Sunday, 3 February 2019

Winter Maintenance in London #4

Hi everyone,
Maintenance continues!  Since our last post we've been working on two main projects.

Liferaft inflated
Liferaft Service

Our Australian-purchased Great Circle 4-person liferaft went out of service in May last year.  We needed to have it serviced, and also wanted it in a canister instead of a valise.  Great Circle helped us find a service centre able to do the work in the UK.

SeaGo Yachting based in Sussex did the work and provided a helpful set of photos.  We opted for a 24-hour equipment pack.  The air cylinder had to be pressure-tested due to its age but the liferaft itself is in good condition.

24-hour pack contents

24-hour pack container
Liferaft sealed and in canister base
Liferaft in canister
We changed from a valise to the canister to allow relocation of the liferaft.  Previously it has been strapped down in the aft part of the cockpit.  This was fine except that it consumed useful cockpit floor area.  Our plan is to have a stainless steel frame manufactured to hold the liferaft canister.  It will mount on the transom or outside the pushpit.

Toilet Replacement

When we bought Zen Again she had a TMC electric toilet.  We've never been big fans of electric toilets but it has served us well.  We refurbished the unit in 2012 while in Darwin, replacing the electric motor, seals etc.

In Thailand in 2013 we replaced all sea cocks.  Just before leaving Fremantle in 2015 we had to haul out the boat and replace the two head sea cocks.  Both weren't closing properly and the discharge hose was almost blocked.  We always open and close both head inlet and head outlet sea cocks at every use.  That's about 3000 cycles per year!

TMC Electric Toilet
Recently we have noticed water leaking into the toilet.  Investigation suggested both head sea cocks were leaking.  Further, the inlet vented loop and the toilet outlet check valve were malfunctioning.  We decided it was time to "bite the bullet" and replace the toilet system - everything except the sea cocks which will have to wait for a haul-out in the Spring.

The old system came out easily enough.  We left the hoses from the sea cocks in place, held up above the water line so no water ingress was possible.

Old toilet homeless 
Old toilet removed
Our previous boat Degrees of Freedom had a Blake's Lavac toilet.  Lavacs are manual toilets using a vacuum system.  On one memorable occasion we used a "wandering hose" plugged into the Lavac to pump 1.5 tons of water out of the boat.  We like Lavacs and so we chose one as our new toilet.

The Lavac uses a 1.5" Henderson pump.  We mounted the pump in the head locker above the sea cocks.  We fitted vented loops in both inlet and outlet hoses, with reducers to/from the 1" hoses to the sea cocks.
Lavac pump in the locker
New hoses on the sea cocks
1" inlet vented loop with reducer to 3/4" for Lavac
(note the Japanese "waterline" label)
1.5" outlet vented loop
The main challenge in installing the new toilet was fitting the new hoses, particularly to the sea cocks and the Lavac.  Fitting new hoses to the sea cocks was particularly exciting since they were leaking!  Our usual method of softening the hose in hot water didn't work in the cold weather here.  We borrowed a hot air gun, which did the trick easily.  We now have one of our own aboard!

Lavac toilet installed
Lavac Head with pump handle socket at left
Later this year we plan to refurbish the head compartment.  We'll replace the original GRP sink with a stainless steel unit and repaint the entire compartment.  We'll also tidy up the very "holy" wall on the left of the picture above.

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