Actually, I said it was WORTH having, not the reverse, but it is up to the individual and where they cruise
; In the Caribbean
, if you buy water it costs anywhere from 15 to 45 cents per gallon, and sometimes a lot more. Rain water is reliable, for part of the year, but is often laden with Sahara dust or volcanic dust. Yes, it can be filtered. In the Sea of Cortez
, rain water is very rare, and city water is often hard to come by, unless you are in a marina, and it is hard to transport in any case. And, by the way, having a plentiful supply of fresh water allows you to rinse off yourself, the boat, and equipment
on a regular basis. Not only does this add comfort, but pays off big time in extended life and reduced maintenance for lots of other gear
. I have often said that the watermaker is as much for the boat as the people.
water also has the benefits of known health
and quality, which is why much of the world depends on it, and most bottled water is made or purified by the reverse osmosis
procedure. One day the US will follow the rest of the world and realize that drinking water
is not necessarily something that is almost free and just falls from the sky. And then, perhaps huge areas will not be paralyzed by drought, just because it did not rain!
Modern watermakers are incredibly efficient. The Pur unit gives you about 35 gallons a day (real world) for the energy consumed by a 50 watt light bulb. Spectra is even more efficient, requiring about half the energy. Cost this out, the whole thing including initial purchase
and maintenance, and you are still way ahead of the game
with a watermaker. Yes, you will do some maintenance. NO, it will not be that daunting for even the technically challenged. Remember, there used to be the caveat regarding cruising that you should understand how to fix most, if not everything, that is aboard. And, in a jam, there ARE cruisers out there that are trained in the repair of either PUR or Spectra units and the factories are unbelievably helpful.
There are many pieces of gear
that we carry aboard despite the fact that they need maintenance...in fact, all of 'em. Engines, sails
systems, stoves, dinghies, electrical
systems, all pumps (including foot and manual) is just a start to the list. We are obliged to choose whatever bits of gear we want with that in mind, after considering the benefits of each.
When I first went cruising in 1991 (in the Sea of Cortez) I decided that I did not want to submit to two tyrannies....spending huge amounts of time and energy lugging around water in jerry jugs, or running engines or generators for hours per day, heating
up the boat in the process, to generate electricity. I outfitted my boat to be completely solar
powered (including refrigeration
and watermaker), installed a watermaker, and spent those hours sailing and exploring, instead. It made ALL the difference. I would retrospectively give both of those installations a resounding thumbs up, and in the real world of cruising, have lots and lots of company. In fact, some of us occasionally give water to those unfortunates who have found their rain catchers dry, their tanks
empty, and their bodies sore from toting.
Of course, it is up to each of us which side of that equation to be on!