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My wife and I enjoy sailing Lake Eire's islands. Each year,(3 now) we set modest goals designed to improve our skills and build confidence. Last year, one of our goals was to spend some time on the hook. Overnight at first then gradually building to several days. A goal that was not met.
Our boat is an '86 Catalina 30. No dinghy, no refrigeration and the stove was pulled by the PO in favor of a 120v refrigerator. No of which scares me. My "indelicate" question concerns the head. It's a hand pump Jabsco. I replaced the tired unit with a new one the first year. I've seen these on newer and more expensive boats so they must work, right? Ours has never been "put to the test" so my question is: How well do they work? I don't know if that tiny little thing is up to the challenge. And are they set up properly on the Catalina 30? (two questions, really :))

Thanks

Jeff
 

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I wouldn't call them top of the line, however, a virtually brand new one should work fine. Indelicate is using a 5 gal bucket.

Your only issue should be having sufficient holding tank space to last the duration. To keep waste lines from smelling, you must flush sufficient clear chase water to rinse them out.
 

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"Anhinga" St. Augustine
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They work very well. The key to reliable operation is to flush often. I tell my guests to flush after every "splash". Don't park yourself on it with the New York Times for 20 minutes then get up and expect a miracle. Also if its not TP, or something you have previously eaten, don't try and flush it. Worst case scenario...5 Gal bucket for backup.
 

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Agreed. You'll be fine. We have a C30 and don't feel that the holding tank or the head are inadequate for the sailing that we do or that they are set up improperly. The head has survived many of our non-sailor guests as well as the Womanship instructors and students who used the boat before we bought it.

I suggest that you pump out as frequently as possible. Sometimes I keep the seacock closed which forces the clean sink water to flow into the head and I use that to flush. Cuts down on odors somewhat.

One modification we're doing this year is to drill another vent hole in the stanchion into which the holding tank vent hose runs. Also, make sure that you keep that hose clear. We blew out some critters that had made a home inside the hose causing it to be blocked which could have caused the tank to implode.
 

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Indelicate would be a coffee can. 5 gallons is like a Cadillac. As suggested, flush with enough water. With our 30+ year old head (which needs to have some pump washers replaced again...) we find that adding water to the bowl puts less strain on the intake pump and makes flushing quicker. Don't be surprised if your holding tank fills quickly, though. For the two of us, our tank needs pumping about 1.5 times a week. (It's a small tank - we race.)
 

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People have been using marine heads for decades with precious few problems. Do a search on the subject and you'll find more than you would ever want to know about how to use it, and insure that it will give years of service.

Personally, I would say there are three major issues that you need to attend to--odors, clogs, and adequate flushing. Luckily, these are dealt with fairly easily.

Adequate flushing has been mentioned a couple of times already. Just be sure you (and guests) understand that you need to flush enough water through the system not just to empty the bowl, but to flush everything all the way through the hoses and into the holding tank.

When it comes to odors, the number one cause is inadequate venting. Be sure the vent is clear and consider adding additional venting. The more air you get into the holding tank, the less problem you will have with odors.

As for clogs, the overwhelming majority happen when people put things in the head that don't belong there. Most people try too hard to be "delicate" when explaining how to use the head. They dance around the issues, especially with guests, leaving openings for confusion and different interpretations. I lay it on the line, in no uncertain terms. What I tell guests is that they may put four things, and four things ONLY, into the head:
1. water
2. urine
3. feces
4. the TP that I have provided (and try to use as little of that as will do the job)

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE IS ALLOWED IN THE HEAD! You don't throw up in there, you don't toss trash in there, you don't spit in it, or toss kleenex in it, and you very definitely do not put any other sort of wipe or sanitary napkin in there. Those four things and nothing else.

Good luck.
 

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Irrationally Exuberant
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I know what you're saying...That hole and hose look mighty small. However, even a hand pump Jabsco pulls and pushes with quite a bit of pressure and forces improbable output down the line. Good to have a rebuild kit handy though for that sad day when things stop working :eek:
 

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Jabscos are fine.

