Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Getting aHead

Please welcome new contributors Dave and Anke, who are living aboard and simultaneously constructing s/v Wayward, a beautifully constructed sailing barge, in SE Alaska. As I mentioned, Wayward is still under construction; here Dave works out how to fit in a head:

By Jo Hudson
from the SEARUNNER Construction Manual by Jim Brown

Viewed objectively there is nothing more absurd than the usual sea-going toilet of the modern production yacht. What expense and engineering, what a profligate use of space and materials, what a baroque concoction of pipes and valves and pumps and skin fittings, what a sop to over-developed human sensitivities, all for the purpose of transferring a small amount of matter a distance of about twelve inches, from here on the inside of the hull, to there on the outside of the hull.

-- From Mingming and the Art of Minimal Ocean Sailing by Roger D. Taylor

Getting aHead

To date, Anke and I have never built an enclosed Head into one of our boats.

Our boats are small to begin with. Partitioning a chunk off for a room that's in use for a few scant albeit imperative minutes a day seems to needlessly cramp our style. The walls block the view (high crime, in our book) and crowd the remaining space.

Anke and I are mostly alone together, and quite comfortable with our nitty gritty. When friends come along... let's just say things are 'up close and personal'.

So a little more privacy would accommodate the sensitivities of our guests, not all of whom are as... um... earthy as others.

On the other hand, the one thing we've always longed for but never had was a Wet Locker; a place to let our raingear drip dry. Heads are traditionally not too bad for that purpose, though their ventilation is often wanting.

To that end we came up with the following:

Note the Head/Wet Locker at the lower, right (port, aft),
outboard of Companionway steps.

What we're looking at is a row of coat hooks along the wall, outboard of a section of flip up counter. This allows space for hanging outdoor gear, especially raingear, where it can drip harmlessly to a well-sealed floor.

The counter, when horizontal, extends the galley counter by (about) 3ft. It also doubles as the port, pilothouse seat, from which we can steer the boat under cover (workbench shares the same role, opposite).

When flipped vertical - hinged along its forward edge, it locks into position to form a partial wall. A curtain may be drawn across the inboard face, and voila! A semi-enclosed head!

It's not as isolated as the typical Head, but visual privacy is ensured. It's positioned under a pilothouse window, so ventilation is better than most. It's still a bucket affair, but a two bucket compost system isn't out-of-the-question. (Here's a great resource on DIY composting toilets from one of our readers).

Set-up and -down take but a matter of seconds, for those in haste.

So this has been a paper possibility for a couple of years, now, and I've been drawing them into Triloboat StudyPLANS. But if anyone's built one, I haven't heard... until now.

So here's a sneak preview of the as yet untried system, at the roughed-in stage. Stay tuned for trial and error to come!

Looking aft into to the portside Galley.
Head/Wet Locker aft.

Looking kitty-corner at Head/Wet Locker

Anke holding counter vertical...
will eventually have a barrel bolt into a small, partial wall outboard
(Mirror on the underside?)

Oh God!

Scrounged hinges...
installed 'upside down' to reduce gluteal hang-up
(the pronounced hinge curl could otherwise bite us in the A**
while sitting on counter)

Sitting Pretty
(and able to look out,, 360deg)


  1. The link to the two bucket composting toilet is pointing to the wrong location.

  2. Sorry - I have removed the bad link.



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