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Old 18-10-2015, 15:12   #1
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Designing a new head

I plan to install a new head at the base of the companionway ladder. I would appreciate comments on my design ideas, issues you foresee, etc.

Here's the plan:



I'll comment on the shower stall (green area) below. When the shower is not in use, the green area is open, with 6'4" headroom.The vanity has the faucet at the side. This provides easier access to the behind-the-mirror cabinet (not shown). The vanity and toilet are outboard of the coach roof, and the headroom above the center of the sink and the center of the toilet is probably less than 5'. But that doesn't matter, because the area where you stand has 6'4" headroom.

The shower stall has fixed walls, behind the green panels marked A and B. There is a fixed fiberglass shower tray that I will fabricate to fit around the bottom of the entire head compartment (except for the vanity). It will have a drain leading to a gray water tank immediately below.

The green panels marked A and B will be made from frosted Acrylic (or similar) panels. When the shower is not in use, they will be positioned as shown by the solid green lines in the drawing. Each panel has a piano hinge. Panel A is hinged at the corner closest to the vanity, and B is hinged at the forward port corner. To use the shower, you pull panel A out in front of the vanity and clip it. Then you pull panel B out. It slides into a clip fastened to the back of panel A. Here's a detail showing this:


This creates a waterproof shower enclosure about 26" square (inside dimensions). When not in use, the panels swing back against the aft and inboard bulkheads. Panel B could have a towel ring glued on its outside face; the towel would stay dry during a shower.

Panel B might have to be split vertically in the middle, with a piano hinge. Otherwise, it might be impossible to open that panel while standing inside the shower (unless you're built like Twiggy). The hinge would solve that.

The drawback of all this is that the shower becomes a rigid enclosure 26" square. That's about 6" smaller each way than a typical residential shower stall. Even at this size, however, I think there will be enough room to bend down and pick up the soap if it falls. I'll have to verify this with a full-size mock-up, of course.

I have never seen this design, and I'm curious to hear what others think of it. The good news is that if the whole thing is just too nutty, I can simply remove the two panels and install a shower curtain. But I hate those pull-around sailboat shower curtains.
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Old 18-10-2015, 21:23   #2
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Re: Designing a new head

I've used commercially build hinged-door showers. They tend to leak at the bottom. Keeping them clean requires drying them after use, this will be true of your acrylic, as well. Your design does not provide for bath and hand towel or wash cloth.

I'd suggest having the larger member of the crew trying the mockup. I think you'll find it quite crowded.

Sorry to not be terribly encouraging.

Ann
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Old 18-10-2015, 22:36   #3
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Re: Designing a new head

Thanks for the comments, Ann. I plan to use a squeegee for drying the doors, just like my shower at home. As for the leaks, I wasn't clear on the design. The shower tray (the thing you stand on) will be depressed about two inches relative to the rest of the floor. The doors will swing inside that recessed area, so that any water that drips off them (or down or through the hinge) will drip into the tray, and thence down the drain, not out into the rest of the head. I'm not expecting bone dry -- just a lot less loose spray than with a curtain.

There will be a towel bar or towel rings on door A, so that when the shower is not in use, they will be immediately to your right as you face the sink and mirror. When the door is in "shower" position, the towels will face the sink and stay dry. I could also put a towel ring on the forward bulkhead, above the toilet.

Panel A will not go all the way to the deckhead. It will be about 6 inches shorter, to allow room for the clip for the handheld shower thingie, and for a small soap rack. With the shower pointing mostly downward, the shortened door should still keep the water away from the sink area.

The size issue is a concern, of course. But I am the largest person in the family, so if it works for me, it will work for the others.

As I mentioned, my fallback position will be to simply remove the doors and install a shower curtain, if all else fails.
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Old 19-10-2015, 00:34   #4
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Re: Designing a new head

Here is a great cure for the problem of dropping the soap in a small shower enclosure like you are designing http://www.amazon.com/Caswell-Massey.../dp/B000HP01UM
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Old 19-10-2015, 02:32   #5
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Re: Designing a new head

A stall of that size will require all of your crew to be 150lbs & under, otherwise they'll have little chance of fitting... and even then, things will be Very tight.
Take a tape measure to the shoulders of a 6', 220lb guy, & you'll quickly see what I mean.

Also, it's MUCH easier to use the head when sailing, if they're oriented for & aft. Otherwise, gravity is either trying to launch you off of the bowl, or on the opposite tack, it's dang near impossible to stand up.
That, & on both tacks, when mounted athwartships, like that, any & all liquids in the bowl will attempt to creep up the bowl's sides & onto you/your backside (SIC). Plus it's a Lot more difficult to stay seated on a head oriented thusly, just due to gravity. Let alone if you're going upwind, & are being subject to sliding/slamming up & down waves.

Sadly, such is a shortcoming found on even pricey, & supposedly, well designed & or expensive vessels. It's a consequence of the $ counters @ the manufacturer demanding that as much boat as possible be stuffed into a particular hull. Common sense be damned.
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:47   #6
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Re: Designing a new head

Why try to enclose the shower at all? Surely a little water and even soap won't harm the vanity or the head? Yes, you have to figure out a way to keep TP and towels dry, but there are lots of options for that.

