Friday, December 4, 2015

A Crappy Job! (Part 1)

Annie's head has been acting up a little in the last few weeks... harder to flush, some backflow, and a slight odor in the V-berth. Wednesday, it completely quit. It would not flush... the wastewater would go back and forth (and became extremely disgusting). I know - Joker Valve.

So I had to make a decision, was I going to get replacement Joker Valves and do the repair or was I finally go to make my move to the Air Head or Nature's Head composting toilet. I decided on the latter.

There are many reasons for my decision.

First, a composting toilet will eliminate the holding tank and hoses that tend to generate obvious odor over time. (I have rarely been on an older sailboat with a holding tank when I didn't smell its presence).

Second, composting toilets do not normally break down. No valves to go weak, leak, stuck Y-valves, or rusted hose clamps.

Third, no third-party pump-outs. You still have to empty the liquid waste frequently and solid waste every couple of months, but you do not have to depend on a pump-out boat or marina personnel to tend to your waste system.

Fourth, reclaimed space. The holding tank can be removed providing a considerable amount of extra storage space. That may not be important to those on bigger boats but when you're on a thirty-two foot boat, space is a cherished commodity.

Fifth, a lower V-berth. On the Westsail 32 the V-berth is considerably high and very uncomfortable to get into and out of. Also, depending on the thickness of your mattress, you will actually hit the sides of your hips when you roll over. Now that the holding tank is no longer needed, I plan to eventually engage in the MAJOR project of lowering the V-berth platform to make for a comfortable sleeping area. I know I will lose some mattress size but to be able to comfortably sit on my V-berth mattress and have my feet touch the floor will be worth it. Plus I can add shelving like the W28's and gain additional storage.

Sixth, less thru-hulls.  I will be able to eventually permanently close three thru-hulls. The less thru-hulls, the less chance for water intrusion and/or breaches.

Seventh, everyone I've interviewed and almost everyone I've read about that actually have composting toilets, love them. Very few people say they hate them or have many, if any problems.

Regardless of my reasons, this WAS a CRAPPY job!

Vick's Vapor rub under the nose, rubber gloves, gobs of paper towels, trash bags, catch pans, and a few gags along the way and the removing of the old head is now complete. I will write another post documenting the install of the Nature's Head composting toilet which will arrive tomorrow.

Fair seas and God bless.




I will add a plastic splash wall to cover holes and make for easier cleaning

I'll have to fabricate a lower platform


  1. Hopefully the install goes well. Thankfully, when I removed my head and hoses, there wasn't much odor, but there was a little "stuff" that fell out of a couple hoses. Any odor didn't last long either. Looks like you'll have more room for your Natures Head than I have for my Airhead. I still have not used mine, but for the most part, it's ready to use.

    btw, pulled the engine into the cabin today. Now, I'll have the room I need for replacing the fuel tank.

    1. It will be in tomorrow and I will try to get the platform built and splash board installed. The actual head install may be Sunday or Monday. Checked all the dimensions and it looks like I'll have a good fit.

      The engine video was great and now I'm watching your air Head install.

      Take care