Potty Talk: Part Duece

Excuse me hiii. Perhaps you thought that with the launch of “Firefly” we would sail off into the sunset, trailing a stream of itchy fiberglass residue and broken hearts in our wake?

In fact, while we have been out sailing every chance we get, the boatwork continues as well. I’m currently neck deep in wiring diagrams so that we can have lights, music, and some nav-gadgets, but dear reader that is not what we’re here to talk about. The subject at hand is somewhat less technological and somewhat more biological in nature. I wrote about the removal of the previous head installation a little while back. The installation of our new “Nature’s Head” composting toilet was somewhat more involved. Getting the thing to fit inside the confines of the enclosed head turned out to be quite an adventure, we ended up having to remove the door (to be replaced with curtains which my mother is constructing. Thanks Ma!), rip out the base upon which the old toilet sat upon (the throne of the throne if you will), and construct a new base for the new toilet. Got it? The Nature’s Head is quite a bit taller than the old head, so it’s slightly cockeyed to allow one to sit upon it without the corner of the cabintop/deck digging into your back. Imagine trying to sit on a toilet inside a half-wide kitchen pantry cabinet and you’ll get the idea. Anywho, the nice thing about the composting toilet is that it doesn’t need plumbing- dump in some peat moss, crank the handle after using it, and supposedly it naturally composts without any odor. We’ll see. It does however require active ventilation to promote the proper microbial activity, which means installing a vent, which means cutting holes in the boat.

We installed a “solar vent” which is a fan hooked up to a solar panel. The advantage of this is it runs constantly and is independent from the boats (non-existent) electrical system. It’s also fairly nifty.

The biggest pain was hooking up the ventilation hose from the toilet to the vent- about 25 minutes of slowly shaping a plastic flange with a dremel to fit inside the fan housing.

Anywho, after all was said and done, I think it turned out purty good. We’ll let you know if it works. Or maybe not.

“Do Your Worst!” It seems to be saying.


4 thoughts on “Potty Talk: Part Duece

  1. I look forwards to your impressions on the nature’s head. I have been in contact with Sandy, the maker of C-head, for my Sea Sprite, but have not yet bought it. Once I get to that part of the cabin, I will, but I am not yet there.

  2. Hi Chris and Ryan!

    I hope you’re enjoying life back on land! I miss the appearance of new blog posts from you; I really looked forward to hearing about your adventure! Now that you’ve had some time to reflect on your voyage on Firefly, I’m wondering if you could give me (or us, your rabid readership) your considered opinion on your Nature’s Head. I’m considering adding one to my Ariel. A former owner removed the original head long ago; I believe it was installed in the center of the V-berth, That’s the best place for me to consider installing one, at any rate. But I gather they’re tall, and that the vent tubes might require some engineering from that position. Anyway, I don’t expect you to solve my problems with installation, but I’d love to hear how you both feel about the utility and the . . . um . . . level of disgustedness you felt or did not feel about having the compost right there with you.

    Thanks, and I hope all is great with both of you!


    • Hey Ernie, it’s a hoss! Definitely one of the better additions we made to “Firefly.” The unit is very tall…”Firefly” has a head compartment to port just aft of the main bulkhead, we had to take the door off to be able to use the head. I imagine it will fit fine in the v-berth, but might preclude sleeping there, cause who wants to sleep with a toilet eh? We rarely had issues with odor, usually after the unit had just been emptied, tweaking of the proper moisture content by adding used coffee grounds usually did the trick. Emptying the head wasn’t exactly fun, but only took about 20 min, and compared to the horror stories you hear about marine heads, wasn’t bad at al. Hope you’re doing well sailing soon!

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