Thursday, 12 June 2014

A Game of Thrones

While Matt was finishing his thesis (congratulations!), I have been busy on Auriga, aided in no small part by the beautiful weather.

The most important part of a yacht is undoubtedly the heads (toilet). How else does one explain their increasing number and size on many production boats? However, location is everything - put the heads in the wrong place, and it becomes unusable on one tack, or one keeps falling off with nothing to hold on to. This, and the more efficient use of the interior space, promoted us to move the heads to, well, the head of the boat.

The space under the step is enclosed on three sides and feels much more comfortable than the old place, which can now turned into a huge storage cupboard.

First, I built the wooden pedestal. Fitting two side battens and the plywood platform to the existing space took some iterative creativity. All wood was waterproofed with PE resin, and the joint along the edges sealed with Sikaflex to avoid any moisture accumulation in the inaccessible gaps.

We replaced the old Jabsco-type heads with a Lavac. Instead of a double-action pump for supplying sea water for flushing and evacuation, the Lavac uses a single bilge pump. The sea water is sucked in by the vacuum created when the lid is closed. The pump is connected to the heads via a hose, and can be mounted in a convenient location. Further, by including a diverter valve before the pump, we can use it to evacuate the bilges, too.

All pipework would have been impossible without Frank's hairdryer - no amount of force can force the hose into any if the fittings until the house has been softened by the hot air. Further, all confections were secured with stainless jubilee clips, used in pairs at the critical through-hull fittings.

The sea water system needs an extra valve near the pipe's highest point, providing the function of the Jabsco's flip lever. Without, the vacuum holds the lid shut, only to by replaced by sea water siphoning in one the lid is forced open ("where us all this water coming from? ").

With all pipework easily accessible, and only a simple yet powerful bilge pump having any moving parts, the new system promises to be reliable and easy to maintain, while providing an important back-up to the other bilge pumps.

Now, a few pipe clips to tidy up, and the new cupboard can be made even more useful with a shelf or two.


  1. I hadn't considered the dual use of the Lavac pump. That's very interesting. Tammy Norie has only a single bilge pump, and I have one of those Marelon 3-way valves in my spares box. Hmm…

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