I also agree 100% with the comment that heads on sailboats should be oriented fore/aft rather than athwartships.
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:26   #7
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Re: Designing a new head

Awwww -- and it has a sailboat on the tin. Perfect! :-)
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:31   #8
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Re: Designing a new head

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeighWebber View Post
Awwww -- and it has a sailboat on the tin. Perfect! :-)
Yep had to search close to 50 pictures of them to find one that was nautical oriented.
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:33   #9
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Re: Designing a new head

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeighWebber View Post
The drawback of all this is that the shower becomes a rigid enclosure 26" square. That's about 6" smaller each way than a typical residential shower stall. Even at this size, however, I think there will be enough room to bend down and pick up the soap if it falls. I'll have to verify this with a full-size mock-up, of course.
We are in the process of deciding on shower sizes, so I was equipped with a tape measure last time we stayed in hotel rooms. Sizes varied dramatically between the four locations, so it was a good test.

The smallest was exactly what you are proposing (65x65 cm = 26x26"). The verdict was a resounding "impossibly small", even for me, let alone my 6'1" husband. There was simply not enough room to lift both arms up to shampoo hair.

Next up was 77x77 cm = 30x30". "Very cramped" was the notation. The design was similar to yours except both doors hinged vertically to allow you to get in and close the doors behind. It was impossible to keep the water from splashing on the hinged junctions and water puddled on the floor beyond. A bad design. You don't want to be on your hands and knees in a small space moping up the floor after a shower. If you decide to go this route, at least make the entire floor watertight and draining.

The size need not be square for comfort: 74x97 cm = 29x38" at the next hotel was deemed OK.

The largest by the way was 86x166 cm = 34x65" and this was WAY more than necessary.

Hope that helps.

SWL
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Old 19-10-2015, 17:23   #10
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Re: Designing a new head

Golly. I have never seen a shower on a sailboat as big as even 30 x 30. Most are postage-stamp sized areas in the head compartment where you stand, run a shower curtain around yourself, then shower. You must be cruising on some really large yachts!

Do you have enough room on your own sailboat for a 32 x 32 or larger shower stall?


As for the leaking, I tried to explain this earlier. Imagine you're standing in the shower area of the head. Look down at your feet. Omigosh -- you're standing in a square pit about 2" deep! In the center of this square (normally called the "shower tray") there's a shower drain. If you poured a glass of water straight down, it would land in the tray and go down the drain. Now take a rectangular piece of plastic about 2' wide and 3 or 4' tall, and hold it vertically up against one edge of the tray, so that the bottom of the plastic rectangle is *inside* the tray, and resting on its bottom. Now pour a glass of water against the inside of the plastic rectangle. Look! It slides down the rectangle, into the tray, and out the drain. Now splash a little water on the *outside* of the plastic rectangle. It slithers down the plastic, and lands on the .... IN the tray, because the plastic rectangle is tucked inside the tray. the water continues under the rectangle, and down the drain. The only way to get water on the floor outside of the tray would be to pour the glass (or spray a shower nozzle) clear outside the whole thing, so that it strikes the floor or a non-shower wall. My two swing-out panels will be like this plastic rectangle, only 6' tall. The bottoms of the panels are *inside* the tray, so anything that seeps through the hinge will dribble down the outside of the panel, into the tray, and down the drain.


Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the entire floor of the head compartment -- every inch of it -- will be molded out of fiberglass. You will be able to take a pail of hot sudsy water and pour it right on top of the closed toilet, and all around the outside of it. The water sloshes down onto the solid fiberglass floor, and drains into -- yup -- the shower tray, then down the drain. This makes it really easy to clean the males' "misses". This is a fairly common design feature in newer boats. The vanity and non-shower bulkhead (and outer door) will be made of teak or mahogany (haven't decided), with many coats of varnish.
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Old 19-10-2015, 17:39   #11
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Re: Designing a new head

I would just go with a pull around shower curtain. Rigid Plastic is not very stiff and vibrates, rattles and flexes readily. Also, it's heavy so have some real stout hinges. Just my .02 worth.
After you shower, when you fold the doors back, they entrap the moisture on them and may mildew in that tight space readily.
Smart of you to ask around on this stuff. I've found many times things that look good on the sketchboard are impossibly different down at the boat.
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Old 19-10-2015, 18:20   #12
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Re: Designing a new head

Hmmm. You're probably right about the perpetual damp behind the doors.

OK -- so forget the doors. The bulkheads on those sides could be made from solid FG panels, sealed down the corner. This would mean the shower curtain would only have to cover the vanity and the compartment door. Not so bad.
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Old 19-10-2015, 21:49   #13
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Re: Designing a new head

Leigh,

You might spend some time thinking about using the toilet in a bouncy sea-way. Mostly, this is addressed by the addition of hand holds, so you can use your arms to keep you on the pot whilst on the unfavorable tack.

You might also consider pinching up to take some of the heel angle off the boat for the one using the toilet.

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Old 20-10-2015, 07:04   #14
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Re: Designing a new head

Handholds -- great idea! And I'm trying to think of a way to get the toilet facing fore and aft. the problem is that the compartment has full headroom only from about the edge of the vanity inboard. You don't need headroom directly above the toilet, but you do need it in front of it so that you can stand up. That would mean putting it where the shower is drawn. But then where do I put the shower? I might be able to angle the toilet about 45 degrees. Would that help?
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Old 20-10-2015, 07:31   #15
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Re: Designing a new head

Here's an attempt. The purple line is the edge of the coach roof. Inboard of that there's 6'4" headroom. Outboard, maybe 4' 6". The shower area would be the open space in front of the vanity.

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