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Old 31-07-2013, 21:07   #1
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Dilemma...more water or more power?

Thought I'd put this on the mainboard, as it's a judgement call, and there is a lot of experience here.

I own a one-off Hughes 46, racer/cruiser tri, 46' x 44', about 10,000 displacement. I have one AGM 8-D about 250 amps, and a only a 25 gal water tank (the boat was a full-on racer). I have a smallish compartment in what we might call the bilge, where I could build in a plastic 10 gal water tank or add three small AGM batteries in parallel, about 180 amps total. Using the three batteries, they fit very snugly there, and I am maxing out the amps for the space. There isn't any more space on the boat except the area above.

I have a Spectra 150 water maker, which draws about 9 amps an hour and makes about 6 gals an hour. My electrical needs are low, just chart plotter, radio, running lights, 6 LED cabin lites, some pressure water, (manual anchor windless), and that's it. I have a bunch of solar and a D400 wind turbine, and a 25 hp outboard with small alternator.

For blue water cruising, what would you put in the space? Water or juice capacity? For cruising, there are the obvious advantages and disadvantages to each choice. Thx in advance...
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Old 31-07-2013, 21:21   #2
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I vote for power. It can be used to make water.
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Old 31-07-2013, 22:12   #3
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

I'd vote batteries, but it depends a bit on how much water you're using on average. If it's just you 25 gallons should last a long time. For my family of four that will be toast in about 4-5 days.

But really, go with batteries. If you need more water you can always carry a spare can or two on deck. Hard to do that with batteries. And there aren't a lot of people complaining about too much battery power.

Especially with low electrical needs and lots of charging: batteries.
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Old 31-07-2013, 22:28   #4
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Power, power, always more power! you can make anything from lights to water with power ! seems to me that I could always use more power when we first started out! had just 1 starting batt, and 1 house batt. and as we went along we got more power ! never had enough till we got our first gen set ! LOL If you like your comfort like we do you will find more room for more power ! just sayin as ya go along your needs will get bigger at least most of us do ! Years ago we made do with oil lamps and a camp stove, and they were ok but they were hot in the tropics Now we have AC and deep freezers, water makers and on and on ! but we sleep well with the cold ac LOL and it's sure nice to have enought water to take a shower when ya want and have a little ice cream once in a while !! We roughed it once but now we want our wham whams and zoom zooms in our old age !! so we vote for MORE Power! LOL
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Old 31-07-2013, 22:36   #5
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

both!
running out of power is no big deal if you still have sails,but running out of water can be fatal!
a 46 ft boat sould ideally be able to carry 50 gallons minimum for ocean crossings,batteries can fail,watermakers break ,panels get washed away
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Old 31-07-2013, 23:11   #6
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Water.
You will be running the watermaker when the supply from solar/ wind exceeds the power draw so the battery size is a irrelevant to your biggest energy consumer.

Batteries do not produce power.

I have a greater power demand than you and no wind (which evens out power production) I cruised quite happily on a single 200AHrs battery for a year. (I had replaced most of my batteries, but kept one of the old remaining 200Ahr batteries in a separate bank and used this for over 12 months rather than throwing it away)
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Old 31-07-2013, 23:52   #7
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Really depends on your lifestyle, how much water and electricity you use. My wife and I lived on one 35 gallon tank for a month on one passage and still had water left. Didn't scrimp or ration the water, just didn't have that much need of fresh water. Washed and rinsed in salt water then a short rinse to get the salt off if we couldn't take advantage of a passing shower. The rest of our freshwater went in our mouths. Down the dock is a guy with a 40' or so Catalina. He goes through 20 gallons a day and has set his boat up with a generator and water maker to support his lifestyle.

It's easy to add to your freshwater supply with Gerry Jugs on deck or in the cockpit. We always carried at least 15 gallons each of additional water and diesel that way. Not important to a multihull but made great movable ballast storing it on the windward rail.

If you have no refrigeration, that one 8D should be plenty of power for your boat. Have always sailed with 220 amp/hr storage in two golf cart batteries and it has been more than enough to last 4 or more days with similar electrical set up as you've got. Added 2 130 watt solar panels for the trip to Hawaii and never had to turn the engine on to charge the batteries on the 15 day passage. Went more than 10 days without seeing the sun but batteries were still above 12v when the sun finally came out and charged them up fully. With your solar and wind generator, you will be swimming in electrons and shouldn't need any more storage capacity. That would possibly not be the case if you are contemplating adding refrigeration in the future, however.

So it really is going to be your call. Might want to go out for a week or more and see what you run out of first, water or electricity before you make a decision. how to use the space.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:01   #8
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Thanks, roverhi, and the others above him re comments. All interesting. I watch water usage, and take quick showers. I am thinking of installing a small Isotherm frig...but that's it. Well, never say "Never"!

Am leaning toward the batteries, but they weigh three times what water weighs for my little compartment. I am wary of every pound I bring aboard, as I have a need for speed. Good points all, though. Thx.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:18   #9
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

I vote more water! You will get more enjoyment from the water and since you say you have enough power why get more? If you have a power problem and started out with full water tanks that is better than having lots of full batteries doing nothng for you.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:38   #10
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

I think I am going to do what roverhi suggested...go out for, in my case, about three weeks up here in Maine, and see what I use, and how it goes. My boat has such a span...44', that I don't go to small docks, so the only way to get water is by ferrying it out. Noelex 77 is correct, as I would only run the water maker when I have plenty of wind and sun, as, yes, batteries don't make power (but, they do store power).

