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40' cruising boat has a 9 gallon holding tank.  That seems small.  Boat has berths for 9, so with a full crew maybe 2 flushes each before fullness.  What happens if you try to put the tenth gallon of poo into a 9 gallon tank?  Is 20 gallons a reasonable size?  Boat will be kept in Stonington CT about 3-1/2 miles from the 3 mile poo dumping zone.

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No idea, BUT:

I remember when my parents and me chartered an Omega 36 in the Baltics many many years ago, I was 12 or 13.

'Somehow' the tank filled up a wee bit too much, got stuck and the whole thing basically exploded in my father's face as he tried to fix it.

He spent roughly an hour in the marina shower and I got the dress down of my life (I think he needed to vent a bit...).

 

It was an otherwise very nice holiday, but strangely enough, it was hardly ever spoken of afterwards. Took him years to laugh about it.

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40 gallons is the minimum for a week for two.  Give or take.  Heads flush different volumes, frequency of use, blah, blah, blah.

20 gallons capacity is bare minimum but 30+ is preferable

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My 33 footer has a 19 gallon holding tank. With a Lavac vacu-flush toilet, which uses less water, 2 people can stretch that out for about 7 days.

I cannot imagine 9 people restricted to a 9 gallon tank. You'd better restrict the toilets for "solid deposits" and institute a policy of micturating off the rail (women included).

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14 minutes ago, Ajax said:

My 33 footer has a 19 gallon holding tank. With a Lavac vacu-flush toilet, which uses less water, 2 people can stretch that out for about 7 days.

I cannot imagine 9 people restricted to a 9 gallon tank. You'd better restrict the toilets for "solid deposits" and institute a policy of micturating off the rail (women included).

I take it you have the old superstition about females on board?

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We have a 25 gallon holding tank and a fresh-water Vacuflush, which uses very little water. With two aboard,  we can easily go about 10-12 days before the red light comes on. In fairness, I often pee over the side at night when we're at anchor or on the mooring.

In the 1984 Bermuda Race, I was on a 43' IOR boat with 9 crew. The boat had a conventional seawater head and the small holding tank typical of the day. Someone forgot to turn the Y-valve to overboard discharge after we were offshore. After a couple of days, the head got harder and harder to pump until the top blew off the holding tank, after which it got very easy.

Living on a no-bilge IOR boat with 15 gallons of raw sewage swirling around in the bilge is not an experience I would want to repeat. Sort of hard to pump it out with the bilge pumps.

I'll spare you all the gory details, and there were plenty.

Most of the crew just slept on deck until the end of the race, which was no joke given the weather. Let's just say that as navigator, I had to stay below full-time, as I could never have gone back below if I had gone on deck for a breath of fresh air.

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15 minutes ago, accnick said:

Living on a no-bilge IOR boat with 15 gallons of raw sewage swirling around in the bilge is not an experience I would want to repeat. Sort of hard to pump it out with the bilge pumps.

I'll spare you all the gory details, and there were plenty.

Most of the crew just slept on deck until the end of the race, which was no joke given the weather. Let's just say that as navigator, I had to stay below full-time, as I could never have gone back below if I had gone on deck for a breath of fresh air.

You sailed the rest of the race with sewage sloshing about in the bilge?

No-one onboard could figure out plugging their nose with TP and putting on some rubber gloves?

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44 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

I take it you have the old superstition about females on board?

Huh? No.  I'm just commenting that 9 people sharing a 9 gallon tank would best be served by peeing overboard to avoid over-cycling the tank. There couldn't be an exception for women.

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26 minutes ago, accnick said:

We have a 25 gallon holding tank and a fresh-water Vacuflush, which uses very little water. With two aboard,  we can easily go about 10-12 days before the red light comes on.

Your numbers align with mine. If I had 6 extra gallons, I'd 3-4 more days.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

My 33 footer has a 19 gallon holding tank. With a Lavac vacu-flush toilet, which uses less water, 2 people can stretch that out for about 7 days.

 

 

42 minutes ago, accnick said:

We have a 25 gallon holding tank and a fresh-water Vacuflush, which uses very little water.

How's the overall happiness and reliability with the Vacuflush????

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From a reliability and clog-proof point of view, I give it a 10 on a scale of 1-10.

Little irritations include things like-  the seat doesn't always seal so I have to press down on it to achieve a vacuum during the first few strokes.  Since the lid must be closed during flushing, you can't see if you fully evacuated the bowl. Those are pretty much my only complaints.

