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 Plumbing systems cater for freshwater storage and distribution, river water for washdown, bilge and salvage pumping, fire fighting and tank rinsing, foul water collection, storage and discharge plus of course the central heating system.  In the engine room there are two manifolds to povide suction from and discharge to several locations.  On the suction side, river water can be drawn in, as can fresh water from the tanks, and bilge suctions from aft cabin, engine room and saloon.  On the discharge side, the black and grey tanks can be rinsed or filled, the upper deck washdown can be supplied or a discharge overboard.  These manifolds are serviced by a 240v 750w centrifugal self priming pump.


     Fresh water storage consists of 4 rubber bag tanks under the saloon floor.  They are interconnected fore and aft to provide independent port and starboard tanks.  Total capacity is just over 6000 litres.  Water is supplied through 38mm pipes to the freshwater pump which can be either 24v or 240v via a water meter to monitor consumption.  Cold water then supplies the calorifiers in the engine room and airing cupboard.  In the engine room a twin coil 46 litre calorifier with a 1kW immersion heater supplies the aft cabin shower, washing machine and galley.  A 2nd 146 litre single coil calorifier with 3 kW immersion heater in the airing cupboard supplies the bathroom and fwd cabins.  The 1 kW immersion is fine for a small tank, but would be totally ineffective in trying to heat a 146ltr tank - so a domestic 3kW immersion is fitted.

Black Water

The heads can either discharge directly overboard or into the black water tank, capacity approx 2800 litres.  The aft head was selected on both the KISS and bargain principles.  It is a Blakes Lavac Zenith manual pumped head purchased for the grand sum of 10 at a Dutch boat jumble.  As a refinement to its normal mode of operation, it draws its water from a standard 6 litre domestic toilet cistern rather than using river/canal water.  This provides freshwater for flushing automatically without having to manually open valves or worry about anti syphon loops. The forward head is an Exalto 24v Mariner 45 electric turbine/macerator unit.   The black water tank is emptied by a 240v industrial trash pump.  Due to the size of the tank, I did not both to attempt a suction pump out facilty.  The tank can also be used as a ballast tank.  Black water tanks will be treated with Toi-blet - a Dutch product designed to break down waste.  I understand that the EA in UK will shortly allow the residue from tanks treated with Toi-Blet to be discharged into the rivers and canals.

Grey Water

 Again, showers, bath, basins and sink etc can either be discharged directly overboard or into the grey water tank, capacity also approx 2800 litres.  The grey water tank is also emptied by the 240v trash pump.  This tank can also be used as a ballast tank.  Sump tanks are used in the aft shower and bathroom.  These tanks were made using good sized storage containers and the inlets are compatible with domestic 32 and 40mm plumbing.  Tanks are emptied by Whale Gulper pumps, operated by Jabsco air pressure switches - which I anticipate will be more reliable than the conventional semi submerged bilge pump switches found in most sump tanks.  The bath has its own dedicated Gulper pump.  The kitchen sink drain is by gravity discharge.


5 separate systems are fitted for pumping out bilges.  24v pumps with auto float switches are installed in the stern gland space, engine room and saloon.  Fixed bilge pumping using the 240v general service pump with 11/2 inch suction lines are fitted to the aft cabin, engine room and saloon bilge.  A manual pump is installed in the wheelhouse with suction to the engine room and saloon.  Finally, a portable petrol powered 200l/min pump is available for bilge pumping.  A manual stirrup pump is available for the forepeak and tiller flat.  Washing machine water alarms are also in bilges where moisture might accumulate.  These provide very early warning and a long time before a bilge pump float activates.  They are the water equivalent of a smoke alarm.  A remote water sensing alarm is fitted in the forepeak bilge.  In Aug 08 I carried out a failed stern seal trial with the bilge pump in the shaft seal compartment.  Reassuringly, the bilge pump pumped out the water faster than it came in through the leaking seal.

Upperdeck washdown  

A recent purchase from Leroy Merlin, a French "Homebase" but better, was a small 240v 250w pump which is designed for putting in a rain water butt.  It is equally useful dangling over the side and using as an upper deck washdown. [Oct 08]

Hull Openings

Hull discharges below the waterline are protected by stainless steel ball valves, those above the waterline either by PVC or chrome plated brass ball valves.

Lockers and hatches

Cable bins and hatches are fitted with their own drains overboard.


The forepeak and steering gear compartment have fixed vents through the deck.  The bilges under the main saloon and cabins are ventilated with trunking from the roof.  Two solar fans continually exhaust air from the spaces and 3 vents allow air to be drawn in.  In addition there are 3 solar fans fixed in the Gebo hatches which are also set to exhaust from the living accomodation.   The house battery box has an exhaust fan to remove gases during charging.  An engine room intake duct supplies air through a Vetus grille, a cowl ventilator and the port waist access hatch.   Electric fans will be used instead of air conditioning and the saloon and master cabin has sufficient headroom for a traditional ceiling fan.