On the other hand, I could carry 15 or so gallons of water on board, as I do have space. I have read each of your comments three times. Sitting here in Thomaston, Maine, it's foggy and no wind. Nice to have some battery storage...nice to have some water storage. Hmmmm.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:53   #11
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

I think Peters idea of living with system is a very good one.
However, I think you will will have plenty of battery and water storage for most situations, but if your watermaker breaks down, or cannot be run due to harbour pollution, that's when you run into problems with the lack of water.
In the latter case you need to rinse your watermaker every 5days with fresh water and you will find your water supply does not stretch very far.

At anchor without the watermaker you will consume very little power and it is hard to imagine a reasonable solar array (especially on a tri) and wind not keeping up on even a very bad day.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:46   #12
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Are you planning on adding an autopilot?
Batteries.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:39   #13
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Personally I think you have plenty of power now and plenty of regenerative capabilities to keep your current bank charged for your stated usage. That being said, I'd opt for more power as well. An extra ten permanent gallons capacity is fairly minimal for crossings or any boat really and 10 gals. is 80 pounds. I'd suggest taking along at least 4-6 5gal. collapsible jugs. This way you can fill them when needed directly from your VT150 and easily store them out of the away when not needed. If one or two jugs break or are lost over board you're still ahead of the game. In the rare case you need to abandon your boat and jump in a life raft it's a lot easier to grab a couple of these jugs. This extends both your power and water carrying capabilities and makes better use of the added weight. Remember you're losing 3gals. every five days or each run time on your watermaker for flushing and figure that into your calculations..
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:23   #14
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Tellie,

There is wisdom in your reply. I just want to add a caveat: All the collapsible jugs we've used over the last 25 yrs. have been extremely susceptible to holing, and none have stayed hole free more than 2 yrs. They tend to crack where the "corners" are, I think due to stress when they're collapsed. We do not use them even for short term storage, only to transfer rainwater to our tanks.

If Pipeline adds another 10 gallons, that's a solid reserve capacity. Depending on conservation skills, that could keep him going for 20 days, if he's singlehanding. Even on our longest passage (and he'll be making faster passages than we), we (for two of us) never used our whole 50 gallons. People who are accustomed to freshwater conservation can eke it out efficiently. I'd have to say that ultimately, you can't drink batteries.

Perhaps Pipeline could find another location for one or the other, so that he could have both greater water storage, and power enough for refrigeration. If he wants to go to hot places, the water issue becomes more critical, especially if they are low rainfall areas.

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Old 01-08-2013, 16:15   #15
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Re: Dilemma...more water or more power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Tellie,

There is wisdom in your reply. I just want to add a caveat: All the collapsible jugs we've used over the last 25 yrs. have been extremely susceptible to holing, and none have stayed hole free more than 2 yrs. They tend to crack where the "corners" are, I think due to stress when they're collapsed. We do not use them even for short term storage, only to transfer rainwater to our tanks.

If Pipeline adds another 10 gallons, that's a solid reserve capacity. Depending on conservation skills, that could keep him going for 20 days, if he's singlehanding. Even on our longest passage (and he'll be making faster passages than we), we (for two of us) never used our whole 50 gallons. People who are accustomed to freshwater conservation can eke it out efficiently. I'd have to say that ultimately, you can't drink batteries.

Perhaps Pipeline could find another location for one or the other, so that he could have both greater water storage, and power enough for refrigeration. If he wants to go to hot places, the water issue becomes more critical, especially if they are low rainfall areas.

Ann
Good insight Ann. I actually thought of a few of your points and more of my boring calculations as well, so here's my boring thoughts on why. The costs of glassing in or whatever construction methods that are used to add these ten gallons would probably cost more than repalcing the collaspable containers occasionally along the way for a long while. You are correct they don't have a great reputation for longevity. I was taking into consideration that on a Trimaran that storing the solid blue 5gal. jugs, which I prefer, becomes more of a space and securing issue whether they are empty or full. At one time I was a very much a water Nazi. I could get by on a lot less than I do now but having a watermaker frees a lot of that burden up. But one of the real problems Pipline faces because of his limited water holding capacity is the flushing requirements of his watermaker. In the 20 day time frame you suggested if he does not use his watermaker at all in that time he will need to flush it four times as per the factory requirements. At a minimum of 3gals. per flush that is another 12 gals. of fresh water he can not count on for his own consumption. So adding just another 10 gals still cuts him back to 23 gals. of usable water. Another danger that happens a lot is people start to rely on their watermaker when making a crossing, which as you are aware is a no no. Pipline more than most, because of his limited water capacity, should be thinking more on the lines of consistently topping off his tanks at the 1/3 to 1/2 empty level in case of a watermaker failure at sea. This would also fall right in line with the size of his watermaker and a good run time to keep the membrane healthy of about three hours of run time every 2-3 days. This way he's topped off and doesn't have to radically scrimp on his water usage. If all his recharging capabilities fail (unlikely as that may be) with the extra battery power he can still run his watermaker several times (at 27amps per run) without re-charging to keep his tanks topped off and easily have some reserve for the other essential electrical requirements thus greatly extending his water capacity safety at sea before he loses all power. This plan also allows him if all systems work well throughout his cruise and on the 2-3 day watermaking time frame above to have an available 6-9 gals of water for daily use. Plenty to let him have all his water needs met without scrimping at all. A nice pleasure when making crossings or any extended cruising.
Told you it would be boring, but something at least Pipline should seriously consider.
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