The Long Story
When we purchased Ananda in 2006 she still had the heads (toilets) that were installed by the builder. They worked OK but were a bit complicated to operate–especially for non-boaters. Whenever they were used they were typically overpumped which resulted in the holding tank being filled a lot sooner than it needed to be. Additionally, the forward head was plumbed to pump directly overboard (because it had no holding tank). That arrangement was no good for me because once I started my cruise in 2010 I would be in fresh water for several couple of months and pumping overboard is not at all acceptable. Prior to this I had decommissioned the forward head and was using the space as a storage closet but I wanted to be able to use it during the cruise because I was expecting a lot of company and having only one head available would have been inconvenient – especially during the night, because the aft head was located in the aft cabin.The aft head was connected to a 40 gallon holding tank in the engine compartment but connecting the forward head to this tank would have been complicated and expensive.
Prior to leaving on my cruise in 2010 I installed a 20 gallon holding rigid-poly tank in the port-side locker under the galley bench. It was relatively easy to connect the forward head to this tank. This gave me more capacity and now both heads could be used without pumping overboard. This arrangement worked pretty well for the first 2-3 weeks but I was still faced with both holding tanks filling up much faster than I had anticipated because people were overpumping the toilets. As a result, whenever I stopped at a marina for fuel and supplies, the pump out costs were beginning to rival my fuel costs. I did not see this as being a good arrangement for extended cruising – especially when I was planning on having a lot of guests, so I started researching alternatives. I contacted my friend Mike McDonald at the Rigging Shoppe in Scarborough and asked for suggestions.
After considering my options I placed an “emergency order” for two new Marine Elegance electric flush toilets from Raritan. I chose these models because they used a very small amount of water for each flush and their operation was simple – just push a button and the flushing was completed. I chose the fresh water model because it would help with controlling odours in the holding tanks. It also helped a lot that Mike had the toilets in stock and was willing to personally deliver them to our next stop – Bluffer’s Park Marina in Scarborough. My good friend Bo Heller was travelling with me for the next week and he agreed to help me with the installation. That was an offer that I could not refuse (and he might come to regret 🙂 ). We set sail from Scarborough and headed to Cobourg, our next stop on our journey. Fortunately, we had a friend who lived in Cobourg and was willing to help us out with transportation to local hardware stores for plumbing supplies—and what a trek it turned out to be! A few pieces at Canadian Tire, some more at Home Depot, then WalMart, some more at the local marine supply store and finally at a local plumbing supply store. Wow, almost 5 hours of running around for a handful of parts.
Bo told me that he had trouble sleeping the night before so he was up at 3:00am measuring the dimensions in the head and making a list of the supplies we would need to accomplish the task. What a great guy! The old toilets came our pretty easily and I lined them up on the foredeck so that all passers-by in the marina could have a chuckle.
My son Steve from Golden, BC was coming to join me for the next leg of my cruise and he was due to arrive on the train from Toronto at 1:00pm. Bo would be glad to have Steve on the toilet team because I had hurt my back and my mobility was pretty limited. Bo and Steve continued working on the installation of the toilets and got the project wrapped up without difficulty. Our friends Bob & Jackie Munro suggested that I donate the old toilets to the local Habitat For Humanity Re-Store. The people there were very happy to get them and they will be a bargain for someone renovating an old boat or a rustic cottage with no pressure water. The bowls were in perfect shape & Royal Doulton to boot, so they might even be suitable for serving punch in, but I won’t be the one to take the first drink from them!
These toilets are one of the best investments I have made for Ananda. They have performed perfectly and significantly reduced the number of pumpouts that I had to make during my cruise.