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Old 03-09-2020, 07:17   #1
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simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

There probably are a lot of threads on the various composting systems out there.... There is little more unpleasant to deal with than holding tanks and associated plumbing, and with that in mind I'm a fan of the composting head. Also the more plumbing you have, the more problems you have.... It's really that simple.



In looking at setting up a cat for ocean voyaging, it makes sense to me...probably not to you, to have essentially no plumbing. Not even foot pumped water. Basically gravity fed water from individual containers with spigots, which may be filled from water tanks or containers stowed in the bilges. Shower would be a simple solar shower, and of course the composting head.

Needless to say I'm a minimalist.... I'd like to eliminate all unnecessary systems, as I see most systems as things to have to repair. That extends to electrical systems, tiller versus wheel, etc. I consider refrigeration a non negotiable for voyaging... a system I'm willing to live with, but I would reduce it to a freezer that does not operate on a thermostat, but on availability of power, and produces ice for refrigeration as well as freezing a few things that need to be frozen. I also see a watermaker as a non negotiable system in today's world where water can be expensive and often questionable. It also doesn't make sense to use local water in places where there is a shortage of potable water. Clean safe potable water anywhere. It also eliminates the chore of hauling water, and the stress of a declining water supply on a long passage. Propulsion systems come down to what sacrifices I'm willing to make.... I really don't want through hulls for cooling and a shaft extending out the stern, and a prop always in the water creating drag, or the complexity of a folding prop...but I like and trust diesels... I've worked on diesels of all sorts for most of my adult life. I'm not a fan out outboards, but they offer many advantages...including the things I mentioned above... They come out of the water when not in use, require no through hulls, and are easily lifted on deck for service. They will consume more fuel, but gasoline is universally available, though it's much more of a fire risk. As this is a SAIL boat, the nod goes to outboard(s). It just makes sense.

One item that I have never seen mentioned before is "direct deposit" on a catamaran. Bucket and Chuckit is often mentioned as a solution for a head when at sea, but with a bridge deck well above water, a direct deposit, like an old time one holer outhouse just makes sense to me. A discrete location that is also convenient is the only issue. To me it's a no brainer, and especially so because most MOB situations are caused by pissing over the side. I'd be interested in seeing or hearing about successful examples of this..........That they are never mentioned does not mean that they don't exist....I doubt that I've ever had a truly "original" idea that nobody else has ever thought of or tried.
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Old 03-09-2020, 07:42   #2
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

"There probably are a lot of threads on the various composting systems out there.... There is little more unpleasant to deal with than holding tanks and associated plumbing, and with that in mind I'm a fan of the composting head. Also the more plumbing you have, the more problems you have.... It's really that simple."


The problem is, you are arguing from a false premise, or at least bad experiences.


I've had full plumbing and never had any problems. No adding coir. No hauling pee ashore. No flies. No odor. Just the occasional pump out, which if done correctly, is clean as can be. Just like home, and my guests like it that way.



IMO and my experience, problems only result from bad design or bad operation, not plumbing vs. not.


I would composting in a situation where pump outs were unavailable. Different situation.


---


Re. direct deposit on multis, a flap in the tramp is pretty simple. Many variations.
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Old 03-09-2020, 07:45   #3
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

I hope you will forgive me if this sounds pompous, but how much sailing experience are you making these observations based upon?

Many of the things your talking about eliminating or doing without are tried and true simple systems.
I personally would never go cruising without my salt water on a pressurized system and a foot pump for my fresh. This allows unlimited use of an unlimited resource (astonishingly convenient really- running water is) and naturally limits the use of a finite resource. Gravity fed systems are a PITA.
Also, I do not understand why you would have a high pressure water maker, but not a galley pump at the sink? In comparison the foot pump is incredibly simple.

We have a composting head and like it. Its not perfect, but better than a holding tank.

Do not forget that 90% of your time is spent at anchor. A direct deposit hole would not be very friendly to your neighbors to use.
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Old 03-09-2020, 07:53   #4
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

These young folks used the direct deposit method.

https://wavetrain.net/2013/11/22/hol...ng-movie-ever/

If I keep my present boat, a Natures Head Composting toilet may be my next $1,000 purchase for my $2,000 boat.

But if I'm offshore I'll use a bucket also.
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Old 03-09-2020, 07:57   #5
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenBowSirocco View Post
I hope you will forgive me if this sounds pompous, but how much sailing experience are you making these observations based upon?

