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Old 10-01-2011, 18:38   #1
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Watermaker or Not ?

New to cruising and not sure how it will go. We plan on the Bahammas next winter for a couple of months plus a month going down the ditch sightseeing and was not sure how practical it would be to sail the Exummas without one. Ant thoughts?
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Old 10-01-2011, 18:47   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

All depends on what sort of places you'll be going to. If you'll be in and out of marinas, i'd say don't bother, however, if you'll be doing a lot of travelling or spending quite a bit of time at anchor then one would prove very usefull, saving the need for constant dingy trips to stock up.

Budget is the main factor here, if you can afford it, i'd say get one but always remember you'll need to carry a backup supply in case it goes wrong.
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Old 10-01-2011, 18:48   #3
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How big are your tanks?
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:04   #4
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watermaker or not

tanks are 100 gal and there would be two poeple cruising. If we were sure about the lifestyle, there would be no question
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:24   #5
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simonmd has set the real questions for you. If you are going to be in marinas with access to fresh water, then the watermaker is more trouble and money than you will need. However, it you are going to be anchored out in the little islands and back bays for more than a week then access to fresh water via the watermaker makes the whole experience pleasant rather than an ordeal.
- - Thing about watermakers is you have to use them frequently or you will have spent a lot of money for a lot of trouble. Then you also have to have the electrical power available to run them.
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:26   #6
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It depends on how much power you have available and how much water you use. Our boat is fairly water intensive with fresh water heads and we can go about a week on 120 gallons if we're a bit careful. If you have salt water heads you should be able to go a bit longer. You should be able to get water a number of places in the Exumas at weekly intervals. Even at $.50 a gallon it's a lot cheaper than a water maker. We on the otherhand like to go places a ways from civilization for a couple of weeks at a time so a watermaker works for us. If you decide to head over to Long Island or Conception Island you might find a water maker useful otherwise you should do fine without it.
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:38   #7
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Osirissail touched on the problems especially the electrical power. I am building my own but I have a 7.5KW generator on the boat. My hope is to produce 35-40 gallons/ hour.

I mention the flow rate because it is important. Many folks are out there using small watermakers which is their choice of course. I intend to spend time on my anchor, I do not want to beg water, cart it in my dinghy and the hassle of getting it from the dinghy to my tanks.

Your first hurdle is to weigh how much power is available. If you elect to run with 12vdc, you will not produce much water/day but you may produce enough to satisfy your need. It is possible to power a watermaker from a portable generator. If you consider that route, 1 HP is going to be about 1 KW.........yeah, I know, 1HP=746W. But there are losses to contend with so assume at least 1 KW to be on the safe side. My machine is going to use a 2HP, single phase, 120/240 AC. One more thing related to power.......starting a motor will cause a current surge so don't expect the 746W/HP to get you the results you need.

Good luck and try to keep us informed--

Foggy
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:52   #8
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- - Thing about watermakers is you have to use them frequently or you will have spent a lot of money for a lot of trouble.
Osirissail got it right with this statement. I din't realize this when I bought our watermaker. You need to use it every 5 days or so or you have to pickle it (inject a biocide to keep the membrane from fouling). Pickling chemicals can be expensive. So, unless you're a full-time cruiser or at least one who spends longer in remote anchorages than your tankage will allow for, it's probably not your best investment.

-Steve
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:01   #9
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I had not thought about the pickling issue. We tend to like the concept of being away from things, and power is not a problem. We have been on the Chesapeake for years and around the coast from Atalantic City to Beauford, nc, and I sometime like it cool on 90 degree days with 100% humidity so we have a 6kw genset 420 watts of solar cells. This however is a first 6 month trip, and 2 of those months will be on the east coast and Florida. I think I may wait a year to see if I return.

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Old 11-01-2011, 06:41   #10
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If you aren't certain how long you are going to be cruising- I'd skip it for now. Its not like no one else in the world sells watermakers. Give it a few months and see if you really need it.

I think there is a real tendency to over outfit a boat before leaving. We are currently debating the pros and cons of a watermaker with me firmly in the "wait and see" camp. They aren't inexpensive and there are lots of other things that have a higher priority for me.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:52   #11
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The thing that would change my life the most would be a substantial size water maker.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:11   #12
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The thing that would change my life the most would be a substantial size water maker.

Oh, I dunno...
A winning lotto ticket, a wayward tanker, a shipwreck carrying whiskey, a precisely aimed meteor.... all sorts of possibilities....
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:13   #13
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Mimsy is correct. As you stated "New to cruising and not sure how it will go" I'm a dealer for watermakers and I get all sorts of people who are in the same moment as you are now. There are enough on board systems that you will need. A watermaker is a great asset if you continue doing six month cruises every year. But if this is an occasional thing I'd recommend you go and haul water when you can where you can while you cruise for the first time. Actually the best customers for watermakers are those that are already used to cruising a bit and have learned how to conserve water for a while first. You will see that 100 gallons is not much for two people. Buying an expensive watermaker before knowing your personal wants and needs is a big mistake many people make. Choosing the right watermaker that is best for you, not your dock buddy, only comes from experiencing your boat under your own use, under your own terms and talking to those that have your best interest in mind. Not just some salesman trying to make money off of you. There are just too many types and sizes of watermakers for you to make the right choice at the onset. You said "If we were sure about the lifestyle" Rely on this instinct first and take a wait and see position. There are plenty of threads here on CF to read about watermakers. Go through them and ask us questions first. Also the Miami show is next month. If you or any CF member is going let me know. I'll be there. If anybody wants to stop by and do nothing but discuss watermakers I have tickets to get you in. Just PM me. In walking the thin CF line I do not try to sell anybody a water maker. But I do personally discuss the pros and cons and have helped many CF members with their choice. I just try to direct people in the right direction and help them to ask the right questions.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:14   #14
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a shipwreck carrying whiskey, ....
Single Malt? I hate having the bilges flooded with Blends...

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Old 11-01-2011, 08:55   #15
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You can buy, and have delivered a lot of water for the price of a watermaker. However cruising full time I could not live without one (and we can and do live without a fridge). I have two teens and make 22 gals hour when under power. This is adequate. We spent the summer in the Sea of Cortez and thiss allowed us to stay away from ports for up to a month with fresh water showers every day. Luxury.
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