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Old 22-06-2015, 01:59   #1
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Re purposing a head

Hi All,

Currently looking for the boat that will take the family for our circumnavigation and having a rather large clutch (3 kids) combined with a modest budget, we are considering some ex-charter boats in the 50ft range. Understandably for the charter trade, many of these are designed with as many heads as there are cabins which seems like a real waste of precious space on a family boat for which I really can't come up with too many imagined scenarios where more than 1 head could be required.

Without having had the opportunity to thoroughly investigate how the typical production boat is put together, I have to wonder how difficult it would be to re-purpose a head as say... a laundry and another as a pantry. Looking at photos, it seems the heads in production boats are generally molded? Has anyone out there attempted what I am suggesting or alternatively investigated the option thoroughly and rightfully decided it was madness?

Cheers.
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Old 22-06-2015, 03:49   #2
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Re: Re purposing a head

Hi there,

I have seen heads re-purposed as dry storage for clothes; for scuba gear and other wet stuff, so it can be done. The problem is that as the teen years approach, two heads might be a good deal for you guys. Maybe not, depends on how malleable everyone is.

If you keep thinking 5 years ahead, you'll probably make out okay. Certainly having only two heads to maintain is better than 3. We have a pantry on this boat, plus hanging locker, that are where an aft head might have been. I love my pantry and hanging locker.

On edit: we have but one head. When we were 6 with guests, if someone had had the flu, it could have been ugly. I think that for 5, it is wise to have 2 heads, just for a backup, if nothing else. Imagine everyone being seasick, for instance, for with flu. Fortunately, not common.

Ann
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Old 22-06-2015, 03:57   #3
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Re: Re purposing a head

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
The problem is that as the teen years approach, two heads might be a good deal for you guys.
Fully agree. I am going to look at a Beneteau 510 tomorrow. 4 cabins, 4 heads.... I think 2 of those could be put to smarter use.
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Old 22-06-2015, 18:47   #4
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Re: Re purposing a head

I would keep two, and convert the other two into bulk storage. Sails, food, water jugs, clothes, heck even a washer/dryer combo unit. In Trinidad we converted our washer/dryer stack to a tool cabinate... It really depends on what you need. But I agree with you that 4 heads and 4 staterooms is a little much.
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Old 23-06-2015, 09:31   #5
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Re: Re purposing a head

You can always leave the plumbing intact on any re-purposed head in case you need to re-commission it in the future. (e.g., for charter or re-sale...)
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Old 23-06-2015, 16:33   #6
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Re: Re purposing a head

I would second the recommendation for two heads. 5 is a lot for one, and then if that one breaks (which it will) then you are really up sh__ creek.

Also, a washing machine sounds funny, but I (and other friends) have found it to be oe of the best pieces of equipment on board. ot having to chase laudromats when you hit shore, end up wit someone else's underwear, etc. is worth a lot. Not easy on the water and electricity demands but with the good solar these days much less of an issue.

A dryer on the otherhand is another story. Don't know about today's units but in the past the combo units with 110V drying were pretty much useless for drying anything. When our Combi washer/dryer died we replaced it with portable top loader for under $300 that we are very happy with.
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Old 24-06-2015, 08:40   #7
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Re: Re purposing a head

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Originally Posted by Moontide View Post
I would second the recommendation for two heads. 5 is a lot for one, and then if that one breaks (which it will) then you are really up sh__ creek.

Also, a washing machine sounds funny, but I (and other friends) have found it to be oe of the best pieces of equipment on board. ot having to chase laudromats when you hit shore, end up wit someone else's underwear, etc. is worth a lot. Not easy on the water and electricity demands but with the good solar these days much less of an issue.

A dryer on the otherhand is another story. Don't know about today's units but in the past the combo units with 110V drying were pretty much useless for drying anything. When our Combi washer/dryer died we replaced it with portable top loader for under $300 that we are very happy with.
Hi Moontide,

We second the endorsement for having a clothes washer on board.

I've had combi machines on a couple of boats. If you want a dryer that works, you need to buy a "vented" unit (vs. "non-vented"...) Vented uses a 4in duct like your home dryer in the states. The non-vented tries to use the same 1in hose the unit discharges it's drain water through... not enough flow for a dryer...

Cheers!
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Old 24-06-2015, 11:51   #8
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Re: Re purposing a head

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Originally Posted by pwillems View Post
Fully agree. I am going to look at a Beneteau 510 tomorrow. 4 cabins, 4 heads.... I think 2 of those could be put to smarter use.
I have a 510, but the owners version with a centerline full size berth forward. I have no need for three heads (plus the one in the crews quarters) and would like to put a washer/dryer in the port aft head. Unfortunately the doorway is only 16" wide, and I have no desire to cut the bulkhead to fit a washer/dryer. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to taking the combo unit apart to fit it through if I knew it was a possibility. Anyways, it might not fit between the sink and bulkhead, where the head sits currently. If you find something that works, please share!


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Old 25-06-2015, 02:41   #9
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Re: Re purposing a head

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Originally Posted by CaptNemoO2 View Post
I have a 510
That's interesting. Have you had a bit of a look at how it's all put together? My original question was in fact more around what it would take to gut and remove a complete head compartment. Not just remove the toilet, I was thinking more like refitting the whole thing by removing the toilet, sink, all plumbing and maybe even ripping out the fiberglass walls to build a custom space instead with room for a washer/dryer at the bottom and maybe shelves above it to make a nice big linen closet.

Could be possible if Beneteau designed the heads as kind of drop in modules. Would probably be impossible however if the head compartments are molded into the boat and form part of the structure.

As for the 16" restriction... have you considered something like this?

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Daewoo-El...-/181396337564
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Old 25-06-2015, 15:55   #10
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Re: Re purposing a head

The heads are molded drop in liners, but that's the only places on the boat. The floor, walls, sink, and the platform the toilet sits on are all one piece. If you like a challenge, I guess you can gut the whole thing and start from scratch in there. The bulkheads are double layered (the liner plus wood), so you would still have wood walls closing in the head.

However...

There is always the crews quarters. I actually have two manuals that came with my boat. One is for another 510 that had a genset and washer/dryer from the factory. According to that manual, in place of the sink in the crews quarters is the washer/dryer combo. To cut the sink out would not be major surgery, and you would only lose a head that will most likely never be used. You would however might need to run a power cable up there. Cold water (no hot ) and drains will already be there. You could vent to the anchor locker so you don't see a huge vent on the side of the boat. Or buy you could get a ventless kit which condenses the water out of the vented air and brings it to a drain. You could even plumb it to the holding tank if you want to hold the gray water. Each head has its own 15 gallon tank, at least thats how it is on mine. The hatch access to that room should be 24 inches so the w/d should just fit. You might need some butter though! The only downside with this plan for me is ease of access. I don't need three heads, it's only me as of right now, no wife or kids, so I would rather it be convenient.

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