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Old 05-12-2012, 17:38   #16
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Re: Water Collection System

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Originally Posted by Hideaway34 View Post
I am really amazed at the amount of posts here against drinking rainwater - how do you think a large percentage of developing (and many developed) countries survive? We're talking about nature, people! I'm guessing you also think chicken grows in nature wrapped in styrofoam and injected with antibiotics?!..............
As we talk about nature and those chickens don't forget how natural salmonella is or the pseudomonas bacteria that can thrive in water. We keep at lot of rain water kept in tanks separate form our drinking water. I would be quite ready to drink it safely except for the collection surfaces used and the buckets that are sitting out. We get a good population of generally harmless Chlorella and sometimes some filamentous algae like ulothrix growing in our buckets. When you say, "We're talking about nature, people!" make sure you include all the pathogens that are natural agents. We collect rain water occasionally and the mast is a good source. There's a surprisingly large amount of surface area on the mast and a point near the base can be wrapped with an upside-down mast boot with a spout flowing to a container. Our bimini top also has a low point on both port and starboard that we use as a source point to fill buckets. If the wind suits the main sail can be a huge source with a trough left in the foot like a partial reef that leads water off the end of near the clew. I like these sources because they rinse more quickly than the deck surface and they are likely less contamininated than my deck. Still, a large portion of our water use is for bathing and this is how my collected water is used. I do not add it to my drinking tanks,- not because of the air contaminants, but due to the potentail contamination on my boat surfaces. Notice those previous posts are more than four years old, but the topic is still of great interest for many.
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Old 05-12-2012, 23:15   #17
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Re: Water Collection System

Hello Hideaway,

You asked, "Does anyone here have experience building a system with removable tarps on a sailboat that can filter into a container or tank? " Our method is too simple to need plans. We have a cockpit awning that zips into the aft end of the dodger. Jim bought 2 large plastic funnels, drilled 3 equidistant holes in the top circumference of each of them, put 3 mm line in a tripod shape to the grommet just aft of the lower zip edges for strain relief, so that the funnel is centered under the lowest spot. To the bottom end of the funnel, we attach common tygon water hose to the funnel end, and run it into collapsible jugs on the cockpit sole, which we then examine and pour into the tanks. We do let it rain a bit (how could we stop it? ;-) ), and allow the water to escape, to insure the awning top is clean, but that's it. The same hoses can be syphon transfer hoses into the tank. This gives us visual inspection of the water we catch, and measured amounts go into the tanks. We also have floating dipsticks ( 6mm dowel, calibrated, forced into champagne corks) for the tanks, so we can tell how much is in the tanks. Hope this helps, as in my opinion it is not as grand as a "system", being rather agricultural, actually, yet it was easy and works. Incidentally, I have seen hard dodgers fitted with gutters, to hose barbs to hoses to deck fills that were reported to work well, too, and perhaps more aesthetic than our arrangement. I personally don't like the pressure the "head" makes on the tank when one overfills the tanks--our way protects against that.

Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II, Lying Pittwater NSW, hoping to be underway soon
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Old 06-12-2012, 00:24   #18
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Re: Water Collection System

This is an old thread, but a guess a common question.

In holiday homes and rural Australia many people use rainwater for drinking and everything else without any apparent ill effects.

On my own boat for the first couple of years we caught rainwater off our deck and it supplied about 1/2 or water in winter, but almost none in summer. The rainwater was much nicer than town water and was used for drinking.
We now have a watermaker, but occasionally catch deck water when our power is a bit short (it all comes from solar) especially if we have some washing to do.

To catch the rainwater i just block the side deck with a small canvas sandbag that my wife made ( after its had some time rinse first). It leaks a little so a cloth behind plugs up any slight leaks.
There is a string tied to bag and pegged to the cloth so when the tank is full it can be pulled away without going outside.
Simple, but very effective. If doing it again a bigger sandbag would prevent the need for the cloth.

As it happens I am collecting some rainwater at the moment. The rain is very intermittent, so its not ideal, but 60l so far this morning.

