Traded Turf for Surf

The boat went away a couple years ago. I don’t want to rehash what a tough decision that was or how difficult it was to part with the boat. Of course I started pining again almost immediately for another one. The difficulty was that the boat’s demand for maintenance and repairs didn’t align well with my demanding work schedule; I simply couldn’t keep up.

So I sold it, and two months later, as I compulsively looked through boat listings, realized another boat would bring with it the same difficulties (admittedly, this makes me sound a bit thick). With a flash of inspiration, I decided to avoid marina fees and the rapid disintegration of all things in water, and instead started looking for a land-based boat with four wheels and brakes.

After an exhaustive search, I opted for a converted Ford Transit cargo van. That was about four months ago, and I could hardly be happier with the decision. Now that the hurdle of this revelation is behind me, I’ll aim to post some details about the van, additions I’ve made, and changes in contemplation along with reporting on adventures.

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C-Head Composting Toilet Installed

C-Head Composting Toilet installed in Czardas' head compartment.

C-Head Composting Toilet installed in Czardas’ head compartment.

The new C-Head toilet is open for business! Installation was simple, though figuring out how to install the toilet took some doing. The base is larger than the previous Jabsco marine toilet and the raised platform inside the head compartment caused some awkwardness. But once a plan came together the execution was easy.

The C-head replaces an Electra Scan system. That system included a typical marine toilet, thru-hulls for water intake and pumping out effluent, a waste processer, electronic controllers, electrical cables, and hoses. The entire system was removed and the thru-hulls were glassed in a couple months ago, resulting instantly in a cleaner smelling boat. Continue reading

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Connecting Garmin 78sc to OpenCPN

Garmin GPSMAP 78sc handheld GPS.

Garmin GPSMAP 78sc handheld GPS.

My antiquated knotmeter is out of commission due to a broken transducer. I’ll keep looking for a replacement but in the meantime I decided on simplicity and will monitor speed using a handheld GPS, the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc. I also want to have the ability to forego simplicity and connect the handheld to my PC running OpenCPN, an open source chart plotting application.┬áIt took a little fiddling to get the PC to pull in position data from the Garmin. But it’s easy to set up and step by step instructions are provided below. Continue reading

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Pictorial: Boat Improvements 2013-05

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Before and After photos showing some of the work done April/May 2013 at Canal Boatyard in Seattle.

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Headless

Today my boat became headless. I spent this beautiful, warm, sunny day removing the horrifically foul smelling Electro Scan waste processor along with associated electronics, hoses, pipes, and toilet. The work was unpleasant but the change is welcome. In place of the old septic system I will install a composting toilet called the C-Head. Continue reading

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