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View Poll Results: do you have, or are planning to have, a watermaker
Yes 73 85.88%
No 12 14.12%
Voters: 85. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-03-2014, 05:56   #31
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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I disagree with Tellie


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Old 08-03-2014, 06:01   #32
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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We plan to go without initially and see how it works out from there. We're pretty good on the conservation side and we can carry 150 gallons. We don't want to install one simply out of fear and make a poor choice in doing so. There's also the old argument that you can buy a huge amount of water before breaking even. I figure even at a steep 50 cents per gallon it would take us 4 to 6 years worth of supply, and that doesn't even account for a watermaker's ongoing maintenance costs. The cost/benefit just doesn't seem to be there.
Yeah I carry 150 gallons also. That works OK with weekend cruising and being conservative. But I really don't want to have to do that full time and I don't expect a WM to ever really pay for itself anymore than I expect the engine to pay for itself.

I look at a watermaker a luxury that improves life on a boat and don't need to justify it any other way.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:47   #33
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

I wish there was an "I don't know" option to the poll. I'm attracted to the idea of water independence and certainty, but I'm not sure if we really need one. I'm also unsure if the operating costs measured in money, time, energy budget, and all the related maintenance, is worth it. I just don't know at this point.

I do know our ~750 litters (200 US gallons) lasts at least six-seven weeks for the two of us (plus one cat) while cruising the Great Lakes. I'm sure our range will diminish as we head into salt water, although we are also planning to collect rainwater. Will this be enough to keep the tanks healthy between fills? Don't know. It's just another item on this list of things that I figure can only be answered by getting out there ... so we're going.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:55   #34
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

I think the comparison with the engine was a good one, you don't need one of those either, but it sure makes life easier. Think about how much an engine costs, weighs and the space it consumes as well as of course it's continuing expense. It dwarfs a watermaker in all those regards, but how any are willing to forego an engine? Watermaker is definitely on my list of must haves, just don't yet cruise so I'll wait until I do
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:57   #35
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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but I'm not sure if we really need one.

You don't NEED one. No one really NEEDS one.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:59   #36
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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I do know our ~750 litters (200 US gallons) lasts at least six-seven weeks for the two of us (plus one cat) while cruising the Great Lakes.


With 2 ladies onboard, 180 gallons last 1 1/2 weeks. I keep the valve to the last 36 shut off so I know when to start my Capt Bligh routine.


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Old 08-03-2014, 07:04   #37
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

There's another factor. Are you cruising with precious vacation time and find efforts to seek out water a chore that limits your pleasure? ...or, are you cruising retired, without a firm destination or comittment. We can devote a full day to seeking provisions and consider it time well spent. Before we retired it was difficult to give up thirty minutes to buy groceries. Now, we can put our bikes in the dinghy early in the morning; ferry them and ourselves to shore with a couple of trips; pedal for an hour or more; shop and repack our purchases; pedal back with maybe a break for lunch; make three trips back to the boat with provisions, bikes, etc.; and then have the job finished in about five or six hours. Spending time to locate some water to replenish the 200 gallons that we store aboard is time well spent for us.
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:32   #38
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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There's another factor. Are you cruising with precious vacation time and find efforts to seek out water a chore that limits your pleasure? ...or, are you cruising retired, without a firm destination or comittment.
Good point. Currently I look at having to get water as a couple of hours of lost sailing time. But once cruising full time I have nothing but time.

Maybe what I should do is get watermaker now while weekend sailing, and sell it later when going full time.
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:59   #39
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

We have a spectra water maker and love it, but there are many times in port that you still have to haul water. You can't just flip the switch every time you want water when in harbour or you can wreck your membrane. Obviously we all wish we were only in pristine harbors but frequently in places, especially in the SP you may find yourself in a tiny harbor with no other safe anchorage and it is filled with diesel.

That said on passage especially it is nice to crank on the engine, get a bit of fresh and hot water for a shower for the wife and kids...
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:00   #40
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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You don't NEED one. No one really NEEDS one.
Well, assuming resources are not unlimited, you need to make choices based on level of need/want. I would put the need for an engine far higher than a watermaker, which then makes the downsides of the diesel more reasonable.

As I say, I don't know, and don't expect to be able to answer the question until we get out there full time. All I do know is we manage quite well right now.

