Holding tank installation

When our new tank had arrived it was time to start with the holding tank installation. In the previous post about our holding tank we mentioned that the water tank we planned on converting to a holding tank leaked in the old weldings, not something you want for a holding tank. So instead we abandoned the water tank and bought a plastic septic tank instead. The reason for choosing a plastic tank was because of the price and because there are no welding that will leak.

The tank we bought was almost a perfect fit in the bilge, so we were really lucky there! Once we received the tank we have continued with the installation, and thought a lot about how the installation will look like.

The two pictures below show a visualization of our holding tank installation.

Holding tank installation
Our holding tank installation seen from above.
Holding tank installation
Our holding tank installation seen from the side.

On our toilet we have a manual pump that will take the blackwater from the toilet through the orange hose in the picture to a three-way valve. From here we can either choose if we want the blackwater to go to the holding tank or straight out through the purple hose, this solution is something we will use on longer crossings. Otherwise it will pass through the green hose and into the tank. The toilet is located higher than the tank so we won’t risk having to much blackwater in the hoses, which decreases the risk of leakages and weird smells. The tank is 75 liters (19.8 gallons) so we will probably be able to use it for a while before it needs to emptied.

But when we do need to empty it our newly bought pump will suck out the blackwater from the bottom of tank via the grey hose. After passing through the pump it will go through the blue hose and out via the purple. Before reaching the purple hose the blue one takes a turn through a vacuum valve to make sure no sea water goes backwards in to the holding tank. The red hose is to ventilate the tank.

One thing that we don’t yet have is connection on deck so that we will be able to empty the tank through land. This is perhaps a later project, since now isn’t exactly the time to do holes in the boat as winter is soon here, plus we have more important tasks to do. We might have time to do it before we leave but we feel that it might be quite unnecessary for us.

What we have read the strictest blackwater regulations are found in Sweden and the Netherlands (for foreign small vessels, at least) for the countries we will be visiting. In Stockholm archipelago there are good facilities for emptying the holding tanks and they are spread out around the archipelago (which is really good!) but we don’t expect that this will be the case for most of the countries we will visit. If there is no regulations there will probably not be emptying pumps either.

Our holding tank is big enough to get us out from the coastline (and into international water if needed). It would of course be great if we could handle the blackwater properly always but that seems quite hard.

So, as a conclusion, we will add a connection if there is time for us to do so. As for the time we will spend in Sweden and Netherlands; we managed to sail this entire summer (and autumn) without a functioning toilet. There are usually a lot of outdoor toilets here that you can use instead if needed. So if we managed this summer without any toilet we can last a few weeks with a holding tank. For Netherlands, we will probably spend a lot of time in marinas, and there we can probably use a toilet if our tank is close to full.

Here comes some more pictures of how the installation actually looks.

Starting to get the holding tank in position.
holding tank installation
The holding tank with the pump and hoses (sorry for the bad quality of the picture)
holding tank installation
A closer look at the pump and the connections.
Inside the cabinet in the bathroom, where the three-way valve is located. This picture was taken before we cleaned this part, it is much cleaner now. Will show a picture of that later.
bathroom sailboat
An old picture of how our bathroom looks.

We have some final hoses to connect before we are done with the holding tank installation, and we can check of one more item on our long list of things we want to do before our departure date.

Previous posts about of our holding tank work can be found under the tag: Holding tank.


Cleaning the bilge and new holding tank plans

After we took out the water tank that would be our holding tank, some cleaning of the bilge underneath the tank was needed since it wasn’t exactly clean. We had cleaned the bilge under the engine when we took the engine out last year, but not the part of the bilge in front of the engine. If you want to read more about our engine renovation, click HERE.

When we bought Anne-Mon there was a lot of this old boat smell and when cleaning the bilge under the engine we got rid of some of the smell, but not completely. So, now when the tank is out it was a perfect opportunity to get rid of the final boat smell.

cleaning bilge
Cleaning the bilge – time!
Definitely needs some cleaning…
Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning the bilge…
Nice and clean 🙂

cleaning bilge

We also removed the styrofoam above the bilge, under the bed in the cabin, and cleaned underneath. This is the place where we will have the pump for the holding tank so nice to have it cleaned up.

Above the bilge before cleaning.
…and after!

We also did some pressure test on the water tank to test our newly welded connection and those didn’t leak, but we noticed leakages in the old welding on the tank. At first we only saw it on one place so we tried to weld it together, but it was not easy and we noticed a few other places were the tank was leaking.

So instead of trying to fix the tank we decided to buy a new one and place it where this old water tank had been. We found a plastic one online which was a good fit, so we ordered it. We will wait for it to arrive and then we will continue installing the holding tank.

Continuation of our holding tank work can be found under the tag: Holding tank.

We have also started thinking about the autopilot solution we will build, but more on that later on.

Holding tank – part one

After we sailed back to the city the first thing we did was to clean the boat up, taking down the sails, remove all the fabric inside etc. After that was done we started our first major project for the autumn, making a holding tank. As mentioned earlier we have read that in most countries there is no regulations towards holding tanks, but in Sweden (and some other european countries as well) it is if the boat has a toilet, so we will need a holding tank. It is not only because of regulations we want to have a holding tank, it is also nice to be able to swim close to the boat and empty blackwater away from anchorages and marinas and not just let it straight out.

We have thought a while what kind of holding tank we want. Our first thought was to weld a new tank and place it above the waterline. Then we would use gravity to empty to the water and connection towards deck to empty on land.