 

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50 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

You sailed the rest of the race with sewage sloshing about in the bilge?

No-one onboard could figure out plugging their nose with TP and putting on some rubber gloves?

That was the Cliff Notes version of the story. I told you I was sparing you the gory details, and I will continue to do that. Suffice it to say we got as much out as was practical under the circumstances, which included the boat beating to weather in 30 knots of wind in the Gulf Stream, followed by a near-gale on the nose the rest of the way to Bermuda. 

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22 minutes ago, Cruisin Loser said:

 

How's the overall happiness and reliability with the Vacuflush????

It is pretty good. It is not maintenance-free, but it is incredibly convenient and efficient.

I am replacing the toilet itself this year, since the bowl is cracked, and it is probably one of the few original parts left in the 25-year-old system. We carry some spares, including a spare vacuum pump switch.

All the parts are readily available.

Preventive maintenance is your friend with these, such as replacing the joker valves in the vacuum tank regularly, like every three years or so. All the maintenance is practical for a competent owner, if you prefer to do things yourself.

Electrical usage is nominal. The vacuum pump runs for 15-30 seconds after each usage.

Fresh water use is also pretty nominal, and you control how much you use.

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25 minutes ago, Ajax said:

From a reliability and clog-proof point of view, I give it a 10 on a scale of 1-10.

Little irritations include things like-  the seat doesn't always seal so I have to press down on it to achieve a vacuum during the first few strokes.  Since the lid must be closed during flushing, you can't see if you fully evacuated the bowl. Those are pretty much my only complaints.

 

Note to everyone: Lavac is one brand and type of vacuum toilet. Vacuflush is another. They are not the same thing, but are conceptually similar.

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22 minutes ago, accnick said:

That was the Cliff Notes version of the story. I told you I was sparing you the gory details, and I will continue to do that. Suffice it to say we got as much out as was practical under the circumstances, which included the boat beating to weather in 30 knots of wind in the Gulf Stream, followed by a near-gale on the nose the rest of the way to Bermuda. 

Forget the poo, the race itself sounds epic.

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We have a Jabsco Quiet Flush and a 30-gallon holding tank. Between my wife and me, we typically last a bit less than a week before getting pumped out while cruising. Nine gallons of holding tank capacity doesn't sound like a cruiser to me.

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3 hours ago, accnick said:

We have a 25 gallon holding tank and a fresh-water Vacuflush, which uses very little water. With two aboard,  we can easily go about 10-12 days before the red light comes on. In fairness, I often pee over the side at night when we're at anchor or on the mooring.

In the 1984 Bermuda Race, I was on a 43' IOR boat with 9 crew. The boat had a conventional seawater head and the small holding tank typical of the day. Someone forgot to turn the Y-valve to overboard discharge after we were offshore. After a couple of days, the head got harder and harder to pump until the top blew off the holding tank, after which it got very easy.

Living on a no-bilge IOR boat with 15 gallons of raw sewage swirling around in the bilge is not an experience I would want to repeat. Sort of hard to pump it out with the bilge pumps.

I'll spare you all the gory details, and there were plenty.

Most of the crew just slept on deck until the end of the race, which was no joke given the weather. Let's just say that as navigator, I had to stay below full-time, as I could never have gone back below if I had gone on deck for a breath of fresh air.

I was going to say Holy Shit, but I stopped myself. 

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1 hour ago, ChrisJD said:

Nine gallons of holding tank capacity doesn't sound like a cruiser to me.

I appreciate the advice.  Time for a new and bigger tank, fresh hoses and maybe a Lavac vacuum head.

The head looks to be the weakest link right now.  It has an electric windlass, roller furling jibs and codes, socks on the spinnakers, watermaker, diesel heater, refrigeration, standing headroom, towed generator and a clothesline in the head.  It's a cruiser.

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4 hours ago, accnick said:

We have a 25 gallon holding tank and a fresh-water Vacuflush, which uses very little water. With two aboard,  we can easily go about 10-12 days before the red light comes on. In fairness, I often pee over the side at night when we're at anchor or on the mooring.

In the 1984 Bermuda Race, I was on a 43' IOR boat with 9 crew. The boat had a conventional seawater head and the small holding tank typical of the day. Someone forgot to turn the Y-valve to overboard discharge after we were offshore. After a couple of days, the head got harder and harder to pump until the top blew off the holding tank, after which it got very easy.

Living on a no-bilge IOR boat with 15 gallons of raw sewage swirling around in the bilge is not an experience I would want to repeat. Sort of hard to pump it out with the bilge pumps.

