Several excellent how –to articles have been written in Mainsheet on installing washdown pumps in larger Catalina models and due to time constraints I am going to limit this one to a few notes based on my installation and about four year’s use of our upgrade.


I decided to install PEX tubing instead of hose for the hidden run from the pump to the hose bib. It is much easier to run through the hard to reach areas behind the seats as it is self snaking. It is very freeze resistant and it eliminates the need for clamps by using compression fittings. This has proven to be an excellent, no-maintenance choice. I only needed to drill one hole to run it from under the head sink to the anchor well and that was through the v-berth bulkhead. I installed a few plastic pipe support clamps under the seats to prevent the tubing from sagging and holding water in the low spots when it needs draining.


The pump we selected is a washdown pump rated for longer duty cycles than supply pumps and has a built in pressure switch. I mounted it under the head sink above the waterline to a plywood reinforcing board glued and screwed to the forward panel of the sink unit. The supply line to the pump is reinforced tubing that is teed into the head intake hose and double clamped there. You can easily remove the drawer unit in the aft cabin for easy access to this area.


I ran 10 gauge tinned wires through a new flexible wiring tube snaked under the floor to a new breaker on the main electrical panel which is located on the port side on our year model. In retrospect, I would have simply added a fused lead to the windlass Breaker on the starboard side. The pumps current draw is not enough to interfere with the windlass and they are most often used together. Having both on one switch would avoid the necessity to remember to throw two switches when retrieving the anchor and eliminated an unnecessarily long electrical run to the pump.


The hose bib I chose has a cap and is all stainless steel which is a must in a saltwater environment (I purchased it online at auction). I mounted it at the bottom of the anchor well to facilitate a short connection to the ‘rocket launcher’ that I built and installed to store the hose coil. This didn’t turn out to be such a good idea as you have to take both anchors and all the rode out of the well to remove the hose. Instead, I would recommend installing it at the top and using a short length of hose as a jumper to the bottom of the launcher in order keep all of the coils of the hose inside the tube when storing it.


The ‘rocket launcher’ is a simple project that makes the washdown pump upgrade function really well. It allows you to store your hose in the anchor well and keep it completely tangle free and away from the anchor rode. The mounting rail is made out of a length of scrap ¾” x ¾” thick King Starboard. I used a dado blade in my table saw to cut two rabbets in it in order to form it into a tee cross section. The same thing could be done with a router or the using the saw blade and four, shallow, right angle cuts. The tube is a short length of scrap drain pipe with a slit cut length wise on the table saw and the corners rounded with a rasp. You install the rail with the bottom of the tee mounted flush to the aft side of the anchor well positioned in the aft starboard corner to allow just enough room for the tube. Use small stainless bolts countersunk into the top of the tee to mount it through the well wall. Be sure to seal the holes with sealant to keep water out of the interior of the cabin. Simply slide the slit of the tube down the t-rail and the pressure of the tube will hold it firmly in place. The hose will fit a little snuggly, but a little clockwise twist when inserting it will allow it to slip right on down. If the tube is cut to a length running from flush with the top of the switch pad for the windlass down to about two inches off the bottom of the well, it will hold a 50’ coiled hose. This, in turn, provides ample length to rinse the decks in hot or bug infested weather in addition to rinsing the anchor and rode. It is amazing how much the evaporation from a little rinse on a hot sunny summer day will cool the interior of a C320.

If you live, as we do, in the mid-Atlantic zone where winterization is not an absolute must, but freezing weather still occurs, you will still need to remember to drain the hose in the anchor well or face having to repair it in the spring.


– Chris Burti, Commitment, #867