Heads-up! Holding Tank false cupboard

To be USCG (US Coast Guard) compliant, I had to either fit a holding tank or sling the heads before entering US waters. Some Sadler 34 owners have fitted custom holding tanks behind the toilet, in the heads compartment. To get the job done simply, and more economically, I opted for this unattractive approach:

40 liter holding tank from http://www.tek-tanks.com

The holding tank is from Tek Tanks of Alton, Hants in England. They have a database of custom tanks for a load of boats, based on previous projects, but I will stick with the current setup for a year or so.

The plan is to hide it behind a wooden shell, made to look like a cabinet. This bulkhead is the driest part of the boat, so I will add a storage space to the right of the tank, (looking at it), for charts, manuals, documents etc. The loss of space would be a pain if there were four or five crew, but it is fine for one or two.

As an aside, my log was completely ruined after crossing Biscay in November 2014. It was “safely” stored in the desk, and water poured in through the leaky port above the desk, as well (I think) as through the open hatchway when a few massive waves snuck up behind me and took out the sprayhood. I then discovered plastic paper log books, which work great with pencil, and are resilient against sea, rain and flood.

I have ordered a Non-contact tank level sensor, from New Providence Marine. It means that I don’t have to fit a mechanical device inside the tank. It comes with a gauge which I will install in the heads compartment, warning people not to flush the loo if the tank is full.

The sensor has two foil strips running vertically, 3″ or 4″ apart, down the outside of the tank. I think it will have to be fitted to the rear of the tank, against the bulkhead.

[When I first bought her, I could not find the holding tank (it was a crappy hand-over). I called or texted from the Irish Sea and learned that there was none. This explained why it was backed up.]

The tank takes up valuable foot space when sleeping in that bunk, unfortunately, but it will be fine for someone 5’8″ or less. And, of course, a place at the dining table is sacrificed, but for the next year or so, it will do. Especially if it is disguised as a cabinet or cupboard!

More rails (update Oct 29, ’16)

(Plugs in, cut and sanded. Pics below).

Rail bolt holes countersunk, shims shaped.

I had intended to finish it today but the sealant that I bought is permanent, rather than semi-permanent, so I shall aim to finish next week.

I also cut some plugs to cover the bolt heads. The ends of the rails need rounding off, and the edges too

Coachbolt covered with teak plug

Stbd rail with plugs standing proud.

Plug cut down with saw. I used a steel rule to protect the top of the rail from the saw teeth, putting the ruler between saw and rail.

Port rail sanded.


Just need to round the ends off and then oil. Or Cetol, which gets lots of positive support. It has a slightly amber hue, but will be good for two years, if looked after. And I have a new tin. So I think it will be Sikkens Cetol. 

New Official Number!

ON 1272125, the new Official Number for Frank, has been assigned by the Coastguard. Once I receive the Certificate of Documentation, I can strike the Manx Red Ensign and hoist the Stars and Stripes!

I will need to have the new port, Corpus Christi, TX, put on the stern, to replace Douglas, IoM. And I need to permanently add the new O.N. to the boat. 

Coachroof Rails progress report.

The short report – progress is slow.

—-

The long report: what do you expect? It takes three hours 15 minutes each way for the drive and it is still too hot to sleep on the boat.

I decided against sandwiching the new rail between the old halves – as you knew, it was a daft idea anyway.

So I cut “shims” out of the bottom halves of the rails, from where the rails had mounted to the coachroof.

First patient please..

There are 7 mounting points on each side, and as one end of the port rail was sacrificed to create a cutting knife for the new rails, I had 13:


I used the coachbolts to line up the holes, then glued and clamped the shims in place:


I made a shim to replace the sacrificed one, out of the left-over new wood. 

The shims are too long and look shabby, after 31 years. I will sand, trim and shape them next week.

I will shorten each end of the rails, and shape the wood so that it matches the approx 45┬░ slope of the end mounting point, so that sheets, lines and “moving stuff” does not snag on the ends of the rails.

As you can see, I still have to countersink the bolts. I am struggling to find the right shaped router blade or countersink bit. Once I have done that, I need to cut some caps from the left-over teak and, after using sealant (3M, no Silkaflex in the US) to keep the bolts secure, add some more sealant to act as semi-permanent fixing for the caps.


That is the plan, anyway.

I read that teak oil can soften the marine sealant…

Today, I also started to fabricate a wooden case to disguise the holding tank which is on the saloon side of the bulkhead between saloon and heads. I just thought – maybe I could put knobs on it, so it looks like a cupboard! More on that another day.