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Old 14-08-2008, 06:03   #1
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Au Natural Plumbing?

Has anyone ever downgraded their water system on here?

After living aboard for a number of years, we have found the following:

1) We don't use a hot water heater - if we need some, we just put it on the stove or use a Sun Shower.

2) In the winter, we will be away from time to time this year - I have at least one delivery scheduled and the wife will travel at times. This means winterizing the fresh water system for both work travel and for our snowboarding vacation. Not desirable.

3) Last year, while I was on the delivery for our new boat, my wife was behind in the old "land boat" (RV) and had the fresh water system freeze up when she was off at work. She ended up jugging water and didn't mind at all. She said she prefers jugging it to having a plumbing system.

4) We have a terrible taste in our water that we can't get out, regardless of how many times I clean/bleach/flush the water system.

5) Our stainless steel 50 gallon water tanks (x2) are both showing a fair amount of rust around the welds. They are 25 years old and take up the bilge in a way that allows very little to no access to the bilges. I'd like to store some heavy items down there and be able to access all parts of my bilge.

So.......!!

Looking at all the factors above, I came up with the following:

*Get rid of the stainless steel tanks, providing access to the bilge

*Use 8 jerry cans of water, stowed in each bilge, leaving a very large amount of room for other heavy items, such as chain saw, maul, etc...

*Keep plumbing system, but in place of existing elevated propane hot water heater, put a 2-5 gallon day tank, creating a gravity system that doesn't need electricity to operate. Day tank can be filled via a deck fitting that already exists for the exhaust of the current propane hot water heater. Also, rainwater collection can be routed to this deck fitting. Rainwater that is more than 2-5 gals can be lead off via a filling hose to fill jugs (manually).


Anyone see any holes in this, aside from the obvious need to install a new freshwater system if we ever sold the boat?

Advantages are:

*No winterization needed if we are away - just run the water out
*Can move jugs around in bilge to access various areas
*Opens up lower areas (below waterline) for storage of heavy items
*Never need to buy a pump or other plumbing supplies
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Old 14-08-2008, 06:30   #2
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Sounds like a good simple plan. Our hot water when we're cruising is a sun shower or boil a kettle. Are you going to get rid of the fresh water pressure system entirely including the hot water tank? One question regarding no need for winterization, what about your engines and sanitary system? How cold does it get where you are? We empty our holding tanks here in the winter and put a bit of plumbing anti freeze in the lines.
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Old 14-08-2008, 07:43   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Sounds like a good simple plan. Our hot water when we're cruising is a sun shower or boil a kettle. Are you going to get rid of the fresh water pressure system entirely including the hot water tank? One question regarding no need for winterization, what about your engines and sanitary system? How cold does it get where you are? We empty our holding tanks here in the winter and put a bit of plumbing anti freeze in the lines.
Thank you for the input.

We don't have a hot water tank - its a propane instant hot water system, as is more common in Europe.

Yes, I was planning to get rid of the electric pressure system entirely and rely on the proposed gravity day tank.

We will still have to winterize our engines. The sanitary system is the big question still. We have a porta potty in storage we might use... still working on that one.

The catamaran presents a whole slew of winter liveaboard problems that a mono doesn't. With the mono, there is one hull to heat and you don't even have to winterize the engine because it's in your heated living space.

With the cat, our engines, refrigeration system, batteries, etc... are outside in unheated engine rooms. I am working through the logic of each system and currently am just on the fresh water system (which was pretty dodgy to begin with).
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Old 14-08-2008, 07:48   #4
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Sully,
I took out the pressure system on Rhosyn Mor, and converted to flexible water tanks. With the Whale foot pumps in the galley and the heads its not a big deal for showers I use a fertilizer sprayer painted black- the kind you pressurize by hand. THat can sit on the deck with the hose running through the solar vent into the heads. Simple. Effective and low maintenance.
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Old 14-08-2008, 08:29   #5
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I've cruised on a Wharram catarmaran. They're incredibly low tech. Dinner was served off palm leaves and such. They scrub pots with sand to get the soot from the sterno cans off. Existence on such a boat is litterally down to just keeping the matches dry. Everything else is flexible.

The gravity fed day tank sounds perfect. Get rid of the electrics on the plumbing system, and clear out your bildge. You won't miss the ease of showering with instant hot water, because you don't already operate that way.
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