Originally Posted by RDW
I have a 46 foot sloop
with 150 gal of water tanks
(3). I plan to do the World ARC
. My boat had a water maker that has given up the ghost. Previous owner used it. I think I have read that boats with water makers used 7 liters per person per day while boats without did well with 3 liters pppd ( recent world arc) I can easily see that having a water maker would be nice. I can also see that it is one more thing to maintain. I have a large shade cloth that I am tempted to adapt to catching rain water.
Anybody done both?
What follows is based on some real personal experience, some of which was unpleasant and unexpected. That always has a way of making a strong impression, especially when one experiences such primal things as thirst and lack of water. My experience can be summed up as follows:
1. Pacific Passage
to San Francisco
(about 2,500 miles due to our route) with four man crew. It was not my boat.
2. Boat with no water maker
3. 30 days transit (5 days longer than expected due to inoperable engine
and becalmed in the Pacific High)
unexpectedly inoperable for voyage due to malfunction
after leaving Kauai
5. Water tanks almost empty by end of voyage, what water was left in the bottom of the tanks was foul (disgustingly thick with algae, slime etc.)
6. Left Kauai on the edge of a named Tropical Storm, so experienced lots of rain for the first few days and nights, but felt no need to collect any due to full water tanks.
7. Very little rain (almost none) for last 25 days (no way to replenish with rain)
8. Rationed fresh water early to only be used for drinking and cooking
, used salt water
for bathing and dish cleaning
9. By the end of the voyage, thirst was very apparent as we had little fresh water and were not sure how much longer the voyage would take, due to weak winds and no engine.
Lesson: It is one thing to be thirsty when you KNOW that fresh water is a few minutes away (e.g. bay sailing) but entirely different when you are hundreds of miles from land and unable to get closer due to light winds and no engine. In other words,
real thirst and real risk is when you have no or very little water and NO way to replenish it soon and unsureness of how long you must make what you have last.
10. I resolved to be better prepared (on my own boat) on any future long distance voyage. My plan includes having:
- clean (inspected and thoroughly cleaned) and filled and tested multiple fresh water tanks,
- a tested and reliable water maker with a spare parts kit,
- some means of capturing rain when it rains (e.g. tarp with funnel and hose),
- At least 10 gallons of emergency water in reserve in multiple separate plastic tanks (jerry jugs).
Second Lesson Related to Watermakers:
An engine driven unit may lose its utility if the engine is not working during the voyage. It can happen.
I hope you find this helpful.
Being on a becalmed boat in the middle of the Pacific with rationed water made me remember:
“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner