Hanging Locker & Head
The berth area of my True Grit was built as per plan with the exception I omitted the shower. It was depicted between the head and hanging locker - just aft of the bunk - with the water draining into the bilge. Some type of 360 degree shower curtian would have to be fabricated. But I just didn't like the idea of water spraying from a shower right against the bunk. Even if things don't get wet, it is going to add a lot of humidity and dampness in the last place I want it - the berth.
Plus my goal with the entire design is to prevent any water from EVER being inn the bilge. I know this is a tall order but I did not coat the interior of the hull with epoxy (the allergic reaction thing) so I feel keeping it dry is imparitive. With my plan I have no engine or prop shaft below to leak water, a shower that drains directly overboard, a self draining cockpit and a wood hull that shouldn't sweat on the interior, I can't think of a reason there would be any water down there unless I hole the hull. Plus I plan to install a couple 12V 80mm fans (computer cooling fans) which will move draw cabin air in at the bow and circulate it below the sole exiting at the transom. This will be wired into the 120V side of the electrical system using a small wall wart transformer and will run 24/7 when ever shower power is available including on the trailer at home.
This is a view of the upper portion of the hanging locker in the berth ara just forward of the helm . The shinny object is the back side of the aluminum instrument panel. There will be a cover or shield attached to the angled wood members protruding from it which will extend down to the horizonal pencil line in the bulkhead below. This will protect the wiring from the items hanging there. The black thing sticking above the line is the steering unit and the hole with the wire running through it is where the shore power plug will be located. The black thing above is once again a piece of pipe insulation to keep me from banging my head.
This is the bottom of the locker above which will have a drawer matching the drawers below the berth. There will be another drawer added on top of this drawer but it will be recessed enough to allow for a seat that can be used when dressing. I am also planning a "dual purpose" door for this locker. The normal position will be closed over the locker but when the head is being used or privacy in the berth is desired it will swing back and serve as a door blocking the entry way between the salon and berth. Hinged and latching will be a little tricky but I believe I can get it to work.
Just opposite the hanging locker is the head. There will be a cabinet above and a boxed raceway behind for wiring. And no, this isn't a conventional marine head. I have had just enough experience with marine heads to know I don't want one. Troublesome flushing, hoses, nasty odor, tanks full of _ _ _ _ , pumping out _ _ _ _ - all things I just don't want to deal with any more. Not to mention in my home cruising area pump outs are next to non-existent. On my Bayliner 2452 I had to bring it home, pump it out into an auxiliary tank and then haul it to my septic tank and dump it in there. What a stinking hassle.
So I began looking for alternatives. Was very interested in the Raritan units but my research on the subject seemed to indicate that in many inland bodies of water, discharge from even these units are illegal. And with tightening regulations more restrictions may well be in the future. I decided to continue my search. The idea of composting toilets seemed to offer an interesting solution - if they work. I did a lot of research on the internet and finally came to the conclusion that for me it was workable. It may not be the perfect answer and some may not like the compromise (there is that word again) but for me the pros for out weighed the cons.
I decided on a new design called "Natures Head". Read down the center section of the linked page. This will give you a very good idea why I decided it is a better solution. This page offers the directions for setup and use. With a cost of about $850 the unit is not cheap but probably less that most builders will spend on a the complete installation of a conventional unit. And it is sure a snap to install.
One limiting factor that needs to be mentioned is that at temperatures below 60 degrees the chemical reaction of composting more or less stops. Once the temps increase it starts again but if being used is cold climates this could be a problem. For me this is not a concern.
But does it work? Again, only time will tell for sure but I did put it into service for a couple months last spring. It was located in the boat but I had not yet hooked up the vent. Not that it would make much difference since it would still be venting into my shop. I did wire in the small 1 1/2" CPU type 12V fan to run 24/7 as per instructions. Admittedly the volume was low with normally one deposit (!) per day. But still, this was raw waste dumped in a box of dirt sitting in my shop. After a few weeks I decided to give it the ultimate test. My wife walks direct by the boat several times a day. I asked, "Do you smell any thing unusual in the shop." SHe commented there was something but she couldn't quite decide what it was. I had her come up in the boat and into the berth where the head was sitting. "What do you smell now," I asked. After thinking a bit she finally said it smelled like fresh dirt or driving by a freshly plowed field. Asking if it was objectionable she said she wouldn't want it for a perfume but it wasn't a problem at all.
Another time I friend was in the shop taking the tour of the project and we were looking at the head. As I was explaining that I was actively using it I popped the latches and began to open it to expose the composting material. He started to recoil while saying, "You DON"T need to do that," but I naturally ignored him. As I flipped it open and stood there he looked at me puzzled and said, "Where is the odor." Again, only time will tell but for now confidence is high.