This is one of those subjects that I'm not sure I should post about, due to some people's sensitivities, but what the heck, it's a useful tip for women sailors on long cruises. It all came about through an extended offshore cruise
(6 months) on a catamaran
heads and three women on board. Electric
heads are great, but maintenance
through wear and tear is frequent -and not much fun.
The vast majority of flushes are just for pee, it's fine for guys, they often just go over the side, but even that's sometimes fraught with danger
in heavy seas.
Prompted by one of the girls stating they wish they could do that easily we developed the 'pee tube' concept
Simple, just a small funnel (heated in boiling water
and squashed so the top is oblong, much longer than wide - for fit- see below) and enough plastic tube to lead either to the scuppers, or anywhere overboard
in a straight run. It can be fixed permanently, or just got out when needed, we set ours up permanenety, without the funnel on.
A small digression on hygiene first to correct some misconceptions - urine is basically sterile, and usually contains far less bacteria than the water
in your water tanks
, and definitely far less than your dishcloth!
OK the frank bit
For women to use the pee tube is simple, and can easily be done very discretely wearing a swimming costume, even a skirt or shorts with wide legs. Using with jeans etc only needs the front ondone and loosened - not taken down. Just stand feet slightly apart, pull aside your knickers at the front only, and place the funnel against you in the right place and go. A small piece of tissue can be used to wipe, and then overboard
as it's quite biodegradable. or just a drip wipe against the funnel edge -remember it's sterile. Then a little sea water down the funnel and its ready to go again.
Advantages? Simple, quick and easy. Ideal, and safer, for solo women sailors, or when you're on night watch to avoid having to go below - usually at the most inconvenient times. Saves a lot of wear and tear on head
pumps..i.e. on our boat
3 women 3 times a day for 6 months - 1620 flushes saved on the pump
It's also safer for guys to use than just going over the side - I'm told more than few MOB
have their flies open!
The practicalities of use in reality? One of the girls on board preferred it so much from an ease and convenience point of view, she'd even use it in port - in full view from the waist up (high cockpit
sides) without anyone noticing. Even n the cockpit
you can'r see anything from behind, just a girl standing against the cockpit side.
Simple, discrete, and safe.
BTW the ideal funnel has a top about 3" across, and can easily be heated and bent to be abut an inch wide. Cut the tip off at the point the inside diameter is about 1/3rd of an ich to ensure enough flow. The connecting tube should ideally go straight down and be relatively short, on our boat
we had a cockpit drain that was perfect - about 6" from the cockpit side.
I'm sure some women will be horrified at the thought of a pee tube, but those who actually do cruise offshore
for extended periods will understand how useful it can be.