Almost finished with the bathroom

So a little roundup of what’s been happening lately. First off, the weather has been great and I really miss not sailing Satori even in the frigid waters of Puget Sound on a rainy fall day. I’ve decided to wait until I replace the muffler before taking her out again because of the amount of water and carbon that leaks from the exhaust system so that leaves me to focus on more live-aboard tasks like upgrading the entire bathroom. I pull all of the trim, stripped the paint and old wood stain, varnished and painted again with a little more to do. I also painted the countertop and removed the old faucet and pulled the sink to replace the drain system from thru-hull to drain fitting. Finally, the entire toilet and holding tank including all of the fittings and hoses have been replaced with all new components. I chose the Thedford Easy Fit Eco as my new head, bought a 10 gallon holding tank to replace the old 5-gallon tank and a new Whale MK-5 sanitary pump  so I can manually pump the holding tank when offshore. The main reason for the upgrade is because the old bathroom had some serious leakage and odor problems. I suspect the entire system was original from the 70’s and if I’m planning on living aboard for any amount of time with a crew then the bathroom will need to be able to handle plenty of use. Even the shower is getting an overhaul so I can either shower in the bathroom or later I can install plumbing in the cockpit so I can shower outside of the boat as well.

Minimally drilled holes for hoses and wiring for my new toilet
The new saltwater pump the new Thetford Easy Fit Eco  toilet
The new saltwater pump the new Thetford Easy Fit Eco toilet
Finally installed the toilet after a month of work
Finally installed the toilet after a month of work

The last couple of weeks I’ve been spending any free time preparing to install all new components and placed an order for everything (minus hoses, clamps, pipes, holding tank and toilet). While waiting for the delivery I worked diligently to get the toilet platform and cabinet refinished so I can install the toilet and not have to go back and finish the job later. I drilled new holes for the plumbing and electrical and varnished with only a final coat in the high-wear area of the floor left. On Friday the delivery arrived and right after work I began installing the toilet, holding tank and plumbing.

The new bronze water strainer for the head
The new bronze water strainer for the head
A massive saltwater strainer for the new head; fittings are 1".
A massive saltwater strainer for the new head; fittings are 1″.

Friday night I stayed up very late to make serious headway and ended up leaving Satori around 4am. Right when I was about to leave the marina I noticed a lot of emergency vehicles gathering at the boat launch parking lot. At first it seemed like a big fire and ambulance party because of the sheer number of vehicles. It seemed like all of the North Seattle departments had congregated there only to later realize there was an actual emergency. Apparently some folks were out sailing during the middle of the night and someone  fell overboard. Another person went into the water to retrieve the other person and both people were unable to get out of the water. Three more on board were not able to pull either persons aboard either. Later the event turned out to be all over the news.

For the vent hose from the holding tank I decided to experiment with a loop that runs from the tank to a carbon filter and then up to the deck level with a loop and then out the thru-hull bulkhead fitting. I’m not sure how this will work but the goal is to keep water from getting into the carbon filter if Satori ever heels far enough to hit the thru-hull by putting the vent loop as high as possible to keep the water out. I wish I would have turned the hose barb up when I replaced the bulkhead fitting but I can always simply add a three-way valve that allows me to drain the water out right below the bulkhead fitting. I’m pleased with the manual pump out pump placement as well. The handle is removable which makes the entire locker usable which is quite contrary to the locker next to it. With all of the new parts, I had to find a place to install the water pump and Whale pump, plus the carbon filter. The locker above the holding tank seemed like the best choice. It can be used to store toilet paper and tank chemicals so no big deal.

The new Whale MK5 holding tank manual pump with vented loop and carbon vent hose
The new Whale MK5 holding tank manual pump with vented loop and carbon vent hose
The new pump for manually pumping out the holding tank.
The new pump for manually pumping out the holding tank.

Saturday I did another run for parts before starting the project and later realized that I needed a few more hose clamps and 1″ to 3/4″ reducers for the water strainer. After a final installation of the strainer and some preliminary testing of the pump and macerator and I was ready to flush. The first try pulled fresh saltwater into the strainer and then up and over the vented loop into the toilet. Success! The toilet flushed with no issue. I also checked the manual pump-out system and it worked just fine. My only wish is that it pulled further from the bottom of the tank but no big deal. I’d rather have a little left on the bottom than have a hole leaking from the bottom of the tank and I can always do an annual tank cleaning by flushing out the tank several times to reduce build-up over time.

The new faucet with retractable shower head and simple hot/cold-on/off lever.
The new faucet with retractable shower head and simple hot/cold-on/off lever.

I made a goal to replace the toilet in a month from removing the old parts to the new install (minus a little more brightwork). My initial blog entry was on October, 19th so that puts me only 3 days past a month. Not bad for having a full-time job but I must admit that my social life has suffered quite a bit. At least I can go poo in my own sailboat and push a couple of buttons to flush. Pretty cool.

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