Shower and sink drain system

When I first installed the sink drain I kept thinking to myself how a vented loop would be a nice addition to the drain. In my head I was imagining a way to also be able to drain the shower out the sink drain thru-hull. After a month of letting my mind wander through all kinds of ideas, I considered two options; a shower sump pump system or a switch operated drain pump. The shower sump would have been nice as it simply switches on automatically when there is enough water in the sump box. Unfortunately I don’t have enough room anywhere below the shower to install this big box so I opted for plan B. Mind you plan B is much more complicated but I gain a switch-activated drain for both the shower and the sink, complete with a vented loop.

An inline strainer for the shower tub drain in the bilge
An inline strainer for the shower tub drain in the bilge

One of the problems I faced is controlling debris that could easily clog and damage the electric impeller pump so I remedied this by adding a few inline strainers. One strainer is right at the drain but easily accessible so I can clean them out whenever I need but also a secondary strainer right at the pump with a finer screen just for backup to protect the impeller. Once I came up with enough of a plan I went to Second Wave to find the strainers and a new-used shower pump. I then went to¬†Fisheries Supply to pick up the hose, clamps, terminal block, wire, some hose fittings and a ‘Y’ valve. I thought it might take several days but the whole project only took a couple of evenings.

A 'Y' valve to select shower tub or sink for mechanically draining grey water
A ‘Y’ valve to select shower tub or sink for mechanically draining grey water

I first installed the shower drain to the ‘Y’ valve and then plumbed the sink drain to the ‘Y’ valve. Then the hose went up to the final strainer attached to the pump, through the pump, ¬†the vented loop and finally out to sea.

Sink and shower drain pump with vented loop (top left)
Sink and shower drain pump with vented loop (top left)

Contrary to the head pump, when I first tested the pump to see if it worked I could only hear the pump impeller spinning but there was no suction. This was alarming as I had already installed virtually everything and carefully measured and cut hoses to fit perfectly. I remembered from somewhere on the internet that some pumps need to be primed in order to work correctly so I easily removed the four mounting screws so I had better access to the pump. Then I disconnected the strainer quick disconnect and poured some water into the strainer until it began seeping out. After reconnecting and starting the pump I was in business. A couple of tests to ensure both shower and drain were draining as expected and I just needed to install the rocker switch to turn the unit on and off as needed. Now all of the head thru-hulls have vented loops and the sink and shower drains are finished.

Simple rocker switch for turning on the drain pump
Simple rocker switch for turning on the drain pump

I also dropped off the stainless freshwater holding tanks with Ballard Sheet Metal. They are likely who initially fabricated the tanks back in the mid-seventies and I’d really like to get another 30 years of use from them. New vinyl tanks of the same size and dimensions will cost me $500 with shipping so I’m hoping I get a quote back that is equal or less than new vinyl tanks. The original ones fit inside the bilge perfectly and have a water capacity of 80 gallons total. I can also add another twenty-gallon soft-tank in the forward birth and carry a hundred gallons total, which is plenty of water for weeks worth of adventure.

Custom made stainless steel holding tank for a Westsail 32
Custom made stainless steel holding tank for a Westsail 32
Underside of the Westsail 32 freshwater holding tank
Underside of the Westsail 32 freshwater holding tank
Rust and debris inside of a stainless steel freshwater holding tank
Rust and debris inside of a stainless steel freshwater holding tank

With the drain system out of the way and the stainless steel tanks getting evaluated I can relax and have my holiday. Besides, I felt the winter blast on the way home and I can smell snow in the mountains and I am due to some more skiing.

Things are slowing down

I’m entering a lull period with Satori. I’m doing several coats of varnish on the floor of the bathroom with several days of curing in between coats. Perhaps I’ll get four coats in two weeks. The countertop still needs another coat too eventually but I’ve moved on to other projects now. The Bukh 36 engine actually runs pretty well but it did leak water over itself when it was running. There is quite a bit of corrosion where the muffler leaked for who knows how many years. Fortunately Satori has not been very active and her motor only has about 550 hours of use. The previous owner lived on the boat which I’m sure helped keep the interior dry and mildew at bay. It could have been much worse. Since the motor wasn’t run very often the leaks in the muffler probably didn’t seem like a big deal but the engine block and mounts would tell you otherwise. I thought it would take a long time to pull the muffler but it really wasn’t bad at all. It came right off, although it’s a perfect fit.

