To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Horrifying Failure — Averted

A few weeks ago, we had some Wrath of God rain on the Neuse river. It might have been a waterspout. It left frogs on the deck. It was brief and brutal.

Today, we had rain of larger volume but less wind. The narrowly averted horror part was in the interior of Red Ranger.

By larger volume, I mean the kind of epic hurricane scale wind that we saw when we were stuck in NC for five days while Hurricane Sandy had her way with NJ.

Here's a picture take down inside the bulkwarks on the port side: the scupper drain is barely keeping up.

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On the starboard side, the drain is simply not keeping up. You can't make out the drain hole in the middle of the picture because it's under 3" of water.

Let's to back to the picture at the top of the page.

In the middle right, you can see a gray disk with some black lines on it. That's the drain cover. There's a black line for a furling drum further to the right. Beyond that there's the brown teak of the toe rail with it's aluminum track on top.

There's an inch of water on top of the drain cover. It's sort of keeping up.

On the left side of the image is the big coaming around the cockpit; the winches are mounted on top of this box. In the center of the image — way back — across from a lifeline stanchion — under the visible winch — there's a gray something-or-other on that coaming.

The gray something-or-other is the stainless steel cover for the Nature's Head vent. Our poop box vent hose is under that cover.

When the deck drains don't keep up...

Wait for it...

The water backs up into the vent hose.

And runs down into the poop box of the Nature's Head composting toiler.

I'll repeat that. Rain water is running down from the deck vent into the composting toilet.

CA noticed that the stirring crank was too easy to turn. Then she heard the gurgle and pulled the hose off the head. The water was sptraying out the vent hose, full bore. All over the floor of the head.

There was shrieking at first.

Then CA realized that the hose was spraying clean rain water all over the head. And it's running down the shower drain. Into the bilge. That's all good. Indeed, that's helpful because it rinses the bilge.

But there was water in the poop box!

It did not overflow. It was close. That was simple good luck.

Ordinarily, the contents of the composting toilet are pretty dry. We can shovel it into a garbage bag and dispose of it ashore. In this case, that's not going to work. We'll pour the poop box it into the forward head; flush it into the holding tank; then use ordinary marina pump out services to clean up.


One way to prevent future problems is to relocate the vent hose exit to a higher spot on the coaming: above the toe rail. But that's almost impossible. The vent hose is mounted as high as possible without making absurdly complex cuts in the interior of the coaming box. The coaming has two layers: the upper section is almost inaccessible; any fitting we put up there would blow vent air into the cockpit instead of overboard. Making hose connections inside the top section would require several long, skinny super-flexible arms.


We can add a sort of anti-siphon loop. To get the hose to be higher than the toe rail, we would have to re-route the hose completely. It would have to go up from head to ceiling — outside the cabinetry — and then back down to the vent exit.

Ugly. Additional holes in the furniture. But perhaps necessary.

In addition, we should probably reroute the deck drains. The Whitby deck drains go from the scupper to a hose that leads to a through-hull under the water. The advantage of this is a sparkling, clean hull. The disadvantage is hoses and hose clamps that can fail and a through hull which can clog.

It seems like a short 90° bit of plumbing and a through-hull mounted as high as possible would be better than the hose and underwater through-hull. A short, almost straight overboard drain might keep up with apocalyptic rain better. It certainly wouldn't get clogged with barnacles (or an oyster.)

For the starboard side, it's a pleasant change because it's one hose to one through-hull. Remove the hose and you can remove the bronze through-hull fitting and close off the hole in the hull permanently.

On the port side, it's a little less pleasant. If I recall correctly, the deck drain hose has a T-fitting in the engine room where the deck drain and the cockpit drains merge. I think the aft head sink joins them through a second T-fitting.