Our 31 year old leaky poop tank
After almost a week of settling back into life afloat we're ready to start working through this year's list of to-do items.
Fortunately this year's list doesn't compromise of too many critical items but there are a couple of big ones!
The biggest and most challenging is dealing with a leaky holding tank - aka "the poop tank" .
We were really fortunate that it was fine all last season and only started leaking when we flushed the tank out with fresh water just prior to leaving for the UK.
We mustn't complain though because our holding tank is made of stainless steel and is 31 years old. That's a really good age when you consider what it's holding - urine, poo & salt water, a really corrosive concoction as you can imagine!
Rust on one of the seams
Rust on another seam and in the centre of one of the flat panels
Initially we considered a straightforward swap of new for old but after receiving a quote for an identically shaped tank of 80 litres of circa €2000+vat we needed to review our options. We approached a company in the UK and they quoted about £600.... but then there was shipping and import costs to consider. Following Brexit, these costs were going to be significant so we continued to look at alternative options.
When Flirtie was built, holding tanks were virtually unheard of but now that they are standard on almost every production boat there are numerous companies out there selling off-the-shelf holding tanks. We just needed to find one that would fit the space available on Flirtie.
After scouring various company websites and downloading what seamed like dozens of pdf's we eventually came across one that we were fairly confident would fit but unfortunately it did mean we had a lot of woodwork to do. New floor supports would be needed together with a new plywood floor shaped to fit the hull. If we measured accurately and got everything right we would be left with just 8mm clearance - it was certainly going to be tight fit!
After checking and double checking our measurements we finally committed to placing the order with an Italian online chandlery www.magellanostore.it
. Five days later it was here and then the work could really commence.
Osculati 78 litre rectangular waste tank
To keep disruption to a minimum we tried to source all the materials we needed before starting. Some we purchased online from one of our now preferred chandlers in Germany www.svb24.com
(regrettably it's no longer cost effective to purchase from our preferred UK chandler's) and the rest from our local DIY store www.bricoman.it
Bricoman is about 35 minutes away by car from where we're berthed and we'd like to thank Steve and Annette from Sailing Yacht Cordelia for kindly allowing us to tag along (and fill their car boot) on one of their trips. Steve and Annette maintain a youtube channel and you can watch how their adventures unfold here with their cutest crew member Gus: youtube.com/c/SailingSVCordelia
With everything to hand it was now time to start. Rather than use words to try and detail how the project unfolded, hopefully the pictures and the supporting notes will present a clearer picture.
Shaping the floor bearers
New floor bearers glued and screwed in place & painted
The new plywood floor shaped, routed & painted
Plywood floor in place and ready to accept the new tank
Tank installed, secured & plumbed in
So there you have it, a newly installed holding tank that we hope will give us many years of service and all for less than €400. Yes, it did require a reasonable amount of work, but ultimately we think the final solution is actually better than the original - only time will tell!
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