Many of the things your talking about eliminating or doing without are tried and true simple systems.
I personally would never go cruising without my salt water on a pressurized system and a foot pump for my fresh. This allows unlimited use of an unlimited resource (astonishingly convenient really- running water is) and naturally limits the use of a finite resource. Gravity fed systems are a PITA.
Also, I do not understand why you would have a high pressure water maker, but not a galley pump at the sink? In comparison the foot pump is incredibly simple.

We have a composting head and like it. Its not perfect, but better than a holding tank.

Do not forget that 90% of your time is spent at anchor. A direct deposit hole would not be very friendly to your neighbors to use.
I don't have a pressurized salt water system but do have a bucket with a rope/line attached to it.

You can get a workout while washing the mud off the foredeck from your anchor and chain.

I must have used 30 buckets full recently while I sailed away from the anchorage.......on autopilot just to finally get rid of that black "marsh mud."
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Old 03-09-2020, 08:53   #6
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

my Newick try has a Spronk head ie a hole in the aka.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:04   #7
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

Agree on the simplicity of composting toilets. And the storage space opened up by removing the holding tank.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:31   #8
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

First thought is about the 90% of your time will be spent at anchor. Gotta say 90% seems a little low to me; I would go with 98%+. Not to mention the occasional marina slip or mooring ball. In some places the duly accredited representatives of bourgeois legality have the power to board your boat and inspect it to insure your waste disposal systems conform to their rules; sometimes as a result of a neighbor not being happy with your direct deposit.

I can remember sailing on my Dad's boat back in the 1950s. It had no holding tank, just a pipe to a through hull and straight overboard. That is no longer allowed in many places; in great part due to the massive increase in boats on the water.

My cat has a composting head and outboards. This means no shaft, struts, props, or zincs; along with no through hulls. I always wondered why anyone would allow someone to drill holes in their boat below the water line. Last haulout I got an estimate of repowering two 9.9 Yamahas for $US6,000; I have seen diesel replacement estimates of ten times that much. The outboards could be replaced in an afternoon, inboards more like a week, or even longer.

One nice thing about my cat is that when I raise the anchor I just allow the shank to break the surface of the water and then sail for five or ten minutes resulting in all the mud, gunk, weeds, and other stuff washing off. Then once I have adjusted the sheets and traveler so the boat is tracking like a freight train I go forward and pull the anchor up on the roller.

Have to say I have replaced the accumulator and the water pump once over eight years. Lucky for me both are in an anchor locker that is big enough for me to lie down in once the chain and rode are on the deck.

Bottom line is if a boat is designed from the ground up to be simple things are a lot easier to maintain.

As an aside I always am amused to those who say conventional heads and holding tanks always work just fine unless there is user error. Not only are conventional heads and holding tanks far from fool proof; they are making better fools every day.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:31   #9
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

And the Simpson tri Amakama (dunno where she is now) also has a Spronk head. i assume that M Spronk agrees with you!

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my Newick try has a Spronk head ie a hole in the aka.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:32   #10
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

This is the “Spronk” head on the Crowther Spindrift Zingaro. Conveniently located inside a cockpit locker.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:37   #11
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

Another +1 for your choice of a composting head. One of the best upgrades I've made to our boat.

As for direct discharge, I'm sure it would be pretty easy to rig on your boat. The problem you'll face is, what do you do in enclosed waters where flow and volume are limited? It would preclude you from being in many smaller anchorages, and pretty much any marina.

I generally agree with your minimalist approach, but like BenBowSirocco, I'm a bit confused by your contrast between some simple systems and your "non negotiables". Compared to refrigeration and a watermaker, manual water pumps barely make the complexity grade.

Anyway, I like your general thinking. Perhaps you need a bit more experience before knowing what the best answers for you are.
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:05   #12
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

You said that you don’t want any plumbing on the boat, then how are you gonna fill the containers for gravity feed? And if you are going to have plumbing and pumps to fill those containers why not a simple foot pump?
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:56   #13
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

Get the Pardey books. Lots of practical info on minimalistic cruising.
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Old 03-09-2020, 11:30   #14
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

Back in the 1990/early 2000's I was production manager of a boat building company, building large (50 to 80ft) trawler yachts.