Here is a photo of the set up. Sorry for the quality, but I did not want to get the camera wet so its taken from the galley window.

For this to work you need a toe rail with no, or sealable drains
Near the deck fill. You don't need much deck space to catch a lot of water.
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Old 06-12-2012, 00:29   #19
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Re: Water Collection System

It's just stopped raining, so here is a better photo.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:16   #20
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Re: Water Collection System

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Originally Posted by Hideaway34 View Post
I am really amazed at the amount of posts here against drinking rainwater - how do you think a large percentage of developing (and many developed) countries survive? We're talking about nature, people!
Kinda important to remember that these comments are from folks out there doing it.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:48   #21
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Re: Water Collection System

At anchor we catch rainwater on the starboard side of the deck by letting it overflow into the opened aft water tank deck fill. We catch rainwater off the port side of the deck (where there is no water tank deck fill) by switching a three way valve in the deck drain line from its normal position which goes to an above the water thru-hull to its secondary position that goes to a garden hose connection inside the boat. We fill our five gallon jugs off that hose in the galley. We can fill the forward tank with rainwater by pouring the jugs into the tank fill. Alternatively, when we are drawing water from the aft tank, a valve under the head sink allows us to pump water from the aft tank to the forward tank.

We keep our decks reasonably clean, allow the first of a rain to rinse the decks, add Clorox to the tanks to about the concentration of a lightly chlorinated swimming pool, and have a charcoal filter in our drinking water to remove the excess chlorine. This year it rained more than usual, and we bought no water during the five months we were in the Bahamas.

We have used these systems to catch rainwater on each of our five trips to the Bahamas.

http://www.irish-eyes-to-the-bahamas.blogspot.com/

I am adding drains to our sun awnings this year so we can catch water when they are up.

Bill Murdoch
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:10   #22
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Re: Water Collection System

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The pardeys have a few interesting ideas in their book ____ . (The blank is because I'm not remembering which one!)

A canvas trough under the boom was one, and a hose from the low spot of the bimini was another.
One of my on going projects is to finish turning my solar panel bimini into a water collector. I converted to electric propulsion five years ago so I plan to use the now unused 30 gallon fuel tank for a fresh water wash down and cockpit shower supply. It will not be used for drinking water though.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:36   #23
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Re: Water Collection System

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
.................... and run it into collapsible jugs on the cockpit sole, which we then examine and pour into the tanks. ................ and allow the water to escape, to insure the awning top is clean....................... This gives us visual inspection of the water we catch ............................
Ann, I like your plan, but when you "examine" the water, is this for particulates? I know that rain collection doesn't have the risks associated with onshore shallow wells and possible parasites, vibrio cholera & fecal coliforms that cause so many problems in the "Natural" world, but visual inspection doesn't reveal the soup on my deck and canvass whose chefs are the sea birds, spiders, insects and zooplanton from sea spray. I have observed that any bucket of water that I collect from any source left untreated will develop a colony of microbes that are visibly evident within a few days time. I admit this is almost always harmless algae and I could treat the collected water with a small amount of chlorine bleach. My choice in using my collected water for bathing and keeping it separate from my drinking water is largly due to my ability to store water in my tanks below that can last us for a month if we are conservative. This brings in the other factor which may change a cruiser's plans. How long a time will you need to plan for your water supply?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:29   #24
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Re: Water Collection System

I will be starting to head south next fall (2013) on I have more concerns with water at the docks the further south I go then rain water. I am in the process installing a system that will tap into my existing plumping through a 3 way valve to direct the water through a particle filter then through a carbon filter and then through a UV light that will kill all bacteria. This water will go into a 2 gallon day use tank for drinking only and the UV light will be on a switch to on only when required, about 2 min or less to fill a 2 gallon tank. I will have a pump faucet connected into the 2 gallon tank and the 3 way valve selected back to normal operation. Has anyone used this type of system before or one similar? The total cost of this is about $300.00 in Canada and the uv light bulb should only have to be changed about every 2-3 years at a cost of $75.00 and particle filter $5.00 twice a year and carbon filter 1/2 years at $15.00. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thank you, AL
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:47   #25
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Re: Water Collection System

