We decided to give the boat a little Christmas gift–new companionway doors!
The teak boards we had were never ideal. They were heavy, awkward, and cumbersome to move. Usually we just left them in place and stepped up and over them when we had to get in and out of the boat. Scout probably hated them the most, and lifting her over them was uncomfortable for everyone. The boards also let in a fair amount of draft on windy days, and the outside panels were pretty weathered from rain and sun. They were the only amount of teak we had on the outside of the boat, and to be honest, it looked kinda funny. Here they are:
Indulging ourselves, we ordered custom fit fiberglass doors from Zarcor Solutions. Conor sent in the measurements a few weeks ago, and then they made the doors exactly how we wanted! You can specialize with privacy inserts, screens, security bars, etc. The doors were super easy to install and only took about an hour. We were also VERY happy with their customer service (calling with manufacturing and shipping updates) and how communicative Zarcor was with any questions we had. Here’s Conor doing the installation yesterday and what the companionway looks like now:
Such a small change will make such a difference in our day-to-day living, especially hauling laundry and groceries up and down. I just have to push open the doors instead of stacking three heavy wood pieces safely out of the way. Merry Christmas to us!
Our boat was nearly perfect when we bought it. Minus a few changes here and there (like the lifeline nets), we really didn’t have much to do to customize it for our needs. Except for one thing: the toilet.
A good old-fashioned ‘cruising toilet’ occupied our only head. That meant a manual pump and a smell that, no matter how hard we tried, permeated the bathroom. The previous owners had installed a freshwater spray nozzle that they used to fill the bowl instead of intaking river water when they flushed, but for a variety of reasons it was creating a vacuum and causing backflow issues.
So glamorous, I know.
While that system may have worked for them as primarily weekend sailors, it did not suit our needs as full-time liveaboards. Flushing with saltwater (like a real cruiser) might have worked, but the Neuse River water is pretty gross (hence the smell). Because we will be sticking with river and coastal sailing for a while as long as Conor is stationed here, we decided it was worth it to upgrade.
Here it is:
This electric toilet is a closed system, which means it draws fresh water from one of our 3 holding tanks. Plus, it flushes with the push of a button! We had it professionally installed, and though it was expensive, I don’t have to worry about a plumbing malfunction flooding our boat (gag!).
Never in my life did I think I would be so excited about a toilet, much less write an entire blog post about one. But this little beauty is going to make a world of difference with our day-to-day comfort living aboard. Yes, we might have some regrets down the line when we go long-term cruising, because it uses precious fresh water and electricity. However, we do have a watermaker, solar panels, and a wind generator for a reason!
For now, a customized bathroom is the ice cream on top of the best boat ever.