I'll spare you all the gory details, and there were plenty.

Most of the crew just slept on deck until the end of the race, which was no joke given the weather. Let's just say that as navigator, I had to stay below full-time, as I could never have gone back below if I had gone on deck for a breath of fresh air.

Proof that germs die at sea. 

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4 hours ago, Ajax said:

Huh? No.  I'm just commenting that 9 people sharing a 9 gallon tank would best be served by peeing overboard to avoid over-cycling the tank. There couldn't be an exception for women.

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

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I had a Lavac while I lived aboard.  Thought it was pretty good, certainly easy to maintain, but also used more water than I wished.  Last boat had a FW toilet that used less water and didn't have the classic calcification that most seawater heads have.  Electricity use is nothing in the scheme of things and the Admiral wouldn't go back to seawater heads ever again.  You do have to carry enough freshwater but that's a small price to pay overall.

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I have the Raritan Fresh Head system.  Manual pump with fresh water flush.  You can convert your old Raritan pump to this system.  I have two heads and the forward one can be switched to salt water using the anchor washdown pump.  They seem fairly robust.

As an aside, the forward head is the "tinkle" toilet and the aft one is for "2".  Have daughters and her friends onboard.  The forward head is most appreciated...

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On my boat with a 40 liter tank.  The poo will come out the vent pipe and run down the side of the boat before anything explodes.  Some people fill it more than others.  One friend seemed to take a shit every 2 hours.  it did not take long to fill the tank.  YMMV.

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My 40 footer came stock with an 8 gal tank. One of my first projects was putting in 20 gal. It wasn't enough. Last summer something plugged the vent and the pump got very hard to move. When my son in law opened.the discharge deck fitting to pump out he found out why. Blew up in his face. Now we.open that fitting.VERRRRY SLOWWWLY. 

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2 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

Sailed a J24 with one. 
 

Old crew member got a 27 footer and loaded his big wife and another big couple to sail up to see the tall ships in New York harbor back in ‘99 or so. One of them blew the whole thing up as described above on day 2 of the 3 day trip. Go big on the tank…

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2 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

I've sailed with a women that peed through the rail with no fuss whenever she was on watch. Using a device called a Shewee.  But she's a remote Alaskan woman and they make certainly them hardier !

Since then I've noticed a lot of women outdoors who are obviously using the devices.

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Our IP31 came with a 13 gal holding tank. One of the first projects was to replace it with a 49 gal tank. Much more appropriate for a crew of my wife. NY 2 daughters and I.  Appropriately, the locker where the old rank lived is now my beer locker :D

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2 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

A friend did. She would hide behind the genoa and used a sail tie tied off to the cabin top handrail as a support.  

I had a 20 gallon tank on a boat that I cruised on with 2 and it was good for 6 or 7 days. 

My current boat has a composting head which is so much simpler and easier. We fill the pee tank in a 12 hour day of racing with 8 or in about 2 days with 2 adults and 2 little kids.  Poop tank goes for over a month of cruising.  Nothing stinks to explodes.   I can’t see going back to standard marine toilets. 

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3 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

On the A3  AC boat in San Diego in 1995, with its nearly all female crew, they all hung it over the side one day sailing past one of the other AC crews, just to show they could pee over the side as well.

We were next to them on our chase boat, and I laughed my ass off. My Australian co-worker was scandalized.

They were a pretty special group of women.

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7 hours ago, kinardly said:

My 40 footer came stock with an 8 gal tank. One of my first projects was putting in 20 gal. It wasn't enough. Last summer something plugged the vent and the pump got very hard to move. When my son in law opened.the discharge deck fitting to pump out he found out why. Blew up in his face. Now we.open that fitting.VERRRRY SLOWWWLY. 

Like the rad cap on an overheated engine. :D

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6 hours ago, Alex W said:

A friend did. She would hide behind the genoa and used a sail tie tied off to the cabin top handrail as a support. 

You didn't have the common decency to rig a trapeze for her?

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7 hours ago, MikeJohns said:

I've sailed with a women that peed through the rail with no fuss whenever she was on watch. Using a device called a Shewee.  But she's a remote Alaskan woman and they make certainly them hardier !

Since then I've noticed a lot of women outdoors who are obviously using the devices.

I once had a list called "Why It's Good To Be A Man".

