Let me just start this one out by telling you all that we are SO STUPIDLY EXCITED about getting our Ranger 28. We will be in Door County, WI early Saturday to meet the owner, pay and search for any accessories and the dozen plus sails in his attic. WOW, this is happening! We have been talking about it since the day we met and it is happening now – right on schedule – three years later:)
Assuming all goes to plan (which typically would be an odd assumption, but seems to be pretty realistic right now), we will be spending Tuesday night on the boat and potentially 2-3 more nights after that. You might be wondering, is the boat ready for them? Are they ready for the boat? Well, so are we.. Here’s one thing we know we still need to figure out though – we are going to need a head (toilet) if we plan to spend any number of days, nights or hours on the boat next week.
The lack of installed head on this boat is definitely the biggest giveaway that the past owners did not live aboard this Ranger, but rater were much more focused on the racer half of “cruiser-racer“. Not only did they not have a head, but my guess is that the whole cabin really hasn’t seen too much use over the years. All the action was abovedecks as it were. Good news overall, simply because it means the interior has very little wear and tear. Bad news because there are a few obvious livability omissions that would have been taken care of 35 years ago, if this Ranger 28 was a live aboard at all – like the lack of a head.
So, we have been searching and researching marine heads, but definitely started out the process with a bias. That bias was that we were both pretty partial to idea of composting heads. The concept seems ideal from nearly every perspective and aligns quite directly with our goal of exploring liveaboard sailing as an affordable and sustainable means to explore the world and productive world citizens while doing it. All that said, the KEY for us is that we need living aboard to add as little excess stress to our lives as possible. Not splashy buckets or pails, no portapotties underneath the v-berth, and most of all no marine toilet plumbing. I have just enough plumbing competency to fix or install things occasionally -in fact, just enough to know that I want to do as little of the toilet-related type as possible. Composting toilets/heads come with all there own baggage of course, but they do not come with plumbing or “pump-outs” and those are really big pluses in our book.
The world of composting toilets is rather big now. There are huge expensive models with electronics, heaters, fans everywhere, etc., super simple units and of course the multitude of DIY models – many of which are made from 5-gallon buckets. Virtually none of these will work for our space and needs. The main limiting factors are either large size or lack of integrated ventilation. And that leads us to Composting Marine Heads, like Airhead and Nature’s Head. Designed and sold by sailboat owners/users, these super-compact units are carefully planned and replanned to meet the needs of folks staying or living on small boats – Great!
I won’t go through all the details now, but suffice it to say that we ended up ordering the Airhead today and are really excited to get it shipped and installed. Keep tuned for more details and installation and usage notes