But after some thinking and investigation about this we decided to convert on of our three fresh water tanks and use it as a holding tank for black water. That fresh water tank is located close to the toilet. It is below the waterline so we will need a pump to be able to empty it.  But it is located below the toilet so we won’t risk having blackwater in the hoses from the toilet to the holding tank, as we would have with our first idea (then the tank would have been above the toilet. If you want to see an overview of our tanks and the sailboat, see the pictures on the page The Boat.

So when we had decided which solution to go with, it was time to take action. First up: removing the water tank.

Preparing to take out the water tank.
Water tank out of the bilge.
And we are out of the boat.

The tank already has connection for filling the tank and venting, but we need a new connection for emptying the tank, so time to make a hole in the tank.

holding tank

holding tank
A new hole made.

The tank is custom fitted for the bilge, which means that it is not possible to have a connection for emptying in the bottom of the tank. Instead we will use a pipe on the inside of the tank to be able to take blackwater from the bottom.

The pipe we will use to suck up blackwater from the bottom of the tank.
holding tank
Adjusting the pipe so that reaches the bottom.
Welding time 🙂
holding tank
The pipe + the muff in position on the tank.
The pipe inside the tank. The small pipe seen in the picture is the old pipe for the fresh water, which we had to cut in order to make room for the bigger pipe.
Here we will pump black water up from the bottom of the tank.

Next up will be to continue welding, test the pump, do some pressure testing on the tank and getting the tank in position together with the pump and all fancy hoses we just bought.

Continuation of our holding tank work can be found under the tag: Holding tank.


Presentation of our Powersurvivor 80-ii water maker

Finally we have received our “new” Powersurvivor 80-ii water maker! We bought it second hand, it has had two owners in the past but has never been installed. It is an older version (the newer one is called Powersurvivor 80E-ii).

It runs on the 12V system, meaning the solar panels, so we don’t have to start the generator or the engine in order to produce water. This is possible since this model reuses energy in a way the most other water makers just waste over a pressure valve. When this is installed Anne-Mon will become a pretty much self-sustained boat (except the diesel, but with our enormous tanks running out of diesel is probably not an issue) and we will be able to sail to distant shores.

If you want to read more about the other equipment we got for our sailboat so far, click on the link HERE, or navigate to Cost & Information -> Sailboat Equipment. 

powersurvivor 80-ii watermaker
Our Powersurvivor 80-ii water maker 🙂 From the left; the main pump, chemicals in the bottom, on the top of the picture is the osmosis filter, below the osmosis filter we have some extra pre-filters and below them is the pre-filter housing , to the rightmost side in the picture is the salinity monitor. On thing that is missing is high pressure hoses, which we will have to buy.

Below in the blog post you can read some more about our thoughts about installing the water maker, but first lets tell what more we did last weekend after our sail.

When we got back from our weekend sail to Lådna we stayed at the boat for a while to do some work. First thing we did was to finish our hot water system, the only thing left to do was to put the expansion tank to the engine cooling system in position. Our water heater is located higher than the engine and that is why we needed to add the expansion tank to raise the cooling level. That was necessary to be able to heat our water heater without adding an extra circulation pump.

We have mentioned it earlier but our water heater is extended with a beer keg for extra volume, which we have added some extra isolation on.

An old picture of the water heater under the sofa in the galley, before we added insulation. To the left is the water heater and to the right is a small fuel tank for the diesel stove heater. Beneath the water heater and the small fuel tank we have one of our water tanks.
A picture from this winter when we had the beer keg water heater out to isolate it.

We put the expansion tank for the engine in position and tried it, but at first it didn’t work. The issue was that it was very difficult to bleed the hoses going to the heater.

We had to empty the cooling system and change the position of the bleeding valve to be able to get the system up and running.  After change the valve position we filled up the system, bled it ant it was up and running. We now have hot water production when we run the engine 🙂

Standard boatwork position? Emptying the cooling system to be able to change the point of bleeding. 

After we were finished we continued with trying to figure out how we want to have the fresh water system with our new water maker and a solution for the holding tank. Lets start with the fresh water system:

We have 3 water tanks in total, approximately 350 liters (92 gallons) in total (picture of how our tanks are located can be found under About/The Boat ). Our idea is that we want to separate one of the tanks to be used to fill water when running the water maker, as a kind of production tank. The other two tanks will be service tanks. Whenever necessary the service tanks will be filled up with the newly made water from the production tank. This way if the water from the water maker should be contaminated in some way, it won’t contaminate the entire fresh water system. The water will also be kept in motion by having this system.

Our ideas for the holding tank is to weld our own tank that fits in one of the cabinets in the bathroom. We will pump from the toilet up and into the holding tank. It will be possible to empty the tank from deck and by gravity to the sea. In Sweden it is law that all boats with toilet needs a holding tank, and it is not allowed to empty them in the ocean within 12 nautical miles from the coast. Do far, we haven’t used our toilet yet, since the thru-hull is stuck and we don’t have a holding tank. But there is also a lot of places to empty holding tanks in Stockholm archipelago. When leaving Sweden this might be different, at least that’s what we read. We will probably have to empty at sea, since there are few places to empty the holding tanks properly. A holding tank seems like a good investment anyway, so that we don’t have to drop black water near the coasts, at beautiful anchorages or in harbors, and we will be able to empty it properly whenever possible.

This weekend we have other things planned, so no boatwork for us. But we will still continue thinking about how to solve the water system and for the holding tank. We are also trying to find a new furling genoa, but no luck so far on the second hand market.