The battery box has its own ventilation system leading to outside the superstructure.  A 5 inch DC brushless fan runs whenever the battery is above 28.6 volts and is switched on by the Victron inverters.  This can be run at effectively 2 speeds, depending on the connections.  I am hoping that the lower speed will be sufficient.  Vent runking is standard 110mm x 54mm PVC trunking.


After much deliberation, I had decided on a Merlin 2000 domestic pressure jet oil boiler.  The manufacturers were most content with marine use and have several boilers installed in barges.  The only drawback appeared to be that to run on diesel I would need the 60/80 model - a slightly larger boiler than the 40/60 I was originally planning to use - all apparently due to oil jet size required for diesel and lack of oil preheater in the 40/60.  I then found a secondhand Kabola B17, which has nozzle pre heating, and went for that.  The boiler was originally planned to be housed in a cupboard in the aft cabin, but in late 2006 I decided that it should really go in the engine room.  Due to a slight mix up during the steel build, the port and stbd diesel tanks had been transposed with the result that there was now excellent access to the port waist through the engine room hatch but the gap between the stbd tank and aft ER bulkhead was smaller than designed and too small to take the domestic battery - as originally planned.  The B17 is listed as being 405mm wide, but this did not include the CH pipe connections protruding a good 50mm each side.  The gap in the engine room was 400mm wide and could not be readily enlarged.  I reckoned that I could cut off the pipe connections, weld plates over the holes and weld new connections on front and back.  After a chat with Kurunda, this was confirmed feasible.  Once the welding was completed, the boiler was pressure tested to 5 bar and repainted.  The rather thin original 30mm rockwool insulation was replaced with Wickes Heavy Duty 30mm rockwool.  After moving the pipes and chopping off the integral legs of the heavy steel base, the boiler was now 398mm wide.  In the chosen spot there was also space for the pressure tank, tucked out of the way, and a silencer to the deck fitting and external double walled flue pipe.  Another advantage of the Kabola is that the external exhaust flue is only 90mm diameter, domestic boiler flues are considerably wider and anything up to around 175mm.  Getting the boiler into the engine room was quite an evolution involving lowering on a chain hoist down through the ER waist hatch and sliding the boiler along ladders - with only a few mm to spare.  Sliding it in to position across the engine room was also tight and it is now a very snug fit.  Once installed, it was then a matter of connecting the exhaust flue, diesel fuel and central heating system - which all took some time.  The pipework around the boiler is copper as it is a neater job than speedfit and copes better with the temperatures, but speedfit has been used almost exclusively elsewhere throughout the vessel. Speedfit has proved to be been extremely quick to install and much more forgiving in terms of bends etc than copper.  The diesel fuel supply is fitted with a thermostatic fire valve, with the sensor inside the burner housing.  Coolant is 40% antifreeze.  So far 11 of 14 radiators have been installed and during the very cold weather in Feb 07 the heating has been excellent.  The radiators so far cannot radiate the heat faster than the boiler heats up the coolant, and so the duty cycle is low.  The faint roar as the boiler fires up is most reassuring - and the engine room is definitely the right place for a boiler.  A domestic programmer is used with a room stat and 2 cylinder stats on the hot water cylinders.

Dec 07.  Again after much thought a multi fuel stove was decided on in order to provide a measure of redundancy.  From the plethora of 4/5kw stoves available, a Charnwood Cove 1 was selected with the optional store stand.  This is installed in the saloon and the manufacturer's installation instructions have been carefully considered.  On the wall/structure sides of the stove masterboard was used to cover the wall.  This in turn is tiled with hearth tiles fixed in place with an adhesive compromising 50% fire cement and 50% flexible tile adhesive.  The masterboard is mounted with an air space between the plywood and itself with ventilation holes so that all will be cooled by convection.

May 08.  Recent refinement to the system has installed a Bowman lube oil tubular heat exchanger into the central heating circuit supply pipe from the Kabola B17.  The engine calorifier connections now supply the heat exchanger with hot water, so that the entire central heating circuit is heated by the engine rather than just the engine room calorifier.  A delay relay is fitted so that the 240v CH pump only switches on after 15 mins or so, once the engine has got up to working temp.  The generator will now supply the calorifier coil that the engine used to supply, although I am now looking as using another tubular heat exchanger in the CH circuit for the generator.

Oct 08.  In a bid to get our new cold fill Bosch washing machine elec consumption down to that of our old hot and cold fill machine at home, I built a water control system which will fill the machine with hot water at the start of the cycle and then use cold water for the rinse periods.  A diagram is here.  The required temp is set on the the TMV in this pic.  With experience, the initial water temp needs to be higher than the wash temp to allow for cooling in the machine, otherwise the heater will cut in.  I do not want to disconnect the heater as when motoring there is no problem with the washing machine using electricity and heating water.

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