Bukh 36 stainless muffler. Probably original.
Bukh 36 stainless muffler. Probably original.

Once removed, the next day I dropped it off with a local custom fabricator recommended by Mark from Auxiliary Engine. I’m still waiting to hear back from him on how long and much but since the mountains are getting snow and sailing seems colder fun than skiing it’s okay with me. I heard something around $500 which seems like an awful lot of money for a hunk of stainless but as long as it goes back in the same way it came out, that’s worth a million dollars from where I’m concerned. I had contemplated getting a fiberglass one but the pipe is too short and I’m pretty sure there would be heat issues not to mention the accuracy that is needed to fabricate another one. MFCP in Ballard seemed like a great place and I’m pleased with dealing with them already.

MFCP in Ballard; Marine hydraulic and pneumatic dealer with an in-house stainless fabricator

The next order of business was to wrap up some of the detail work in the bathroom and call it good so I took a few hours tonight to snap some photos of where it’s currently at.

 

A panoramic of Satori's completed bathroom
A panoramic of Satori’s completed bathroom

As you can tell by the photo, the floor isn’t yet finished but as I mentioned in the beginning, that’s going to take some time. Another cool factor is the retractable faucet for showering. I’m going to make sure the shower is functional which means adding a tub sump but for now at least it’s ready to flow.

Shower mount

Really there isn’t much to do until the muffler gets back. I’m not ready to start the freshwater plumbing project yet. Maybe beginning in January I can start planning but that’s it. For now I’ll just enjoy the holidays.

Embracing Winter

I’m still pecking away at the bathroom but am down to just a few touchup tasks. The final coat of varnish, countertop paint and the port light wall just needs to be complete. Otherwise I get to rest on the bathroom project. I’ve been thinking a lot about some other projects and have tinkered on what to do next. Instead of disassembling the stove I decided to connect the fuel line and get it running just to help out with keeping the boat warm when I’m there working. The other night it was about 25 degrees and I was able to get the cabin up to 70 after killing most of the draft coming from the companionway. I was also able to make swapping out the bilge pump and switch by adding a terminal block. This kind of modification taught me that terminal blocks are most definitely the way to go over butt connectors. Primarily because it’s very easy to swap out a component such as a pump, radio or whatever without needing to cut the existing wires running to the panel but also because it’s very easy to see corrosion and remedy it when necessary.

The bilge pump terminal block tucked high and out of the way
The bilge pump terminal block tucked high and out of the way

Yesterday I took the pup and a friend up to Snow Lake at Snoqualmie Pass. Once thing we have going for us Seattle folk is the ease of getting out into the wilderness. An hour from home is a winter wonderland and although the conditions are bitter cold up there, it’s also sunny and snowy. It’s nice to embrace what we have and take advantage of the weekends for getting outside. Before my obsession with sailing I spent much of my time as an alpine climber and skier which naturally goes well with sailing. I have an arsenal of knots and understanding of rope mechanics, I have a decent understanding of weather and am not put off by remoteness or self sufficiency. The primary differences I can tell is how important it is to be mechanically inclined and be able to repair or replace anything on a sailboat without having to pay someone else to do it, aside from making a brand new sail. Even then, I’ve seen several examples of people sewing up their own sails from a kit.

An icy day up at Snoqualmie Pass
An icy day up at Snoqualmie Pass
Friend and pup on the way to snow lake
Friend and pup on the way to snow lake

Today I’m going to head down to Satori and start working on the engine. The muffler has seen better days and it seems to be the only issue with the engine right now aside from some corrosion in the seawater cooling system. Hopefully it’s a simple task to remove the old muffler and get a new one made. I am dreading getting the boat warmed up but at least it’s sunny outside and the Olympics are within view.