Author Topic: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments  (Read 1536 times)

Offline littlewing

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1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« on: March 28, 2016, 07:32:00 PM »
 I trailer sail our precision 18, with our longest, and favorite, trip being the North Channel (Canada) every year.  I'm looking at getting bigger and easier to handle, thus going to see a 2002 HC next week.  Two questions for you guys (gals):

1) anyone have any issues with, or favorable comments on, the Westerbeke 7A one used on these early boats?  Reliability, maintenance, power?
2) anyone plumb a MSD for deck pump out, or fit a composting head to their HC?  Good or bad experience?  Satisfied?  Seeing that the HC is big enough for a head, I figured we probably ought to try and comply with Canadian regs. 

Offline Craig

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 01:47:53 PM »
Porti-Potti! Would not consider a composter for our HC. Unless you are taking and extended cruise with no disposal sites available the Porti-Potti should work just fine. Easy to empty, even into a toilet if needs be. We have never had an odor problem either. Just use plenty of chem. A holding tank system can be a nuisance and the tank will take up valuable storage space.
Craig, Horizon Cat "Kailani"  Punta Gorda, FL

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 04:53:06 PM »
Littlewing,

Westerbeke:
No experience with the Westerbeke, but as far as I know all single cylinder diesels vibrate a lot. Some folks are OK with that and may even like it, but if you are looking for smooth and quiet you'll probably be disappointed.  I think you will find there is a love hate relationship with the Westerbekes, that is some love them and others hate them. I believe the Westerbeke company is now owned by Universal, and uses different engines including Kubota and maybe Mitsubishi. Horizon Cats were available with outboard power, and I wouldn't be too sad with a Yamaha 9.9 Thrust on the back. Nice motor. I actually considered a HC at one time and decided I would get an outboard for the following reasons: leave more storage space in the boat, less noise in the boat, no heat in the boat, ease of service and replacement when necessary. Of course the cost is much less as well and more than pays for any extra fuel consumption compared to the diesel. I suppose many just don't like the aesthetic aspect of outboards, but if you get past that then an outboard on a small boat makes a lot of sense.

MSD:
I have had plenty of experience with porta-potties, and they have become one of my few hated things about small boat cruising. I guess they are fine for day sailing, but someone has to empty it and that task typically falls to the skipper. For extended cruising, they do fill up pretty quickly and it is sometimes difficult to find a location to empty them, generally pump out stations don't have facility for emptying portables. Almost everyone I know that has used a portable has a tale about a nasty mishap while emptying it, myself included. If you empty into a septic system the chemicals used in the portable may cause damage to the operation of the septic system, and so most marinas seem to frown upon the practice. I hate sneaking into the mens room carrying a full potti and when you upend into the toilet, the fellow in the next stall makes a quick exit. Not a pleasant task.

I completely agree with Craig that a regular MSD will take up a lot of space and as you mentioned, I understand Canadian rules for discharge are much more stringent than the US, as in nada. If you get stopped in US waters for a Coast Guard check they will inspect your overboard "Y" valve and if it isn't secured in the closed position you may get written up. Even if you are outside of the no discharge zone, most MSDs don't have the plumbing to allow a discharge of the holding tank. A regular MSD is great for offshore cruising, but not great for small boats and coastal cruising.

You may wish to consider a composter as they have several advantages. They are pretty much self contained, go a long time between recharging (no pump outs), have no odor, and are much better for the environment. Plus they generally have a full size seat.
My 23 pilot house came with a standard MSD, and I plan to replace it this year with a C-Head while on the hard. The MSD has proven to be a real pain, especially because of needing frequent pump outs. I believe the C-Head will fit the location for the portable in the HC, although height may be an issue. However since it's not under the v-berth you could afford to modify the cover to fit.  It is the smallest and least expensive of the three major players. I also like that it's easily serviced and easy to repair if needed. take a look: http://www.c-head.com/

Keep us updated if you would,
Ron
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline littlewing

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 06:01:09 PM »
First off, thank you Ron and Craig for responding.

The reason for the diesel is ease of use.  Hanging over the transom to raise and lower an outboard, getting it started, and controlling the shift in close quarters, is a pain in the butt for me, and totally not doable for my wife. (We're approaching retirement age.)  I understand the noise and vibration and in-cabin heat concerns, and may indeed hate all three if I end up getting one, but I don't want to get stuck out in the wilds or rely on outside help if I get disabled.  I know, there are outboard electric starts, power tilts, remote controls, etc, but those get big.  Carting around my Honda 5hp is no joy.

