The fresh water toilet holding tank been designed and installed.  Stay tuned for additional details and pictures.  THE TOILETS NOW FLUSH !

Posted August 21, 2003

Emergency Astern! I was cautioned this might happen from reading notes in the Trawlerworld List.  Wilcox-Crittenden just wrote me and said I could not attach pressure fresh water to the heads directly.  Oh my – that is going to mean a fresh water holding tank just for the heads that has a float fill from the feed line I ran.  I can see all sorts of work ahead on this one.  So – ignore the mistakes I made with this fresh water installation and I’ll keep you posted.  I’m going to keep the selector valve in place.  This will at least allow me to feed fresh water to the anchor wash-down nozzle.

Posted August 7, 2003

Many of you may already be familiar with the head (bathroom) restoration going on. In the middle of that job Steph made the bold suggestion that I configure the toilet flushing supply to draw from either fresh stored water or raw water.  I liked the suggestion without realizing the consequences of my actions!  All along I knew that connecting to the existing water supply lines was nearly an impossible task.  I can not find fittings of any kind that match the plastic tubing and couplings that are original to Tortuga.  The addition of a fresh water feed to flush toilets meant two new connections: the toilet supply and the anchor wash down pump.  Then a number of weeks ago while replacing the sink faucet, the cold water supply line cracked and could not be patched.  So – a new task was added: replace the entire water supply system including the water heater.

A fair amount of research was conducted to determine the best approach for this project.  My concerns included what tubing to use (e.g., copper, PVC, rigid plastic), types of couplers and ease of installation/repair.  I reviewed both marine suppliers and local hardware outlets such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Boat U.S. and West Marine.  I settled on plastic tubing and fittings and two suppliers came out on top:  Quest and Sea Tech.  I actually visited six different Lowe’s and Home Depots to determine availability of parts.  This is one of those projects where you simply don’t know what you need until you get into the job.  Not a single store was consistent in the product carried (i.e., some carried tubing, some did not).  That threw out Quest as a supplier.  Sea Tech now appeared as the best candidate.  Not only were they producing a product designed for the marine industry, they had the most complete solution.  Another great aspect of Sea Tech is the tubing is color coded, red for hot and blue for cold water lines.

So – how does one get parts?  Luckily Boat U.S. (but not West Marine) carries all of the couplings and tubing.  However, a review of the Sea Tech catalog showed some other great items that would ease installation such as hold down clips.  I have been very fortunate in that Sea Tech agreed to supply many of these items for our use in the restoration of Tortuga.  I would recommend ordering supplies from Boat U.S.  Tubing is listed at nearly $0.90 in the catalog, but ordering in quantity (e.g., 50ft coils) drops the price to around $0.75 per foot.  The total price of this project (that means all couplings, tubing, clamps, etc) to replace every bit of the water supply in the vessel will be under $300.

I’ve extracted pictures form the Sea Tech catalog and of the actual installation in Tortuga to give you and idea of how the project is progressing. (Photos not shown due to copyright)

sea tech plumbing lines

The fittings are all push-together and require no crimp fasteners or special bushings.  This makes installation so quick.  It actually took longer to pull out the old pipe runs than installing the new.  The photo above is the cable/pipe tray below the flooring in the engine room.


Please note – I have found major design flaws with this manifold.  Stay tuned for changes.

The picture above is of the wonderfully complex water distribution manifold I’ve built.  This provides us with selectable fresh or raw water for toilet flush and as source to the anchor wash down on the bow.  Steph asked for that so it could double as a shower on hot days in the tropics.  Not labeled in the picture below in the bottom left corner is the forward head Y-valve for flushing overboard or to the holding tank.


The picture above covers the entire floor area in the V-berth. The anchor wash down pump is at top followed by the distribution manifold.  You can see the Sea Tech water supply line coming in from the bottom.

There’s lots of work left.  I am rebuilding the wood platform in the engine room where the fresh water pump, accumulator tank and water heater set.  And I have to extend lines away from the central run to each faucet/shower.  This is a huge effort, but the overall satisfaction and improved living standard is worth it.

Stay tuned for more pictures as the task continues through September.


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