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Old 03-07-2010, 14:39   #1
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How Much Water Tankage Would You Like ?

There was an interesting thread here about fuel tankage and desired range for cruising boats. Well what about water?

In planning a new boat, I have tried to keep everything simple. One complication I've wanted to avoid was a watermaker. However, particularly if I am to keep my wife enthusiastic about the whole cruising thing, I can't expect her to sacrifice too many home comforts, one of which is a hot shower at night. I also want to be able to wash up dishes hygenically with plenty of hot water. Our 42' boat will have 1100 lites water tankage with deck in fills to top up when it rains. Should I have gone the watermaker route instead?

I want to know what you guys out there, without watermakers are using for water on a daily basis. From the most minimalistic usage and how you survive with that to those who are showering everyday and what that uses. How much water does a good shower use anyway?

Greg
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Old 03-07-2010, 14:56   #2
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We have 130 gallons and wash dishes in hot water once a day. We shower every day but it's not like a shoreside shower, we usually use a small sink full each. Our water supply usually lasts about 18 days. I think your 1100 litres is a good supply but again, it depends on the length of your voyages and the availability of good water in your major cruising area.
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:00   #3
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G'Day Greg,

Quick answer: I-2 has 800 litres tankage, and this typically lasts us from 10-12 weeks, depending on where we are and what we are doing. We do shower, but to call them "long" isn't accurate. Rather wet down, soap up, rinse off types. These seem to use about 5 litres, but I've not actually measured it -- just eyeballing the sump.

For you, depending greatly on where you end up cruising, filling from rainfall is practical (deck fills). Our fills are below and it is a PITA to use the awning to fill jugs and then hump them below... but we do it sometimes when necessary.

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Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly, Qld, Oz
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:13   #4
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A naval shower uses about 3 gallons (11 litres) of water.
Roughly half to 3 quarters of that can be seawater.
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:15   #5
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Jim,

Your 10 weeks stunned me at first but I did the math (correctly I hope) and it looks as if you use about 6 gallons a day and we use about 7 gallons a day. These are US gallons, a bit less than 4 liters.
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:19   #6
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It's a fundamentally unanswerable question. It depends on so many things.

To get 10 weeks out of 800 liters means 80 liters a week or 11.5 liters a day. Apparently it is humanly possible but I sure wouldn't want to live that way.

We have 1000 liters and this year have been sailing on England's gorgeous south coast, never far from a port. So we can use water without too much care. The tank lasts about a week with four or five people on board, mostly landlubbers who don't understand showering like a sailor. And no need for any shower-Nazi tactics when there's always nice, clean, free water nearby.

If we were in a more remote place or on a long passsage, we could cut that without too much pain; I reckon two weeks would not be difficult to achieve.

That's our use; your own mileage may and definitely will vary.

But keep in mind that tankage and watermakers are not entirely complete substitutes for each other. There are a number of situations where a watermaker is a very good thing. I would want one in the Caribbean no matter how much tankage I had; likewise for any kind of ocean crossing. Likewise for operating anywhere where the local water is dodgy.
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:24   #7
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Jim,

Your 10 weeks stunned me at first but I did the math (correctly I hope) and it looks as if you use about 6 gallons a day and we use about 7 gallons a day. These are US gallons, a bit less than 4 liters.
It's about 3 gallons a day, not 6. About enough for one naval shower a day, or two half-seawater naval showers, with nothing for cooking or drinking. That's quite a bit more spartan than what I would like to experience.
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:24   #8
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OOPS, my math was wrong I though he had 400 galls and Jim only has about 200 galls!! His water usage or non usage is astounding!!
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:33   #9
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It's a fundamentally unanswerable question. It depends on so many things.

To get 10 weeks out of 800 liters means 80 liters a week or 11.5 liters a day. Apparently it is humanly possible but I sure wouldn't want to live that way.

.
Dockhead,

To put this in perspective, we lived and cruised full time on Insatiable One for 17 years (Mexico and SP). Being that she was an ex-race boat, she was tankage challenged, and carried only 170 litres of water (and a similar amount of fuel for that matter). We learned to deal with it, and habits like that tend to linger on in us old farts. I'd also point out that there are but two of us, not four or five, and we seldom take landlubbers as guests.