I was looking at the Westerbeke users manual.  The alternator belt is aft and disappears down into the engine.  I have no idea how you change it out.  Look at this.

https://www.westerbeke.com/advanced%20specs/7a_one_sales_literature.pdf

As for the head, a porta potti is definitely a no go for Canada.  Even if you have one, finding someplace to dump it is an issue whether in the states or Canada.  And frankly, I don't want to sneak around with a suitcase full of poop looking for a dump site.  It's bad enough getting rid of 3 or 4 days worth of wag bags.   An MSD porta potti on the other hand can be used both ways.  Removed and dumped by hand (useful at end of season), or plumbed to a deck fitting for pumping out.  Example: Thetford 550P.  Composters get rave reviews online.  Everyone seems to be happy with them.  However they are more expensive.  I'll check out the C-head, and when I go see the boat, I'll be sure to take measurements.

bruce


Offline Tim Gardner

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 08:21:34 PM »
I have a Sun-Mar Composting toilet on my Lighthouse Dock.  They make a marinized version.  I've owned it for 16 years, Love it.  It is a zero discharge toilet that needs drawer cleaning once a season (6 months here in VA.)  The marine version uses a carbon filter on the vent stack to forestall odorous unpleasantness.  Check em out at http://www.sun-mar.com/prod_self_mobi.html

TG
"The sea is selective, slow at recognition of effort and aptitude, but fast in sinking the unfit"  - Adm Felix Riesenberg.

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 08:48:53 PM »
Bruce:
I was surprised to hear someone else has used the Wag Bag solution. I used them on my trimaran because the total weight was less than anything else, and I could keep the whole thing, bucket and all in the float so I never had odor in the cabin. Never had any nasty accidents like the port potti. The space that would have been used for a head was valuable storage space in a small cabin. I did find that women were kind of put off by the idea of sitting on a bucket and doing it in a plastic bag, but the same ones prefer hotels to tent camping - go figure.

You know, I had given thought to the kind of portable deck pump out you referred to, which would be nice if you had a pump out station nearby. In our area there is a pump out boat that circulates around the marina before embarking on it's pump out journey around the harbor. You can't get any better than that. Don't even have to move your boat, but otherwise it's a pain unless you make frequent stops at marinas which can seriously eat into your cruising time. I don't stay in that marina and haven't been successful in meeting up with that boat yet.

As far as the engine is concerned, there are remote controls for the 9.9 that mount right on the steering console of the HC, yes they come with power tilt, but I do understand where you are coming from and besides I'm sure waiting for the availability of an outboard model could be Rumpelestiltskin endeavor. So if you don't like the noise (do any sailors) then you'll just have to resort to sail. Gee don't we sometimes almost forget that these are sailboats?

Tim:
Thank you for that information, I seem to have missed that one in my web searches. I'll have to check it out.
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Craig Weis

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2016, 12:19:58 AM »
If it runs and you understand finicky engines nothing wrong with a Westerbeke.
Points, plugs, condenser, spark, fuel, compression, timing, pristine carburetor and a good water cooling pump ... if it has those, it's got to run. Says so in the book.
 
Diesels stink, especially if 'down below'... I passed up a Com Pac twenty three because of the fuel oil smell.

Try keeping an 86 year old flat head inline four cylinder 40hp Model 'A' Ford running ... darn thing starts faster then my '07 Jeep Commander.

As to using a head ... usually don't, if it can be avoided. [sorry EPA. I'll use the potty when the fish do.]

craig.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 12:58:04 AM by skip »

Offline frank

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 07:09:43 AM »
Skip Skip Skip.....

Diesels don't have spark, points or plugs. :)

Clean fuel, clean injector and good compression = good to go
Small boats: God's gift to young boys and older men

Offline Craig Weis

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2016, 09:07:01 AM »
I'm glad there is a smiley face with this comment below.
~skip be well aware of what diesels don't have.

And unless these churns are housed in an air tight box or there is a bulkhead 'tween the engine room and living room ... they stink.

Especially after the fuel filter is changed or the injectors or fuel pump is bleed.

One subzero winter me and my college roommate helped a trucker who's MAC tractor died right in front of the rest area on route 74 between Peoria and Normal, Illinois.
Several trips back and forth to town for many quarts of ATF [automatic transmission fluid] filled the spin-on fuel filters and she ran on that ATF until used up.

The real problem with the MAC was a tiny drive shaft the size of a little finger in diameter that sheered in half and failed to drive the fuel pump ... but that was not found until the refer box was dropped [full of seed potatoes] and the tractor's drive shaft removed and towed away to a Mac mechanic's shop. We took the driver under our wing for three days letting him sleep in our dorm room, shower, and fed him, and took him to a pharmacy for his insulin refills that his wife arranged over the phone.