One of the items was "The world is your urinal". :D

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16 hours ago, 221J said:

40' cruising boat has a 9 gallon holding tank.  That seems small.  Boat has berths for 9, so with a full crew maybe 2 flushes each before fullness.  What happens if you try to put the tenth gallon of poo into a 9 gallon tank?  Is 20 gallons a reasonable size?  Boat will be kept in Stonington CT about 3-1/2 miles from the 3 mile poo dumping zone.

When I bought my Beneteau 40.7 it had this ridiculous little poo tank, something like 5 gallons. It's only advantage was that it was located midships. But for a family of four on a weekend cruise, well that's that pretty scant weekend.

Up upgrade, in spite of racing the boat, and put a larger tank in the V-berth. Life changing; we could get through a whole weekend without sweating it or needing a pumpout. Though tactical head use shoreside was always recommended, as long as we emptied the thing before races I didn't see a downside.

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16 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

I have retirement age friends who whizz off the stern of their cruising boat, wife included. They just hate dealing with pump outs and such.

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Our 40' Beneteau First 405 had one of those silly 9gal or so tanks, and a looong line from the head to the tank; maybe 12 feet.  I'd read Peggy Smith's book on pumping enough to clear the lines so they don't permeate - you'd get maybe three or four flushes.  My first cruise ever I figured out what happens with the 10th gallon - it's not pretty.  

Reading this thread makes me happier than ever with my decision to go with a composting head.  Now have two of them on our trawler, and spend 6 weeks with 7-9 aboard and no gross stories.  

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3 hours ago, socalrider said:

Reading this thread makes me happier than ever with my decision to go with a composting head.  Now have two of them on our trawler, and spend 6 weeks with 7-9 aboard and no gross stories.  

Which kind?

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2 hours ago, Slim said:

Which kind?

We put a C-head on our Beneteau 405, and have two Airheads on the CHB 41 trawler.  

C-head is simpler & cheaper, the Airhead is more expensive but a better design & more attractive.  

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On 11/11/2021 at 2:17 PM, Dogscout said:

On my boat with a 40 liter tank.  The poo will come out the vent pipe and run down the side of the boat before anything explodes.  Some people fill it more than others.  One friend seemed to take a shit every 2 hours.  it did not take long to fill the tank.  YMMV.

I was topside while my wife was pumping the toilet and discovered that tying the inflatable dinghy under the holding tank vent was a bad idea. It was her toy so she was quite upset, even though there was only a couple of quarts in it.

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On 11/11/2021 at 3:59 PM, SloopJonB said:

If you are capable of finding women who are willing to pee over the side then I take my hat off to you.

My wife and three daughters say only a male would think this a viable solution.

Based on water usage when the daughters lived at home I would say about a 1000-2000 litre tank about proper.

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We did OK with 20 gal this summer in Catalina for ten days with just my wife and 32 year old son. Pissing over the side is OK underway but not in an anchorage. Previous boat had 26 gal holding tank and we couldn't make it last 3 days with wife, daughter, son, and two nieces.

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1 hour ago, Jean-Baptiste said:

My wife and three daughters say only a male would think this a viable solution.

Based on water usage when the daughters lived at home I would say about a 1000-2000 litre tank about proper.

So you'd be happy with 2 days of tankage?

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On 11/11/2021 at 10:33 AM, Veeger said:

40 gallons is the minimum for a week for two.  Give or take.  Heads flush different volumes, frequency of use, blah, blah, blah.

20 gallons capacity is bare minimum but 30+ is preferable

This. If they think 9 gallons is enough, it is a day sailor.

20-30 gallons can work for 3-4 if they can pump out every 3-5 days and they are using marina facilities part of the time.

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22 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

So you'd be happy with 2 days of tankage?

The girls see sailing as wine drinking, snacking, nude sunbathing, gossip, laughing at their father and husbands and complaining about the weather(too cold/hot, too windy, etc etc), lack of wifi, water and other amenities.

I built a dinghy, was very good idea.

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6 hours ago, Jean-Baptiste said:

The girls see sailing as wine drinking, snacking, nude sunbathing, gossip, laughing at their father and husbands and complaining about the weather(too cold/hot, too windy, etc etc), lack of wifi, water and other amenities.

I commend the parenting strategy of raising kids on fast, wet dinghies or small keelboats.  The resulting salt in the blood vaccinates them against confusing a boat for a patio.

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16 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I commend the parenting strategy of raising kids on fast, wet dinghies or small keelboats.  The resulting salt in the blood vaccinates them against confusing a boat for a patio.

One of a long series of my failures as a father!

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