

Like 1 hour beofre guests are coming on board.

Or 3,000 miles from a chandelry

etc.

Also I remember a few years ago going from Turkey to Palma pooping over the stern. Its not nice! (That was a stupid vacume electric system on a lickety-split boat 2 elecy heads and no manual one.)

So I would assure you we would NEVER EVER EVER buy or build a 1 dunny boat!

Perhaps you can design an emergency head in your workshop under the bench? Or something like that

Also, remember, if you build in an emergency head you will never need it!


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Old 27-04-2009, 16:06   #4
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Please.... How many of us grew up in one-head houses?

And it wasn't really a problem. No way I'd have 2. I would keep a bucket. Anyone that can't use a bucket in private.... Really, the human race is becoming rather too delicate for my taste.

But if a bucket is too visceral, carrying a small portable head (stored dry, ~ 5#) can work fine. I have done this in a pinch - it fits on the floor in front of the throne, and it doesn't break!
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:12   #5
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It seemed in previous discussions about this issue that folks who have one head think a second is silly and those with two thought them advantageous - guess it's all about perspective.
Regardless of when we lived aboard or live in a house, we always wanted more than one bathroom (including in a house) for the convenience. Space on a boat is always at a premium so it is a decision based primarily on your priorities and what size boat you are building.
The second head is always superfluous until required.
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:16   #6
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I'm pretty sure I would use the workshop 10x as much. You choose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GDFL View Post
How important is it to have two heads on a boat? A little background on my scenario: I currently live aboard at a dock with my wife while working and have one head, which we find completely adequate. We are designing a new boat to build and do extensive cruising on in the not too distant future. We'll be cruising by ourselves with occasional friends/crew. There is space for a second head (without shower) that could otherwise be storage or a small workshop. For those of you that have cruised under similar conditions, how important is a second head? Is it just a good sales tool that you use if it's already there? The location would require a separate holding tank plus the obvious expenses of the fixtures.

The main benefits that I see are a reduction in the urgency to fix a broken head and the convenience when you have occasional guests. Is that reason enough to do it?

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:20   #7
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What a question. It's no different from a land based dwelling. Certainly, two people -- even five people -- can live with one head just like they can live with one bathroom in a house or apartment.

But would you want to? Two heads are certainly desirable if you've got space for it, and the desirability goes up geometrically with the number of people on board above 2.

Plus the issue of backup, in case one head goes out of order. Redundant systems are always good on a boat.
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:25   #8
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Think about maintenance...

It's totally a matter of personal preference, but I'm for one head only. They're kinda like engines. The fewer you have, the better. They're maintenance headaches, unless you just love fiddling with stuff.

Carry some spare parts, and a service manual. If it goes south on you and you can't fix it, be sure to have a five gallon bucket and a plastic seat that fits on it, available from West Marine, et. al. That will get you through until you can find a tech to fix it.
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:56   #9
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One head is perfectly adequate, especially for two. On a sailboat over.... maybe 38 ft, it will reduce the value some when it comes time to sell though.... Crazy isnt it, how many 24-28 ft travel trailers have two heads? They're about as roomy as a 38-40 ft boat...
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:57   #10
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As you can see from this board, men look at the head and think maintenance. Women don't.

So, I'd make this your wife's call. If she doesn't want a 2nd head are you going to tell her that you insist because you like maintenance?

Alternatively, if she does want a 2nd head and this will make her more willing to keep living on a boat with you, are you going to say no? Some men have spent far more than the cost of a head and holding tank to not sail alone - including the cost of a divorce.

Either way, it seems a fair trade that she gets to make the 2nd head decision and you get the Gori folding propeller or the 12" chartplotter with AIS B transponder

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Old 27-04-2009, 17:32   #11
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thinwater,

Loved the bucket. It's not even subject to overboard dicharge laws. I think it's supposed to be oaken. A 5 gallon plastic one works fine.
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Old 27-04-2009, 17:46   #12
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Quote:
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On a sailboat over.... maybe 38 ft, it will reduce the value some when it comes time to sell though....
Bingo!

This is probably the single most important reason to have a second head. Sooner or later, SOMEONE has to sell the boat. This is the same thing I see in Real Estate (I'm an appraiser). It's called "functional obsolescence". And it will cost you pretty when you go to sell.

Also as noted above, if you don't have a separate shower elsewhere, set this one up so it can function as a shower full time, and as a head in a pinch. We happen to think that a separate shower is one of the most overlooked, important features on a boat. We therefore never have a need to take a shower ashore.
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Old 27-04-2009, 17:47   #13
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It a matter of taste of course. I can't see devoting so much space to a second head, hold tanks etc. I'd rather have a work shop or a wet locker or some sort of storage. How many times to two people NEED to use the head at the same time on a small yacht?
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Old 27-04-2009, 17:53   #14
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depends on the boat?

I lived for eight years on a 41-footer that had a second head that I converted to a sail locker. Didn't miss the head at all and really appreciated the storage space.

Now, on my 46-footer we have a second head that I've left alone because we have enough alternative space for sails, et cetera.
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Old 27-04-2009, 19:30   #15
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With us, a second head would just be wasted space. A lot of waisted usable space...
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