Macwester Malin heads refit – part one

May 11, 2016

Macwester Malin Floorplan Diagram

Without further ado it’s time to spill the beans on the upgrade that I’ve been beavering away on.

Our Macwester Malin was supplied new to the Netherlands and stayed there until we brought her back to the UK in 2011 [see here | here | and here]. The layout we have is the same as the original Macwester Malin main layout shown above without the heads compartment. Instead, our Malin originally had heads installed in the forepeak, and various legacy plumbing for pump-out exists to this day (although previous owners and I have removed most of it). The most recent Dutch owners preferred a Porta-Potti solution, however that wasn’t one that, ahem …sat well with us.


Cue a mini refit.

We decided to install a heads compartment in line with the original C.S.J. Roy Macwester Malin design. We had considered installing heads while the yacht was lying in Naarden back in 2011, but we weren’t wholly convinced that the £2,000 sticker price would have given us the level of fit and finish that we wanted given that we were too far away to stay on top of it, so we put the project on hold.

The image above shows where I removed the extra seating that previously occupied the space where the heads should be located. The cables you can see run through the bulkhead to the bow thruster.


The template for the new heads partition took ages to refine, but I can assure you that refining the cardboard template was much easier than refining the plywood. My advice is to persevere with the template until you get a really snug fit.


Using plenty of clamps, counter-sunk screws and heavy-duty glue, the partition was the first piece of the jigsaw in place, however I was well behind schedule. Round about this point I realised that I wasn’t going to be even close to getting finished before crane-in.

Crane-in 2015 that is.


A good chum at our club shaped some hardwood to my cardboard templates that would finish off the partition as well as provide support to the cabin ceiling. I was really pleased with the fit and finish.


With crane-in 2015 fast approaching, I prepared some other components, such as drilling holes in the vent for the heads, and then parked the project for the 2015 season.

Just as well we didn’t toss the Porta-Potti in a skip.


After crane-out 2015, I got stuck back into construction determined that we would have functioning heads for 2016. I opted to maximise the use of internal space by slightly angling the toilet and it therefore made sense to angle the supporting woodwork. The shot above shows the LED lights and the supports that I constructed (see through hole on left), to support the weight of the lights in heavy seas.


It’s fair to say that progress was slow, however I’m no shipwright and I had to go through a learning curve in order to achieve the quality of finish that we wanted. By the turn of the year it still wasn’t clear whether the new heads would be useable during the forth-coming season, as there was still lots (and lots) to do.


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