Friday, March 20, 2015

Power Wash.....

Nothing like a power wash to brighten the deck up.

Marina dock work required a move to a new slip.  This is the first clean view of the Bow Sprit, Hard Top and Arch.   She is a little down by the head as the aft storage is empty.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Refrigeration, moving onwards......

The refrigeration project had been stalled for a number of reasons, not least of which was the search for suitable insulation.  Despite all the talk about vacuum panels, exotic materials etc., extruded polystyrene foam plastic insulation seems to fit the DIY boaters bill.  Its cheap, easy to work with and long lasting.  Please note the difference between extruded (XPS foam), and expanded (EPS foam). 

I finally found a local (L&W Supply, Miami) source for the slightly stronger version of XPS than is normally available in Home Depot.  Its the FOAMULAR® 250 Rigid Foam Insulation, 25psi.

As stated previously I had planned to decrease the size of the fridge and freezer considerably. Dura-Weld in Florida had made me liners of High Density Polyethylene that fitted through the existing openings into the fridge/freezer compartments.


I lined each compartment with XPS.

Filled in some gaps with low expansion spray foam, taking care to support the sides.

The next fun was bending the evaporator plate.  There is a lot of info on how to do this on the web, so I won't repeat it here.

Except to remind you to heat the paint to prevent cracking.

And get clever friends to help.

This will be a spill over system and one of the critical elements of this system is to have a minimum of R10 between the two compartments, I believe that I have R16 to 18.

My fridge is 2.66 cu ft and the freezer 2.5 cu ft.

The installation of the evap plate and compressor will wait until I haul TIH and install the keel cooler.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Composting marine head, revisited.....

NOTE:  If you find the following post too descriptive I'm not sure you will enjoy long term sailboat life.

Its hard to believe that it was over 6 years since I first mentioned the idea of installing a composting marine head on TIH.  The idea was rapidly knocked on the "head" by the boss.

Times have moved on, we now know a number of cruisers who have installed and love their composting heads.  Lynne has stated that she "might" be open to the idea.  Ok!  It helps that we have two heads on board, the forward one is a Lavac connected to a holding tank.

There are three main marine composting head manufacturers / suppliers (correct me if you know of more);

The Airhead

Nature's Head


The one that I am most interested in is the Airhead.  I like the overall design and was impressed when I met and spoke to the aptly named Geoffrey Trott.  Do your own research and pick the one that works for you.

 Firstly, let me clarify a few points for anyone unfamiliar with marine toilets and composting toilets.  

1.  Body Waste (Urine and feces) does not magically disappear after we use the toilet, despite what modern society would have us believe.  This fact becomes painfully obvious when on a boat.  If you poo on a boat someone will have to deal with it later.  If your boating experience consists of touching a lever with your foot, hearing a reassuring whoosh and seeing everything disappear then you are on a power boat.  This is the ubiquitous VacuFlush system, which just means that you have hoovered the shit down a series of pipes into an inaccessible place deep in the boat. It will sit there, feeling annoyed and plotting.  

2. It is illegal to dump untreated waste inside the three mile limit.  You can dump "treated waste", unless you are in a NO DISCHARGE ZONE. "Treated Waste" requires a Electro Scan or similar device.  No discharge zones are becoming more common and will continue to do so.

3.  Your boat will require a holding tank to hold the waste until it can be pumped out at a pump-out station,  pump-out boat or outside the three mile limit.  From my research most live-aboards have to pump the holding tank every 3 to 5 days.  This is  PITA.  I you secretly dump your holding tank into the bay / harbor at night eventually karma or the Marine police will catch up with you.

4.  Holding tanks require hoses and pumps.  These have to be changed out at various intervals.  I you choose to install the standard macerating 12v pump you can count on this being an annual event.  If your macerating pump has worked flawlessly for 6 years and you tell me, it will hear you and die. 

My point is that if you live on a boat you will have to get up close and personal with poo at some time, or pay someone else to do it.

Enter the composting marine toilet;

1.  The lower container is partially filled with moistened coconut fiber or peat moss.  This is sealed off with a trap door.  You can either poo directly through the open trap door or onto a paper coffee filter with the trap door closed.  Opening the door then allows the coffee filter and its contents to drop through.

2.  Because of the limited time the poo stays in the toilet in does NOT actually compost.  It is simply mixed with the peat or coconut fiber.  Because urine is separated you are not dealing with the Porta Potty effect (i.e. a slurry of waste in a bucket).  I am reliably informed that the smell is minimal.

3.  Urine is diverted into a smaller forward tank which has to be dumped every three days.  On the Airhead (and possibly on others) there is a connection to pump this urine into a holding tank.

4.  A tiny computer type fan is constantly running and vents the head, via a hose, above deck. 

5.  Every 60 or so uses (said to be a month for a cruising couple)  you will have to;

     a.   Remove the top section of the contraption.

     b.   Empty the contents of the lower section into a plastic bag.

     c.   Dump the bag and its contents in a suitable site.

If you or someone else on board can't handle this then a composting marine head is not for you.

A few other minor issues; 

1.  I have heard that bug infestation can be an issue.  The vent hose has a screen.  Sometimes users have resorted to bug killing chemicals to control this.

2.  Dumping of the poo/fiber mix in a sealed plastic bag in a dumpster appears to be legal or at the very least a grey area.  It will be interesting to see how this evolves.  I'm sure the Diaper industry will have a major say in any attempt to regulate dumping and at the very least buy the appropriate politicians.

Long story short, the installation of a composing toilet on TIH is a POSSIBILITY.  To this affect I borrowed one (not use) from a friend and did a test install.  Much thanks to Karen from my neighboring Whitby 42 who acted as a model.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The death of the CQR....

If anyone is in doubt of the success of the new anchor designs you only have to look at the anchor section of your local consignment store.  CQR anchors are represented on about a 5:1 ratio to other anchors.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Its hard to top a Hard Top....

They don't always work, but I'm pretty happy with mine.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How many sailboats are capable of sounding correct "restricted visibility" signals?

Huh!  What signals?  Please don't me that, if sailing in fog, you will use your pissy little WM canned air foghorn, sounding one prolonged blast followed by two short blasts at intervals of not more that every 2 minutes, within an arms length of your ear.  That would get old fast.

Just to refresh your memory;

When I was narrowing down my search for a VHF radio my list of necessary features included the ability to sound AUTOMATIC fog signals.  This excluded a surprising number of low end and not so low end models.

Does your VHF have such a feature?   Is it connected to a hailer horn?   A hailer facility on the VHF is also useful for passing verbal information to other boaters and people on the dock.

I eventually decided on the Icom IC-M504, a recently discontinued model, that WM was selling off at a very good price.  Likewise I purchased 2  x COMMAND MIC ΙΙΙ™ that were heavily discounted.

I have decided against a "receive only" AIS for the reasons stated in a previous post.  If, however, Standard Horizon had gotten off their butt and produced a NMEA 2000 one I might have been tempted.

An interesting device I came across on my foghorn search is the FogMate Automated Horn Controller.  Check it out here;

Hamilton Marine  or Go2Marine

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Finish one bloody job.............

So much for my New Years resolution.  Due to the interconnected nature of boats its easy to flit from job to job and never actually "box" one element up.  I am definitely, absolutely going to finish the forward heads.  In between OPBs' (other peoples boats), and the occasional marine retail stint I have actually made some headway (no pun intended).  I did, however, manage a brief "flit" to complete the face panel of the Nav Desk and Install the Icom VHF;

The eagle eyed viewer will note that this panel is also not finished.