The first mate didn’t care much for the original equipment water pump in the galley of Summer Dance. She uses a lot of water for making coffee in the mornings, sponge baths, or to wash her hair. Pumping that much water by hand with the tiny, manual pump was more trouble than she wants to take when we’re cruising. And she let me know about it. Every cruise.
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I don’t hold it against her. There’s no reason for not having an electric water system on a sailboat like Summer Dance. With the battery drain from lighting minimized by converting to LED bulbs and battery charging provided by the outboard motor, we can easily afford to run a small pump for a few minutes a day. Cruising is our vacation time and I want to make her time aboard as enjoyable and effortless as possible. You know the saying: happy wife, happy life? Here’s the $tingy Sailor corollary: Happy first mate, happy next date.
My only reluctance was because I had already taken the time to restore the original hand pump after we first bought Summer Dance as I described in Galley water pump repair and restoration. I like to keep things original when it makes sense to do so. But upgrading to an electric pump was enough of a challenge that my reluctance didn’t last long.
This project entailed removing the manual galley pump and replacing it with a concealed electric water pump plus a new faucet with built-in electrical switch. I chose the SHURflo 94-009-20 Nautilus 12 V Electric Faucet and Pump. The pump is small enough to fit in the empty space between the water tank and the ice box inside the sliding galley. The faucet is good looking, the head swivels in two axes, and it’s low enough to fit under the bulkhead when the galley is slid aft under the starboard cockpit seat.
How to shrink a hole
There are two challenges to this project that need a bit of fabrication, otherwise, it’s plug-and-play. The first is the faucet mounting. The diameter of the hole where the old pump was mounted is too big for the smaller diameter faucet. The other challenge is how to get power to the galley in such a way that it can still slide fore and aft and even be removed, if necessary.
To solve the first challenge, I cut a piece of thin aluminum plate a little larger than the mounting flange of the old pump and drilled a hole in it the correct size for the new pump to mount in. I reused the screws to attach the plate to the underside of the top of the galley through the old holes.
The new faucet mounted neatly in the new hole. It’s escutcheon plate on top just covered the old hole underneath.
I mounted the pump in the bottom of the galley using two small screws. Everything is plumbed with 3/8″ ID clear vinyl tubing. There was just enough room for the tubing bends and the tee connector for the Water tank drain modification.
Plug and spray
To power the pump, I mounted a 12 V accessory outlet in the flange at the bottom of the starboard cockpit bulkhead and connected it to an existing accessory circuit. I made a 4′ long cord for the pump that exits the back of the galley and terminates in a 12 V accessory plug. The cord is long enough that the galley can stay plugged in even when it is slid back under the cockpit seat. When not being used for the galley, the outlet can be used for a portable fan, search light, or any other 12 V accessory.
In use, the pump is a bit noisy because it’s so close by and even though it’s mounted with rubber isolation grommets, it reverberates in the hollow galley box. But it puts out a fair volume of water, much faster than pumping by hand. Since the tank, pump, and faucet are so close together, there’s barely any delay between the time the switch is turned on and water comes out of the faucet. If the distances were long, a pressure demand pump would make a better choice for instant water.
You can see and hear the finished project in this video.
The first mate likes the new system. Now she has running water whenever she wants. And I’m looking forward to that next date.