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Category Model Model Year Author Date Posted
Head MacGregor 26X 2002 rsvpasap 2019-03-11
Natures Head and Hot Water
- I'm in a black-water No Discharge Zone (Puget Sound).
- I don't want to give up space and weight to a holding tank.
- Guests really like being able to take a hot shower at will.

Originally, I had the factory-installed manual hand pumps, a five gallon flexible water bladder and a standard five gallon port-a-potty. Then I upgraded to filtered running water, two small hard-sided water tanks and a Laveo Dry Flush. The Laveo was awesome for occasional use, but the refills are expensive for everyday use. So now the plumbing system for my 2002 26x flows like this:

Deck Fill

As always, this was the scariest part, drilling a hole in the boat. Exact placement matters due to the existing cleats, forestay chain-plate, anchor roller, chain locker and the flotation housing built into the top of the forepeak.

Five feet of hose.

120 liter Plastimo flexible "water tank" with the inlet on top and outlet on the bottom.

Flojet 03526-144A Pump, 2.9 GPM 50 PSI

All water lines are 1/2 inch PEX
I will never ever ever ever ever again use push-to-connect fittings. Ever. Those slow leaks mean a constantly wet bildge.

SAFH20 512 UV Water Filter
Previously, I pumped water through this filter directly from the Great Lakes into two small hard-sided water tanks in the bow. The water went back through the filter again when it came out of the tanks to be used. But now I'm 98% in saltwater, so that no longer applies. The SAFH20 filter is probably not strictly required since I always get water from marinas now, but I already had it so I included it in the new set-up. It provides peace of mind and eliminates the chlorine taste present in some marina potable water.

The line then splits and the cold water goes to the galley and head. The hot water line then goes to:

Bosch 4 Gallon Hot Water Heater.
This is AC (120V) and is only used on shorepower/generator. I very seriously considered the Big Kahuna Portable with the heating element as an alternative, but (1) I don't need the sprayer, (2) the BK combo is more expensive, (3) the Bosch heats the water quicker (and thus uses more power), (4) I already have a propane Aquacube for a portable shower, so the BK was redundant. Nonetheless, for an occasional hot shower, the Big Kahuna seems like an excellent option if you have AC power or an inverter.

Hot water line then goes to:
Whale Pumps S360EW 12V
I've used the Whale Pumps 12v hwh for a couple of years. It's excellent in every way, but it's only 3 gallons/11 litres. So the Bosch supplements, especially with shorepower, generator or if hot water is a priority.

Which then goes to:
Whale Marine WX1599B Seaward Thermostatic Mixer Valve
This mixes the hot water with cold to produce usable non-scalding water. I have it set at about 105F - 41C. Thus, for a shower, we turn on only the hot tap. The two water heaters combined make 6-7 gallons of 140F water, which results in about 15 gallons of shower-temperature (105F) water. It would be very unusual to use that much water.

Then to a ball-valve which reduces the hot water flow rate to about .75 gallons (3 liters) per minute. I'm still adjusting this occasionally; I want the flow set as low as we can tolerate.

The hot water line splits into two, one to the galley and one to the head. The line to the head has a valve that allows it to continue on to the cockpit if desired. I used the same garden hose size fitting in the cockpit that I used for pumping in fresh lake water back in the old-days. Hot water in the cockpit is nice, but rarely used.

In the head:

- There's faucet which is also a shower head.

- A fan-vent--light. This was an Oceanair product. Oceanair was acquired by Dometic and I'm not able to find a current link.

- Lighted power switches for the fan and light.

- A hatch door to stop shower water from running into the bildge.

- A shower drain and sump box (in the bilge aft of the head).

- The prior (still operable) solar/battery window fan, plus the new Natures Head vent.

A Natures Head.

- You need the "spider handle" for it all to fit the head correctly.

- No odor. Really.

- The Natures Head is tall, which makes one sit taller, which means your legs and feet occupy less floor space, thus making the head seem much longer. I'm 6'3" and can comfortably shower while sitting on the lid of the Natures Head.
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