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Are you cruising with precious vacation time and find efforts to seek out water a chore that limits your pleasure? ...or, are you cruising retired, without a firm destination or comittment. We can devote a full day to seeking provisions and consider it time well spent.
Well said Cap. When time is your most plentiful resource, spending lots of it to keep the tanks healthy is not as big a deal. This is just one of the reasons I sit firmly on the fence on this, and many other equipment questions (SSB? Sat. phone? Radar? Tri-sail? Sea anchor? Fridge? etc...).
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:03   #41
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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There's another factor. Are you cruising with precious vacation time and find efforts to seek out water a chore that limits your pleasure? ...or, are you cruising retired, without a firm destination or comittment. We can devote a full day to seeking provisions and consider it time well spent. Before we retired it was difficult to give up thirty minutes to buy groceries. Now, we can put our bikes in the dinghy early in the morning; ferry them and ourselves to shore with a couple of trips; pedal for an hour or more; shop and repack our purchases; pedal back with maybe a break for lunch; make three trips back to the boat with provisions, bikes, etc.; and then have the job finished in about five or six hours. Spending time to lacate some water to replenish the 200 gallons that we store aboard is time well spent for us.
I don't agree with this. We cruise full-time with no firm destinations or commitments. However, not having a watermaker would severely limit our cruising. For example, much of the areas of the Bahamas, San Blas islands, Hobbies/Viverillos, etc that we love and spend months at a time in would almost be off-limits, or we would be rationing water severely.

There are great cruising destinations where there is simply no fresh water to be found anywhere of any quality. And areas where it does not rain for months at a time.

We meet cruisers without watermakers in these areas, but they can only stay for a short time before heading off to get more water. And they are generally under strict rationing with sponge baths, etc.

Even for places with water available, many of them do not have docks or boat-accessible water. You have to jug water - sometimes from afar.

While we do not have fixed destinations or commitments, we do not limit ourselves only to places with water, and have better things to do with our time than spending an entire day jugging 20 5-gal jugs of water to our boat to fill our 120gal tank so we can visit someplace else for a few days.

If you are cruising in areas where you can take leisurely bike rides and find supermarkets and bistros, then I agree that getting water is a relatively easy problem. This, however, has absolutely nothing to do with being retired without firm destinations or commitments.

Mark
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:03   #42
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

If you are looking at the cost of buying water vs. a watermaker, buying water wins hands down. But a watermaker lets you anchor for extended periods where there is no other water supply. We try to be as self sufficient as possible.

We have a 13 to 16 gph, depending on pressure, DIY 12 volt watermaker.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:44   #43
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

jcapo--Among some excellent posts I like the way you have summed it up. I would add that, besides anchoring, a w/m allows for long passages, beyond the range of tankage.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:20   #44
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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I don't agree with this. ................

There are great cruising destinations where there is simply no fresh water to be found ....................... ............... strict rationing with sponge baths, etc. ................... You have to jug water - sometimes from afar.
........... we do not limit ourselves only to places with water ........

If you are cruising in areas where you can take leisurely bike rides and find supermarkets and bistros, then I agree that getting water is a relatively easy problem. This, however, has absolutely nothing to do with being retired without firm destinations or commitments.

Mark
Mark, You make some great points here that continue to remind us of the diversity in the cruising world. We can easily thrive on our water tankage for a month without strict rationing, but we do cruise in areas that make this time requirement rare. We do find ourselves in isolation for periods of time. I would not want people to think that we are hanging out at the marina tiki bars all the time, but you're right! We do not suffer from a lack of access to free or cheap water. This is the reason why there are those that need water makers and those that don't find them worthwhile. For us, being retired is a huge factor related to the way we manage time and access to water or other provisions.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:33   #45
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Re: Watermaker - Are you Planning to Have One?

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Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
We plan to go without initially and see how it works out from there. We're pretty good on the conservation side and we can carry 150 gallons. We don't want to install one simply out of fear and make a poor choice in doing so. There's also the old argument that you can buy a huge amount of water before breaking even. I figure even at a steep 50 cents per gallon it would take us 4 to 6 years worth of supply, and that doesn't even account for a watermaker's ongoing maintenance costs. The cost/benefit just doesn't seem to be there.
Cost of a mediocre watermaker, $3500. Not having to dinghy to shore seven times to fill up 150 gallons...priceless.

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So what, lots of people are going to have a Honda generator etc for other things anyway. And nothing says you can not run an AC watermaker off solar if you have the battery capacity.

But I wasn't really interested in anything other than whether people do/planned to have a watermaker.
Then you would be buying a watermaker without all the information you need to make a sound decision.
As far as a Honda Generator...my point was if you think you are getting away with $2000...your not. Add $1100 for a Honda EU2000. But still, $3100, Is not too bad. As far as "lots of people are going to have a Honda generator". I can only share with you what I see here in the Sea of Cortez. I would estimate 20% of active cruisers (not long term anchor outs) have them. Plus...they do not last forever. Especially in the salt water environment. My friends who just completed their circumnavigation got 4 years out of theirs.
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