As you wisely point out, it is a factor that varies with usage, experience, and location... we're happy to live this way! Simply having a real shower, down below where it's warm, with hot water and all... we still find this luxurious and pleasing!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 03-07-2010, 17:11   #10
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We carried about five hundred liters of water spread between two tanks, and it usually lasted two to three weeks. We also carried water on deck in jerry cans when on passage. The on deck water was used primarily in the sun shower. Usually one large sun shower bag was enough fresh water for the four of us to rinse off after we dumped buckets of warm sea water over ourselves.

We did have a Power Survivor 80 watermaker, but we only used it on passage to top off our tanks.
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Old 03-07-2010, 17:21   #11
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We carry 200 gal and that will last a crew of 5-6 2 weeks but we also carry 10 gal of drinking water. Our watermaker makes 40/g/hr but we raely use it on trips less than 2 weeks. The wateremaker is great at anchor as we can fil the tank in the time it takes to charge the batteries nd top off the fridge and freezer.
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Old 04-07-2010, 00:13   #12
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My boat has tankage for about 880 L. For most times along the coast that is more than enough provided there is a ready supply of drinkable water If I were to set out across the Pacific, I would have to do some careful planning and make allowances for times becalmed or long stretches without rainfall--hence I have a watermaker.

In the 19th century on naval vessels the allowance was two quarts (just under two litres) of fresh water per man per day for all purposes. This could be halved to one quart per day in emergencies. The Institute of Medicine recommends 2.2L per day for women (three if breastfeeding) and 3L per day for men to insure proper hydration. For a man and a woman on a cruise, that would mean about 5L per day for drinking water alone.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:34   #13
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Dockhead,

To put this in perspective, we lived and cruised full time on Insatiable One for 17 years (Mexico and SP). Being that she was an ex-race boat, she was tankage challenged, and carried only 170 litres of water (and a similar amount of fuel for that matter). We learned to deal with it, and habits like that tend to linger on in us old farts. I'd also point out that there are but two of us, not four or five, and we seldom take landlubbers as guests.

As you wisely point out, it is a factor that varies with usage, experience, and location... we're happy to live this way! Simply having a real shower, down below where it's warm, with hot water and all... we still find this luxurious and pleasing!

Cheers,

Jim
I guess it goes to show that one man's "hard core" is another man's joy.

I spent the last decade-odd sailing with my father, who is pretty hard core where water is concerned. I could do it, and could do it again, but I never liked it nor ever really got used to it. The biggest problem for me is that I sweat a lot (even in cold weather) when sailing, and I like my showers an awful lot, and not a teacup shower. The other problem is that I don't like nagging women on board about water. None of the women likely to be on my boat is enough interested in sailing to be eager to make any sacrifices to be on board.

So now that I have the tankage for it, I like to use the water a little more generously.

I'm sure we'll be back to a stricter regime as soon as we get to less civilized places.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:59   #14
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..... Our 42' boat will have 1100 lites water tankage with deck in fills to top up when it rains. Should I have gone the watermaker route instead?
Greg

Greg….. I have yet to hear of any cruiser including MarkJ admit that if they had the option to install and use a water maker, they would refuse it!

It all comes down to the quality of life from uncertain shore water, undependable rain catchment and a forced mindset to conserve, conserve, conserve!

The hygiene factor also comes in to play when contaminates in an open gutter rain catchment brew within a water tank for years, so you need to regularly treat your water tank.

One last point… after a hard slog to windward, I also like to wash the boat and enjoy a clean fresh environment using pure water that I find delicious to drink.

There are those purists who will argue about the unnecessary complexity and cost, but after all they are just being crusty old salts, who probably say they prefer salt in their porridge..... Life can be sweet!...
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:03   #15
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Greg….. I have yet to hear of any cruiser including MarkJ admit that if they had the option to install and use a water maker, they would refuse it!

It all comes down to the quality of life from uncertain shore water, undependable rain catchment and a forced mindset to conserve, conserve, conserve!

The hygiene factor also comes in to play when contaminates in an open gutter rain catchment brew within a water tank for years, so you need to regularly treat your water tank.

One last point… after a hard slog to windward, I also like to wash the boat and enjoy a clean fresh environment using pure water that I find delicious to drink.

There are those purists who will argue about the unnecessary complexity and cost, but after all they are just being crusty old salts, who probably say they prefer salt in their porridge..... Life can be sweet!...
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