We offered an option of a urinal in the Portuguese bridge, an outside sort of wall forward of the pilot house. Made of Stainless steel sheet material and plumbed to the holding tank, the urinal turned out to be fairly popular with male crew.
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Old 03-09-2020, 11:42   #15
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Re: simplified plumbing, Composting and "direct deposit"

Quote:
Originally Posted by owly View Post
There probably are a lot of threads on the various composting systems out there.... There is little more unpleasant to deal with than holding tanks and associated plumbing, and with that in mind I'm a fan of the composting head. Also the more plumbing you have, the more problems you have.... It's really that simple.



In looking at setting up a cat for ocean voyaging, it makes sense to me...probably not to you, to have essentially no plumbing. Not even foot pumped water. Basically gravity fed water from individual containers with spigots, which may be filled from water tanks or containers stowed in the bilges. Shower would be a simple solar shower, and of course the composting head.

Needless to say I'm a minimalist.... I'd like to eliminate all unnecessary systems, as I see most systems as things to have to repair. That extends to electrical systems, tiller versus wheel, etc. I consider refrigeration a non negotiable for voyaging... a system I'm willing to live with, but I would reduce it to a freezer that does not operate on a thermostat, but on availability of power, and produces ice for refrigeration as well as freezing a few things that need to be frozen. I also see a watermaker as a non negotiable system in today's world where water can be expensive and often questionable. It also doesn't make sense to use local water in places where there is a shortage of potable water. Clean safe potable water anywhere. It also eliminates the chore of hauling water, and the stress of a declining water supply on a long passage. Propulsion systems come down to what sacrifices I'm willing to make.... I really don't want through hulls for cooling and a shaft extending out the stern, and a prop always in the water creating drag, or the complexity of a folding prop...but I like and trust diesels... I've worked on diesels of all sorts for most of my adult life. I'm not a fan out outboards, but they offer many advantages...including the things I mentioned above... They come out of the water when not in use, require no through hulls, and are easily lifted on deck for service. They will consume more fuel, but gasoline is universally available, though it's much more of a fire risk. As this is a SAIL boat, the nod goes to outboard(s). It just makes sense.

One item that I have never seen mentioned before is "direct deposit" on a catamaran. Bucket and Chuckit is often mentioned as a solution for a head when at sea, but with a bridge deck well above water, a direct deposit, like an old time one holer outhouse just makes sense to me. A discrete location that is also convenient is the only issue. To me it's a no brainer, and especially so because most MOB situations are caused by pissing over the side. I'd be interested in seeing or hearing about successful examples of this..........That they are never mentioned does not mean that they don't exist....I doubt that I've ever had a truly "original" idea that nobody else has ever thought of or tried.
Aside from the impracticality of your Bucket and Chuckit idea (won't be appreciated in anchorages and impossible in marinas) the main issue I have with your "minimalist" approach is that it creates a difficult lifestyle, one which many people would soon tire of.

When we were putting together our boat for living aboard and cruising we wanted to create a lifestyle which we would enjoy for many years. We felt that too many hardships would grow old after a while and we would stop sailing and probably decide to give up the liveaboard and cruising life all together.

So we made our boat, as much as possible, as convenient as a condo ashore: Running water, running hot water, shower, flush toilet, heat, air conditioning, Internet, good galley with stove and oven, comfortable seating and intimate lighting, workshop, desk, comfortable beds, good music, and a lot more. We also, and this was challenging, retained all of the sailing capability of our vessel, and made it easy and convenient to get out of the slip and go sailing. We tried to the utmost to make sure it was as convenient living on it at sea or at anchor as it was in a marina berth, so as never to have an excuse to avoid going out.

Yes, this meant some complexity, and as hard as we tried to keep things simple, we have a lot of systems to keep running. Repairs and maintenance are an unavoidable fact of life, and yes, at times I wish I didn't have to fix something every day. But I accept it to have the wonderful water based life which we have.

It must have worked, we have lived on and sailed our boat for 34 years and we still love it, despite the time and money we spend on repairs.

There are a few "minimalists" who pass through here, and some who stop for a while. We observe them gradually giving up that life, it is just too hard to sustain. A person can only enjoy camping out for so much time, then the fun wears off and they pine for a normal life. You can pick and choose what you can deal with and what is too primitive but if you make it too hard, you might, like a lot of people, drift back to the conveniences of life ashore and you'll be talking about your "minimalist" sailing life only in past tense.
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