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Date: 20 October 2014. Head Hints (and engine update)

When going to the store is a problem and the brands I want are impossible to find, solutions must be considered. Those of us living on boats do a bit of thinking dirt dwellers probably don't consider. For me, that manifests itself when it comes to shopping for and stowing quantities toilet paper.

That's one reason friends with cars are such a treat. I might buy a six pack of I.B.C. diet root beer if I have a way to get it home easily. George (Pat's husband) has brought me back to the boat from stores more than one time. Their beautiful dogs, Asti and Monti (two Australian shepherds) are friends with my Skipper.


Asti is the blue-eyed girl at the front. Her brother Monti is behind her.

After being dropped off at the boat however I need a place to store the toilet paper. The requirements are twofold:

  1. Easily accessible, and in a place where it cannot get wet. (not in my bilge)

  2. Out of the way too. Basically, I wanted my T.P. put away, and near where it is needed.

Sure, Charmin is light weight, however toilet paper is bulky. Also, I have a compulsion to keep my home neat and tidy. That means things have to be stored properly. [Definition of properly: where it cannot move when the boat rocks.]

But I also had another consideration. Originally the bowl of the head was below the waterline. I feared that a hose leak might allow water to flood Seaweed so wanted to raise the head higher. After much consideration a friend, Tom McArthur, created the neatest wooden box for me.

Built several years ago, it is still working well and is sturdy. I like it a lot. Thanks Tom!

The wooden box is attached to both the platform it sits upon and the bulkhead on the right. Lots of stainless screws, bolts and nuts are involved. It's secure and stable. The Lavac (brand of head) is through bolted too.
 

The observant may notice a few things so here's what you're seeing:

 

A Raid bait tray for roaches is along the hull at the back. I don't have any and attribute that to the fact that I keep the trays around.

 
Also I took an old glass spice shaker, filled it with cotton then added some liquid potpourri oil. (It's usually standing up -- oops!) This works like those fancy aroma gizmos they sell at department stores. Those usually have a couple of bamboo sticks in them to diffuse the scent.

Advice: Skewers sold in the dollar stores are made from bamboo and work well. Also, if you're aboard a boat you'll want to make sure your lid is stainless so it won't rust.

I've got a second one in my clothes locker with a cotton aroma. It's not overpowering with the shaker lid and the cotton keeps the liquid well absorbed so even if it tips over (unlikely) nothing will come out.

 
In the picture above I have a pair of old shoes next to my 12-volt (automobile) vacuum. Those sneakers will be donated to the local thrift store shortly as I found a couple of Sperry's on eBay for cheap and goodness knows two pairs of deck shoes will suffice.

Besides, my daughter objects to me wearing the same brand as her toddler. To my defense, I do wear a size 3.5 and there are not a lot of options in that size that seem appropriate for adults.

 

This wooden box was a boat project completed many years ago and we used what was on hand to create the locker. I had the long piano hinge in my stash. The stainless latch too came from ship's stores. On a boat things move and making sure they don't is critical for safety -- thus the latch.

The only "problem" I had upon completion was opening it and keeping it so for filling. That's why I added the round eye-bolt to the bottom right corner. I can attach a line to that and tie it open when needed. [I did not want the door to flop down because if it opened unexpectedly the door could be broken and stuff could more easily come out.]

 


What is best however is what is inside my locker. It's the exact height of toilet paper rolls on edge and, well, take a peek:

Tom knew that the weight of the head would be atop this wooden box so he reinforced it with a support down the middle. It's exactly right. I can take my Charmin and squeeze the rolls, fitting three across on each side. The locker fits a lot of toilet paper and I love it.

The unintended consequence of crushing your rolls is that they won't spin properly. Therefore I took a short piece of white hose that is nearly the diameter of the center and now I've solved that problem. The hose allows dispensing with ease.

Additionally, I took a piece of white oak (a leftover from another project) and drilled holes in each end. A bit of twine, a couple of knots and two eye-bolts attached to the medicine locker later... voila: one rail for both my toilet paper and a towel for drying my hands at the sink in the head.

It's not fancy, but it works.

It's the "little things" like storage and added safety that make my Seaweed special. By raising the head above the waterline I have eliminated one source of flooding. Specifically, with the help of a fellow boater my home is safer.

Tom McArthur was certainly was a gem to make that locker for me. He's got five wonderful kids. You can tell a lot about a man by his family and his are great. Plus Tom owns a Bristol 24 sailboat.
 

Status of the engine swap, circa October 2014:


Dennis is a new friend who has made this engine fiasco much less stress-filled than I thought possible. He owns Yanmar Tractor Parts and has shipped me a Kubota 18hp diesel. Originally intended for a tractor, the motor is small, light weight and the perfect horsepower for my Seaweed.

Also required before installing in the boat were both a bell-housing and flex plate for the transmission. These must be manufactured and were not available "on the shelf" so to speak. Approximately six weeks ago the components were ordered. The latest email says in part "We are unable to ship on the date promise 10/16/14 due to inventory being incorrect. Our new ship date is scheduled for 10/28/14."

It's a boat, and stuff always takes longer than anticipated.

Thank goodness that not all businesses are like that. For instance, when Yanmar Tractor Parts said they'd ship out my engine, they did so. Indeed, that occurred on the same date as promised. I appreciate a company that does what it says, when it says it will do so. If you've a Yanmar, check 'em out.

Yanmar Tractor Parts: http://yanmartractorparts.net

Truly, I am blessed. But most of all, I look forward to having the diesel from Yanmar Tractor Parts installed in Seaweed. Let the cruising begin!


Life is wonderful afloat and I intend to enjoy it. Fellow boaters have helped make my experience better and I certainly appreciate the efforts of others on my behalf in that regard.

I'd love to hear where you store your rolls of toilet paper aboard.
Are you cruising domestically where your brands are available with relative ease?

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