To the editor: We enjoyed the recent letter on setting up a boat’s head to work more reliably (A head that works, issue 202, May/June 2012). It is nice to hear from someone else who has had no problems with heads. We have a Brewer 44, Alfin II, which I had built in 1988, and it was the “guinea pig” for the first installation on a sailboat of the VacuFlush head manufactured by SeaLand. In the last 23 years of cruising from Florida to Maine, Florida to Mexico, and all of the Bahamas, my wife and I have had nothing but reliability from two of these heads, flushed with fresh water, overboard (at sea) or through two holding tanks.
I must say that in all these years of use, I have not had the level of calcification or any obstruction problems such as Mr. de Grasse has experienced. As with his system, my advice is to keep the hose runs short, wash the whole system frequently by flushing often when fresh water is available. These heads flush odorless (thanks to the fresh water) with less than a half gallon, and I have to say that no certified mechanic has had to work on my system — it’s that simple. I do it all, and it can be done while dressed for a shore party. The VacuFlush system, in my opinion (70 years sailing), is the most efficient, easy to maintain marine sanitation system in the industry. Their pumps are indestructible — I use two spares as bilge pumps. They have a minimal number of parts that very occasionally have to be replaced, and the company cannot be better in servicing anything you need. Thanks to VacuFlush, I am a sailor who does not have one of those horrible head “war stories” to tell. Aboard Alfin II, head maintenance is never a subject of conversation.
—Kiko & Gordie Villalon live on Pine Island, Fla., when they’re not cruising on their Brewer 44, Alfin II.