Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

On Rode Trip, there are no taboo topics and we love when people ask questions because you’ve often thought of things that we have not. In fact, we’re even offering up free vacations for questions that haven’t been asked yet…Amanda has three trips in queue, way to go for a very inquiring mind! We’d like to share questions and answers so that everyone can truly live vicariously and learn a bit along the way.

Our latest, but certainly not first, question comes from Newington, NH. “Have you broken in the new toilet yet?” Why, YES, we have!

When we bought Rode Trip, the toilet/plumbing was added to the ‘to be improved’ list. The plumbing already smelled horrible, like a sulfer smell, and we were concerned about the hazards of blocked plumbing lines which we had read could be quite a stinker to fix. Naturally, Brian assigned the first of my First Mate tasks to be overseeing this system. After much research we decided to be rid of the plumbing and install a composting toilet.

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The toilet is installed into the bathroom floor so it’s nice and stable. It has a ‘liquids’ tank which you can see on the front. And it has a ‘solids’ tank directly below. The liquids tank is quite simple, just empty when necessary, of course 3 miles offshore. Sugar may be added to this tank to alleviate any odor. The challenge for boys is banking their shot into the liquids tank, since it is on the front of the toilet. If the waves and winds are rolling boys sit down! Girls just do our thing, finally an easier scenario for us! The solids tank is prepped with peat moss and enzymes, those same enzymes that are put into septic tanks. Then when deposits come, just a turn of the handle to bury/stir the contents, and the composting begins. The solids tank will last for several weeks and continue to break down while providing additional room for deposits prior to emptying.

Of course this led to Newington’s next question, “How does it smell?” We had read from other composting users that the smell was minimal, in fact much more appealing than typical plumbing. The system is vented via fan installed through the deck.

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Tubing from the toilet runs under the cabinet and up through the counter (expertly installed by the captain himself.) The fan runs all the time to keep the circulation going. Thus far, no bad smells. This has been confirmed by the SS Odor Inspector who will make several more spontaneous trips aboard to monitor.

Keep those inquiring minds working and we’ll keep figuring it out!

Weather Windows

Rodetrip is still in Portsmouth. We had an anticipated departure of this morning to start heading for Portland, ME but the weather had other plans. The National Weather Service calmly describes our current weather as a low pressure system heading gradually out over the gulf of Maine. For us that means that we are getting bands of thunderstorms, spaced throughout the day. We decided that even though we are ready to head north, we aren’t in a big hurry to go running headlong into thunderstorms.

A low pressure system also will bring with it a counterclockwise flow. This means that if the low pressure is just offshore from us, then the wind is coming out of the North. Since we want to go North having the wind come from that direction is not very helpful. Shown below is a wind map that I downloaded from PocketGrib, the newest app addition to the iPad.

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Each arrow on this map indicates a predicted wind direction and speed. The O’s a little offshore and partway between Portsmouth and Portland indicate that there is NO predicted wind. That does not make for fast sailing. Anywhere that wind is predicted, an arrow appears on the map. Each arrow has a “tail” on it, each half flag that is on the back of a wind arrow represents 5 knots of windspeed. Here are some example wind indicators.

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After looking at the wind arrows on today’s weather map we decided that fighting through a calm and a headwind while standing in the rain and dodging lightning sounded like less fun than waiting on the mooring for one more night and heading north tomorrow. I expect there will be lots of times that we will end up waiting for an appropriate weather window before we set off on a passage. Here is tomorrow’s wind map it looks a lot better!

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Bon Voyage!

Rode Trip had a fabulous time getting to know everyone at her Bon Voyage party at the Prescott Park dock on Saturday 6/23. Brian and I were thrilled to see so many friends and welcomed them to our new home! The flow of champagne could barely keep up with well wishes, hugs, and laughter all around. We did not let a torrential downpour spoil our fun, the party moved from the dock to the Portsmouth Brewery and carried on through closing time. Thanks to our visitors for a fabulous night on the town and for several thoughtful parting gifts. Hope to see you again out on the water!

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