When you are sailing you are pretty much thrown back on your own resources
+ those that come with the boat.
Problems require in-house solutions – hence the manic daily cleansing of
the galley + the heads to stop us all going down with the scurvy/ships
plague/Jamaican gips or whatever.
Manic maintenance is also a feature of race-end stop-overs – blocks,
winches, engine, generator, water-maker, the works – all get a good going
over. (Understandably not done voluntarily at sea for fear of loosing some
or many of all those little parts.) However even a religious observance of
maintenance doesn’t stop the corrosive power of seawater + stuff happens!
We have had an on/off relationship with our water-maker which thanks to the
talents of our engineer Mick is a 60/40 one i.e. on the right side of
working + we have soldiered through – mother watch showers (the reward
for 24 hours of submariner sailing (cooking + cleaning)) are confined to 1
A scarcity of water however is nothing compared to no heads. Yesterday the
shit did not so much as hit the fan as get stuck in the pipe. Yesterday the
whole crew pulled together in an act of enlightened self interest – it was
emergency heads resuscitation day!!!
This involved dismantling the heads. The problem is that seawater + urine
have an interesting habit of causing the heads to suffer angina. This magic
mix chemically reacts to produce a crystalline precipitate which lines the
evacuation pipe + finally leads to system failure.
There was a lot of grumbling in the boys’ camp about women’s things +
sanitary products – but none of it. Not the girls. Basically the problem
was grid-locked number 2s!
The solution? Simple – dismantle the toilet + then literally beat the shit
out of the pipes, reassemble + dredge out those bilges.
We now have two as-new squeaky clean functioning heads (apart from when
sailing at extreme heal when one or other decides to falter – basically
toilets function best on the level).
So we are in action. Long may this functioning arrangement continue!