Monday, December 22, 2008

Starboard Interior Work

There are many compromises to be made when laying out the interior of a small boat. This is especially true in the narrow V-hulls of a Tiki 26. Wharram's philosophy of "flexi-space" addresses this problem in the simplest manner - no fixed interior features at all. This is fine for many people but in some ways it is less practical for certain on-board necessities, such as the stove, navigation and other electrical equipment, and the head (if there is one at all).

I don't like portable toilets and would probably not carry one at all if not for the convenience it will afford for my girlfriend and other guests, and to meet legal requirements for a holding tank in some of the waters I intend to sail. At sea, the bucket is the way to go, and in port, one can just as easily use shoreside facilities. But since I am carrying a small, 3-gallon portable, it has to live somewhere. I know that some Tiki 26 owners simply shove it back in the aft berth area when not in use and pull it out when needed. But in my experience with these things, they sometimes leak and usually smell. It's a pain to have to move it and put it back after every use, especially if it ever gets used while underway. I would rather have it below bunk level and in a secure position where it cannot move around. My original intention for the placement of it is shown below, in the forward half of the footwell in the starboard hull. Here, it is in the deepest part of the hull and sits flat on the floor, the top even with the bunk. It takes up a lot of foot room here though, and makes it difficult to get into the main bunk forward, which will be the one most often used.

The only logical solution is to place it in the aft end of the footwell, shown here. I had originally built a fixed bunk section over this area, but the side support rails under extended all the way back to the aft bulkhead. So I was able to remove the section with the router and still leave the rails so a removable section can be dropped in if the aft bunk is ever needed.

One problem with locating the portable toilet here is that the hull begins to narrow and lift as you move aft, so the width of the floor here is insufficient to allow it to sit flat, as it does the forward part of the footwell. The other issue is that it sits higher, about 2 inches above bunk height. The good thing though, is that since the cabin roof is at its highest point aft, I can still have full sitting headroom over the toilet in this position, even with a covering box/seat over it when it is not needed. To get it up high enough so that it does not rest against the inner hullsides, I built a small rack, shown below, that straddles the opening floor panel and will solidly support the portable toilet.

Here is a view of the portable head in the new location. In the rare event that I ever need the aft bunk in this hull to accommodate an extra guest, the toilet can be simply lifted out and placed in the cockpit for the night. A drop in bunk board will complete the bunk.

Since this aft part of the cabin will be used for seating while doing such things as chartwork, it was necessary to come up with a solid cover for the portable toilet that is strong enough to sit on or step on when going down below. It was also necessary that this cover could be easily removed but would lock in place and not slip or slide around when on. To this end, I built it like a box lid, using 9mm ply with side rails that rest on either side of the opening on the bunk edges. Teak locating blocks on either side are fitted with 1/4" through bolts that drop down through locating holes drilled in the bunk support rails on either side. The bolts lock it solidly in place. The front edge of the box also drops far enough down over the portable toilet to prevent it from sliding forward. An bungie cord will be used for additional security when sailing offshore.

Here is a view looking aft into the main cabin with the portable toilet in its new location and the covering lid/seat in place. I can sit full upright on this seat without touching the cabin roof. Note also the beginning of the companionway step assembly for this hull. Parts for the steps were cut and fit in place, assembled with Super Glue, then removed for epoxy fillets and coating.

Below are all these parts in various stages of epoxy coating and assembly. From left: the companionway steps with hardwood stiffeners being glued onto the inboard edges; the toilet seat cover; and the rack that it sits on.

Here is the completed companionway step assembly. It's virtually identical to the one I installed in the port hull. The hardwood trim is all teak.

Below is a view of the installed step assembly. Temporary screws through the top step into the sheer stringer, and a weight on the second step hold it in place while the fillets to the hullsides cure. The area forward of the steps will have a lower shelf that extends to the middle bulkhead. This shelf will be hinged on the outboard side and will use the bunk filler board as a drop-down chart table that will span across the cabin and be usable from a seated position over the toilet or facing aft from the end of the forward bunk. I finished working out all the details for this yesterday and made all the parts, which are being coated with epoxy before installation.


aplourde said...

I'm enjoying your building blog very much, so I thought I'd "give back" a little with a tip I've been using to keep the portapot from stinking up the cabin too badly.

1) Try to keep the urine out of it. Your girlfriend may rebel against this; but it does seem to help.

2) After use, close the flap and pump a little water into the bowl. The extra water seems to help the seal, well, seal better.

The portapotti I have has a vent line. I don't see one in your pictures. It might be necessary to avoid a buildup of unpleasant gases. Looking at your boat, I'm not sure how you would plumb it in, though.

In any case, I rarely (if ever) notice the pots smell any more. I am assuming that I haven't become somehow immune to it.

Scott B. Williams said...

Thanks for the tips. I will try that. My portable does have a vent fitting, and can even be plumbed to a holding tank or seacock. The problem is the space for the plumbing. The vent shouldn't be too hard to arrange, though.