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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Game Changers Discovered at the Boat Show

We attended the annual boat show last week and made interesting discoveries that have shifted some of the equipment plans for the Westsail.

SailVac Head System

Previously I had a design for a two head VacuFlush system running to one centralized holding tank. This design required two bowls, two vacuum generators and lots of sanitation plumbing leading from the fore and aft heads to the main holding tank. A redundant system, but requiring lots of installation effort. Then we discovered Dometic has introduced a nice all-in-one integrated VacuFlush unit designed to fit against the hull, underneath the side deck, for sailboats. I am excited to see this as I had tried, but was unsuccessful, to design a VacuFlush system to fit in a similar space with Dometic's offerings at the time. This new unit requires less parts and is more compact. The primary difference: the holding tank IS the vacuum generator, which saves a lot of space.

We are now looking at installing two of these units (one fore and one aft). Compared to the previous design, it is a cheaper unit, but will mean one more discharge pump, underwater thruhull, and deck pumpout fitting, so the difference in costs is probably offset. The upside is both systems will be completely isolated, therefore, fully redundant (ideal in case one breaks down). They do not have a 24volt version (yet). Their engineer said French sailboat maker Beneteau (for which this unit was designed) is requesting a 24 volt version. So maybe later this year.

NuTeak Artificial Teak Decking

There are a lot of artificial teak products appearing on the market. We have been strongly leaning towards one of these for the deck. I like a nice teak deck under foot, but I don't want the cost, maintenance and problems that go with a real teak deck. Unfortunately, most of the fake teak systems don't look very good. It is mostly the color. While you can't expect this stuff to look like nice silvered weathered teak, the color of baby poop is not that attractive either (most of  the teak systems we have seen look like baby poop). And, as all these offerings are UV stabilized, the color will never change. So what you see is what you get... forever.

NuTeak is the first one we have seen that has a color and texture most closest to freshly milled natural teak.


The Incredible Hull said...

I saw the new vacuflush and it looked interesting. I am still tending towards a Raritan Marine Elegance (best choice Practical Sailor)for "her" heads and the already installed Lavac for the boy heads. I have both ends of the complexity scale covered.

Ref the fake teak. Only caveat it how hot it gets in the tropical sun. I will test some next summer and report. From my past experience it gets bloody hot underfoot, even requiring footwear to walk on.

Tom Bartley said...

Did you have a look at Dek-king from ? They have an excellent product and it is cheaper.