Why dont you just go anchor for a week, eat and drink normally, and by the end of the week you will understand the fine details of this fine machine. you may even get to love it and sing the jabsco song:

"I love my little Jabsco,
Its so neat for me to pee...."
Etc for 37 verses
 
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Glad I found Sailnet
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...What I tell guests is that they may put four things, and four things ONLY, into the head:
1. water
2. urine
3. feces
4. the TP that I have provided (and try to use as little of that as will do the job)
I'd add: "For people that use a lot of toilet paper, it's no problem, just wrap it up and put it into the trash instead."

Regards,
Brad
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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3,842 Posts
Jabscos are fine.

Why dont you just go anchor for a week, eat and drink normally, and by the end of the week you will understand the fine details of this fine machine. you may even get to love it and sing the jabsco song:

"I love my little Jabsco,
Its so neat for me to pee...."
Etc for 37 verses
I love my little Jabsco
It's so neat for me to pee.
I show it to hot women
Then they want to sail with me.

Sometime two at a time.
Sometimes only one.
No matter how many gals
We always have much fun.

And my head may hurt from wine.
My head may get confused.
But my HEAD she keep a-working
No matter how much it's used.

---chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Margarita
Does the trick on shore.

----

200 miles offshore
In the nastiest of weather
My Jabsco satisfied
A Floridian name Heather.

She had eaten 3 burgers
Then a sumptuous dinner
While complaining to me
That she wasn't getting thinner.

Then I showed her my Jabsco
To easily lose 10 pounds.
So she dropped the seat
And flushed it all down.

(For we always leave the seat
Without creating a stir
Not up for him
Or down for her.)

She came out of the head
With a smile on her face
With a satified look
For my boat, my place.

---chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Fuzzy Navel
Does the trick on shore.

----

Out in the gulf stream
Big, square waves and windy
I was headed to Europe
With a buxom girl named Mindy.

(Now I'm the captain
And I let the girls know IT!
I give all the orders
And I don't take no ****!

But she was so good
I let her do the bossing
And I didn't kick her off
For this long ocean crossing)

Between shifts and watches
Love making and doting
She had that stern look
Like her back teeth were floating

We opened the head door,
Didn't heave-to or stop,
Then she jumped back in bed
With a flat-bellied flop.

----chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Sundowner
Does the trick on shore.

----

We've all heard it before.
It wasn't said on a whim.
Girls don't lie down
In boats they can't stand-up-in

Buy my Jabsco changed that
On my little tub.
500 bucks a month.
And it's time for a back rub!

---chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Painkiller
Does the trick on shore.

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Painkiller
Does the trick on shore.

----

.

Regards,
Brad
 

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Administrator
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Wow.
 

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See what happens to sailors in the off season. Its not pretty, but it is good for a laugh.

Thanks for making me smile till my face hurt at work.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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I am a full time liveaboard and had a Jabsco on first boat for 7 years. It was in daily use and I guess I rebuilt the pump with new seals about every second year.

Never a bad idea to carry a complete pump assembly as a spare, less than $50 I think.

Replace the joker valve annually.
 

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One of None
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8,040 Posts
My wife and I enjoy sailing Lake Eire's islands. Each year,(3 now) we set modest goals designed to improve our skills and build confidence. Last year, one of our goals was to spend some time on the hook. Overnight at first then gradually building to several days. A goal that was not met.
Our boat is an '86 Catalina 30. No dinghy, no refrigeration and the stove was pulled by the PO in favor of a 120v refrigerator. No of which scares me. My "indelicate" question concerns the head. It's a hand pump Jabsco. I replaced the tired unit with a new one the first year. I've seen these on newer and more expensive boats so they must work, right? Ours has never been "put to the test" so my question is: How well do they work? I don't know if that tiny little thing is up to the challenge. And are they set up properly on the Catalina 30? (two questions, really :))

Thanks

Jeff
Jeff, Good you are learning to use the hook!

The PO really hurt your boat by removing the galley gear. I didn't waste anytime getting my boat set up for cruising even though I've not been back to Chesapeake bay in 5years LOL Hot and cold water, new counter top, facet, etc. force 10 stove/oven too. (came with the boat)

I even installed 12volt refrigeration for the ice box after himNhawling about it for a few years. (retired from the HVACR biz) It's WONDERFUL!

