|MARINE TOILET INSTALLATION|
After two sailing seasons on our 1976 C&C 24, ASTARTE, we loved the boat dearly, but the smelly little porta-pottie had to go. We sail on an inland lake, usually overnights and the occasional four or five day cruise. We often raft up with other boats in favourite anchorages, so the bucket-in-the-cockpit alternative isn’t acceptable.
Careful measurement showed that the PAR model 29090 manual marine toilet with the compact-size bowl would fit perfectly in the space occupied by the porta-pottie, under the hinged cover. I was concerned that the fiberglass floor pan might not be strong enough to support the smaller foot print of the toilet, but I found it to be reinforced with ¾” plywood.
To access the space under the floor pan, in order to bolt the toilet down, I cut a hole in the aft liner of the settee locker. I plan to cover the hole with a six-inch screw-out deck plate. Using a 1” hole saw, I cut hole behind the toilet for a ¾” PVC water intake hose to run through the floor pan.
I considered two options for the water intake. There is sufficient room under the floor pan, directly under the toilet, to install a new thru-hull and seacock. The screw-out deck plate in the settee locker provides easy access to this area. This would be the simplest and neatest solution but I was reluctant to cut a hole in the hull if it could be avoided.
The alternative was to run the water intake hose athwartships under the liner to the starboard thru-hull for the galley sink drain. After cutting another 1” hole in the liner under the galley, it was easy to snake the hose through the moulded lip, which holds the cooler in place. I tried putting a tee on top of the existing seacock , but this placed the intake hose above the waterline and the toilet sucked air down through the sink drain. I removed the seacock and fastened the tee directly to the thru-hull, attached the original seacock on top of the tee for the sink drain and installed a new ball valve on the horizontal leg for the toilet hose. This allowed the intake to be a couple of inches below the waterline, which seems to work fine unless the boat is heeled to port. However, it is unusual for anyone to be using the head on a steeply-heeling 24-foot boat.
Installing a suitable holding tank threatened to be the most difficult part of the project, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy. On a C&C 24, there is a surprisingly large space under the port cockpit seat that is difficult to access and largely unusable. The Holland Marine catalogue lists a 16-gallon vertical tank that is curved on one side to fit against the hull. This tank easily dropped down through the starboard locker, slid under the cockpit and fit perfectly up against the hull and the plywood bulkhead. The top of the tank and the hose fittings extend up inside the cockpit combing. I epoxied a couple of wooden cleats to the hull to support the tank and used a nylon ratchet strap to hold it in place.
I cut a hole at the top of the plywood bulkhead, just under the deck to run the 1 ½” PVC hose to the pumpout deck fitting. This hose fits snugly up under the deckhead and runs in an easy curve from the deck fitting through the plywood bulkhead to the tank. Running the hose from the toilet to the tank and making the connections in the tight space under the cockpit was a bit of a challenge because the PVC hose is stiff and uncooperative. I cut a hole in the bulkhead for this hose, fairly high up under the deck as well, to get the hose to run in a smooth curve, up from the toilet and then down into the tank. This hose is visible behind the toilet, but because it is white, it isn’t very obtrusive and is not visible at all with the folding cover down. I was able to use the existing vent fitting by tucking plastic tubing up over the rim of the ceiling liner, over the top of the plywood bulkhead and fastening it in place with a couple of tie-wraps
The 16-gallon holding tank is more than adequate for a boat this size and we don’t miss the nasty-smelling porta pottie one bit. The project took a bit of time to puzzle everything out, but generally was easy and straightforward. Squeezing down through the cockpit locker, slithering under the cockpit floor and trying to wrestle with the tank in the remaining space wasn’t that much fun after the twelfth time, but there has to be some challenge.
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