Refurbishing the head: Part One

So Sooners head (bathroom) wasn’t in a great way when I got her – the lockers were in need of some attention, the head (toilet)(this is another case of boat stuff all using the same word for different things, like ‘tack’) was old and needed maintenance and was a bit leaky, and the whole area smelled quite strongly of gross. Unsurprising, as the boat had sat for two years without really being used so not only was there stuff in the hoses that had been sat there for years but also the seawater used to flush the head had sat for a long time – when that happens all the little beasties in it die off and don’t smell good.

Basically it was the same state as a lot of my student apartments in my 20s but as now I am almost FORTY and therefore an ADULT I wanted to fix it.

First of all, I decided to tear out the old marine head and replace it with a composting one, much as I did on Gudge.

I’ve gone over the reasons for this before, but to sum up again – they are slightly more hands-on than a standard marine head, but also never catastrophically break in the same way (which results in sewage in the bilge, or picking through sewage to replace a valve). They also don’t need any thru-hulls unlike the two required for a normal head and less holes in the boat is always good. They also don’t smell, unlike a standard marine head (yes I know with a standard head if you look after them and maintain them and pour olive oil down and replace the hose every 5th Capricorn moon in August and say the Proper Incantations and rinse with fresh water then they can also be odor free but it’s a lot more effort, come @ me bro)

Unfortunately this meant I had to remove all the old, gross head hose, and the toilet itself. I’d started this process back a couple of months ago, only to come to a screeching stop when I closed the head intake seacock, pulled off the hose and found water still came into the boat, leading to a hurried putting-the-hose-back-on-and-booking-haulout flurry.

Now both of the thruhulls were removed and glassed over, I could muck around with hose all DAY without sinking the boat.

Getting the head out was fairly easy

The harder part was the rest of the hoses, as they were run under and behind stuff

And, unfortunately, we still half full of various disgusting, years old liquids. Yeeeech. With a judicious use of plastic bags, gloves, and tape, I finally got the last piece of hose out and then dropped it all right into the marina dumpster.

Just really really gross.

The one saving grace is that the holding tank (the place where normally all the sewage goes) had never been used for that purpose, instead just being used for water from the shower and bathroom sink. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about removing it or sealing it (a good job as it is underneath the floorboards!)

So all the old hoses and head and everything was out, and the smell was drastically improving. More could be done! The area where the thruhull had been for the pump out was pretty disgusting, I guess it had leaked slightly over the years, and the linoleum (can you tell it was built in the 80s) had gone all moldy. So I tore it all out, and then for good measure tore it out of the other cupboards as well.

You can see where the old thruhull was removed and glassed in in the picture above.

Once that was done, I prepped all the surfaces for paint (sanded, then Acetone) and then Liz did the actual painting – and did an excellent job.

Look how good that looks!

With that out of the way, it was time to choose and install a new head! That will be a subject for another article as this one is kinda getting on in length already!

PS: Spring this year has been the coldest and wettest that I can remember, here is some lovely April weather



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