I've a fairly new Jabsco for the head also. it's only a 15 gal holding tank and serves 3 people about 3 days (with less fiber in their diet) :laugher
 

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Standing sea water can smell if left for a few days. I have a gallon of fresh water next to the head, which I use for the final flush - seems to help. Smartest thing I saw - delightfully decadent - was a guy who connected one of his freshwater tanks to the head. Freshwater flush every time. Clearly not for cruising, but for a couple of days on the hook...
 

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Wife, 4 year old, and I spend most weekends on our boat in the summer and use wag bags in the marine head. WAG BAG® | Cleanwaste Products They are not for everyone, but neither are holding tanks and lines full of waste. The former is much easier for us to deal with than the latter. No pump outs, no odors, no waste sloshing around in a tank below our v-berth (where it's installed on our boat). For an additional perspective on them: Sailing with Lin & Larry Pardey

For what it's worth...
 

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200 miles offshore
In the nastiest of weather
My Jabsco satisfied
A Floridian name Heather.

She had eaten 3 burgers
Then a sumptuous dinner
While complaining to me
That she wasn't getting thinner.


.

Regards,
Brad
Classic stuff, Brad. Hillarious!


Mark
 

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Jabsco is definitely one of the preferred marine toilet brands for North American builders and retrofits - likely due to reliability, availability and affordability. As a former HEAD mechanic my experience is the major problem with marine toilets is lack of use and owner maintenance. A huge part of our society has an 'out of site, out of mind' frame of mind. When it comes to marine toilets, especially those getting little use and layed up for half a year ashore, preventative maintenance is key - full flush, clear user instructions & strict guidelines. If the toilet gets limited use there is little regular water flowing through to keep it clear, rubber parts deform and the lips on the joker valve tend to stick closed - as a preventative use a little mineral oil through the system at launch and lift out. The other common cause of breakdown is over working the pump - an ape failing to treat it with the respect this simple machine deserves :D
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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3,842 Posts
I love my little Jabsco
It's so neat for me to pee.
I show it to hot women
Then they want to sail with me.

Sometime two at a time.
Sometimes only one.
No matter how many gals
We always have fun.

And my head may hurt from wine.
My head may get confused.
But my HEAD she keep a-working
No matter how much it's used.

---chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Margarita
Does the trick on shore.

----

200 miles offshore
In the nastiest of weather
My Jabsco satisfied
A Floridian name Heather.

She had eaten 3 burgers
Then a sumptuous dinner
While complaining to me
That she wasn't getting thinner.

Then I showed her my Jabsco
To easily lose 10 pounds.
So she dropped the seat
And flushed it all down.

(For we always leave the seat
Without creating a stir
Not up for him
Or down for her.)

She came out of the head
With a smile on her face
With a satified look
For my boat, my place.

---chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Fuzzy Navel
Does the trick on shore.

----

Out in the gulf stream
Big, square waves and windy
I was headed to Europe
With a buxom girl named Mindy.

(Now I'm the captain
And I let the girls know IT!
I give all the orders
And I don't take no ****!

But she was so good
I let her do the bossing
And I didn't kick her off
For this long ocean crossing)

Between shifts and watches
Love making and doting
She had that stern look
Like her back teeth were floating

We opened the head door,
Didn't heave-to or stop,
Then she jumped back in bed
With a flat-bellied flop.

----chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Sundowner
Does the trick on shore.

----

We've all heard it before.
It wasn't said on a whim.
Girls don't lie down
In boats they can't stand-up-in

Buy my Jabsco changed that
On my little tub.
500 bucks a month.
And it's time for a back rub!

---chorus ---

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Painkiller
Does the trick on shore.

Oh Jabsco I love you.
You hook me up onboard
Just like a Painkiller
Does the trick on shore.

----

.

Regards,
Brad
Mark wanted 37 versus. Anyone want to add a few more?

Regards,
Brad
 
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