Plus we had to go back to the trailer and fuel up the Carrier heating/cooling unit to save the load.   After he motored away, we found a $100 dollar bill tucked away in our room.

https://youtu.be/Wm8cv5stNKc

craig.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 09:14:46 AM by skip »

Offline archimedes

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 12:43:04 PM »
https://www.westerbeke.com/advanced%20specs/7a_one_sales_literature.pdf


It's interesting how they describe the lack of a heat exchanger as an asset rather  than a liability.  I know very little about diesels,  but if you are sailing in saltwater I would think that would be a concern.

Did all of the small ComPacs, with diesels,  come with raw water cooled engines?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 01:21:35 PM by archimedes »

Offline littlewing

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 02:42:56 PM »
I've never experienced one, so, you guys with diesel inboards, do you agree with Skip that they stink?  You happy with yours? Do I need to modify my thinking?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 02:44:40 PM by littlewing »

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 12:17:29 AM »
Littlewing,

My 23 ph came with a Yanmar, and as far as I know all Yanmar marine diesels are fresh water cooled. I suppose it's a question of eventually having to replace a heat exchanger or engine, of course it would be cheaper to replace the exchanger.

Any liquid that vaporizes has the potential to smell. If you spill perfume in your boat it will smell. A leak in the fuel system or sloppy work when servicing the fuel system will provide the spill, so yes if diesel is spilled in a boat or anywhere else it will smell, as will gasoline, and a whole bunch of other liquids. So the fact is that diesel smell in a boat isn't a diesel engine problem, it's a maintenance problem. One thing that is helpful is to put a diaper under the work area to catch spills so the fuel doesn't run into places that will hard to reach and clean up. A few years back it was common for sailboat auxiliaries to be gasoline (Atomic 4) if you didn't maintain the fuel system the results could be far worse than diesel smell.

My 23 is fairly new and has been properly maintained and there is no smell of diesel. I also keep it well ventilated so there is no smell of mildew. I also maintain the MSD ( now that I have learned how to) and there is no smell.

I am very happy with mine and from what I have gathered from others, as long as you do proper maintenance it will be extremely reliable and run forever. I especially like the high output alternator as it can recharge the batteries very quickly compared to a typical 5 -10 amp output from an outboard. When a boat is small enough that an outboard option is practical, it will be much less expensive than a diesel powered model, and that is the primary reason most small boats are gas outboard powered. Of course when weight is a critical factor or where there is simply not enough room then the easiest alternative is a transom hung outboard. I have nothing against outboards especially something like a Yamaha 9.9 Thrust. Just make sure to use non-ethanol fuel in the small outboards or you will most likely have carburetor problems.

 
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Craig

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2016, 11:11:38 AM »
We have the 14hp Yanmar in Kailani and love it. No diesel smell at all. Have used bio additives from day one to keep the system clean. The Yanmar is relatively quiet and starts instantly. I guess I am in the minority on the porta-potti. Just lucky I guess. The space/access issue in the HC is a factor for any type MSD. A composter would be less of a problem on a larger boat. The forward(head) compartment is a little tight especially headroom(no pun intended!)
Craig, Horizon Cat "Kailani"  Punta Gorda, FL

Offline littlewing

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Re: 1) MSD or composting; 2) Westerbeke comments
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2016, 03:13:33 PM »
First, a shout out to a builder that readily supports their boat owners (and non-owners).  Gerry Hutchins has quickly responded to all my questions and has been a big help.  You folks are very lucky to have such a responsive boat builder. (As is Bart at Precision.)

I'd like to pass on what I've learned so far.

The Westerbeke 7A one is a marinized Farymann.  Judging from photos and specs, I believe this to be the unit.  http://www.farymann.de/en/18WMarine.aspx This little one is still being made!  Gerry said the concern about the unit was a small quantity of early models had an issue and were all quickly replaced by Westerbeke.  Not fixed, replaced.  The only on-going issue Gerry mentioned, and the only issue I've gleaned from web searching, is the alternator belt.  It disappears into the bell housing and apparently is typically replaced with a linked version.

As for the head, the original portable sits 12" high.  Dometic Sealand makes a couple MSD portables that are 12" high and might be doable.  (MSD designation means it can be plumbed for deck pump out.  Portable means it can be removed from the boat.)  The shortest composter I've found is the C-head shorty, which is 15" high.  I’ve never seen the head area on a HC (let alone a HC at all... yet), but I'm sure it's tight and this may be too tall.

As for diesel smell….sounds like if you clean up after your spills, all will be fine.

Again, thanks for all the responses.  It’s been fun and informative.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 04:59:33 PM by littlewing »