Welcome to forum AL

Some of the worlds water is not very nice and the sort of system you describe sounds ideal. It's also worth thinking about a cheap filter on your intake. It's easy to add a particle filter to a hose and it stops the crud accumulating down at the bottom of the tank. Consider, if this alone may be enough. Very few cruisers seem to get stomach upsets/diarrhoea problems. We have had none in 5 years. There is lot to said for KISS.
Some of the worlds water is also very hard and makes a mess of kettles etc. some filters will remedy this and its worth making sure your system can accommodate a filter that does this ( usually a particle filter as well)

Rainwater (or even better watermaker water) is great without any filtration.

The only other thing to check is the power consumption of the UV filter. I don't think it should be very high, but every AHr adds up, so check.
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Old 11-12-2012, 13:13   #26
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Re: Water Collection System

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I will be starting to head south next fall (2013) on I have more concerns with water at the docks the further south I go then rain water...........
This is an important consideration. All my hesitation to store the rain water I collect for drinking water would be secondary to the use of suspect water from ashore in more primative locations. This type of cruising would cause me to invest in the watermaker.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:13   #27
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Re: Water Collection System

[QUOTE=Hud3;170406]Just a note of encouragement to raincatchers.

We collect rainwater from our roof here on Nevis. It goes into a 15,000 gallon cistern. We used the water for everything, including drinking, with no ill effects, for the first six months we lived here. Then I installed a Seagull IV filter, just for drinking water. It was mostly for our guests from the States, who wondered how safe "roof water" would be. We have many friends here who've been drinking roof-collected rainwater for decades with no problems.

I've also collected rainwater from the deck on our Island Packet, while cruising. I'd let the rain wash off the salt and whatever for a while, and then create a dam behind the deck-fill opening with a small towel to force the flow into the tank.

Hud3,

Takes us Islanders to know about roof-caught drinking water eh.

55000 USG storage under my house, no filters, no bugs.

I have a 40 yr old Herculite catch sheet on Blue.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:35   #28
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Re: Water Collection System

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Just a note of encouragement to raincatchers.

We collect rainwater from our roof here on Nevis. It goes into a 15,000 gallon cistern. .
This is very common worldwide, I am surprised anyone has any great concerns about boats collecting rainwater.

Roofs typically suffer far more bird/animal droppings, leaves and debris. They are harder to keep clean than boat decks. House roofs and storage tanks often have have toxic products such as lead zinc etc. Houses are much closer to sources of pollution, which may enter the atmosphere.

In addition the very large storage tanks that houses install allow bugs much longer to breed and the temperatures are often ideal for this. Many houses store a years worth of water. This is not practical on yacht and the much higher turnover keeps the water borne pathogens down.

Boat rainwater collection is lot safer and healthier than the household collection of the same. If many households live healthily with rainwater, cruisers can.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:48   #29
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Re: Water Collection System

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............Roofs typically suffer far more bird/animal droppings leaves and debris. They are harder to keep clean than boat decks....................
I'm sure long distance offshore cruisers have decks far more suitable for water collecting than mine. I have no problem with the roof collection and I have friends who live in the mountains with water collection from open springs and cisterns. My deck is so different from the roof. We are gunkholers with frequent hiking ashore and dragging our kayaks up on deck. I've trained my dog to leave his product on deck. We rinse and clean, but we don't waste our fresh water supply scrubbing the deck. I doubt if the roof would be a good waterr source if it had all the foot and pet traffic as my deck. I suspect all decks are not the same!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:00   #30
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Re: Water Collection System

Sitting below in our new cruising buddies Prout catamaran, and having supper that included rehydrated stuff, we were talking about watermakers versus collection. Our friends used the big flat deck to collect when it rained, which they did by putting stoppers in the drainage gullies, apart from one which they lead straight to tank.
Earlier in the evening they had explained how they coped with their liveaboard spaniel, and how the clever little hound knew that his daily business should be done in a particular part of the deck for regular sweeping overboard.
It has to be said that we both shoved our rehydrated beans aside and declined ice in our gin!
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