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Old 07-03-2020, 17:19   #1
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Boat: Building 52' catamaran
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To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Hi All

Time to select a watermaker for our under construction 52' Schionning catamaran. This is a big ticket purchase so nice to get it right.

Boat will be a world cruiser and long term live aboard mainly my wife and I with kids and guests from time to time.

Will have a large 48V lithium battery bank (circa 16kw), 48V 16kW DC Gen set, biggest solar system we can fit on (around 3.0kw) & at least 240v 5kw available via inverter (If your wondering the system will support electric propulsion).

Watermaker of 50lph (13 US GPH) capacity at 24V or 240V should be sufficient. Plan to run watermaker off battery bank.

The Schenker Zen 50 looks attractive in terms of weight, efficiency and price point. Especially considering the weak AUD. There appears to be good and bad comments out there but frankly this is true of most water makers if you search hard enough.

Other units we are considering are the Spectra 33 cape horn extreme 330 & Sea recovery Aqua Whisper Mini 350 (240v version).

The most recent ARC survey located from Aug 2015 lists all of the above. The Schenker came in with average rating as follows:

"The compact and lightweight Italian Schenker models consistently receive an average rating, as they did last year. The skipper of the Humphreys 77 Aglaia scored theirs perfectly though, adding: ďSchenker DC unit excellent. Total 70 hours run. Big watermaker not used.Ē Two skippers of 50-footers praised the support from Mactra Marine. Those who brought the mean score down for Schenker with poor ratings failed to say why."

Appreciate comments on from long term Schenker users.

Other thoughts and suggestions welcome.
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Old 07-03-2020, 17:33   #2
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

We have a schenker modular 35 that I purchased used and non-functional.

Iíve rebuilt it completely, removed all electronic control systems, changed the way itís packaged, etc....

So far weíve got about 20 hours on it. Itís making water with TDS in spec with the manufacturers tolerances. Rebuild is easy, I carry a complete o-ring kit. I hope to not need it, but also donít have enough time on the unit to say if itís good or bad long term. Short term Iím pleased.

Our previous watermaker was a katadyn 40e, so naturally thereís no comparison there.
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Old 07-03-2020, 18:30   #3
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

50LPH in Theory sounds like a lot, but in practice if you have a family of 4 (2 adults & 2 Kids) with sometimes guests the usage can be quite high and you may end up having to run it multiple hours a day.


This obviously depends on how restrictive or open you want to be with water usage, but I have found with the family that water just seems to evaporate from the boat


We have an RO 120LPH, but it needs to run on mains or the generator - An hour a day takes care of our water needs and on not so sunny days helps with the batteries
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:06   #4
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

We installed a new Schenker Zen 30 basic 12 months ago before we left Australia. We are now in Sudan and the unit has done almost 200 hours. Performance has been consistently as per specification at 30 litres per hour using about 9 amps. For two people, 30 litres per hour is ample. We shower every day and do the dishes (biggest consumers) and use 25 to 30 litres per day. Sometimes we hose the deck (if we are motoring in calm conditions) and do laundry as well. We run the Watermaker every 2 to 3 days for 2 to 4 hours to minimise the loss of flushing at the end of the run.

We have 900w solar and 900ah AGMs. No genset. We usually align water making with motoring where possible. Our electronics draw about the same as the watermaker, so in the scheme of things it’s not huge.

We ordered the unit in March last year and it was delivered to Australia exactly to the lead time offered by Schenker when we first contacted them. The comprehensiveness of the plumbing kit etc was impressive and the build quality is superb. We also ordered a spare Johnson pump, membrane and 3 years’ supply of filters and chemicals, all of which was competitively priced. The unit is more compact than we expected and the pump, filters etc can be mounted separate from the unit itself.

Schenker’s customer service has been absolutely fantastic. I had many questions pre-purchase and during installation, and we always got an almost immediate reply from Riccardo (allowing for time zones of course). Our unit recently developed a minor leak and they shipped parts free of charge (under warranty) to Djibouti the next day. We only paid for customs inspection fee in Djibouti (could be the subject of a post on its own!).

I get the impression Schenker is fanatical about their product and we would have no hesitation in buying one again in future.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:39   #5
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

We fitted a Zen 30 last winter and have can concur with above comments. No trouble
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:19   #6
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

I can't speak to the various models as I only have experience with Desalator, with which I am very happy.
However, unless you enjoy being frugal with water, a 50l per hour watermaker is something I think you'll regret. I have a 12V DC 100l/hr model and I usually have to run it for at least an hour a day when we are more than just two onboard.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:39   #7
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Dessalator D60 since new Allures 44 in 2009. Has run 1400 hours now. Gives in practice at least 60l per hour. Simple straightforward technic. Find service all over the world.
We changed membrames whith 800 hours, the predicted lifespan for these.
Never had other issue apart from blocked seawaterinlet.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:14   #8
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

p.s. sounds like a lovely boat, did you make it yourself or outsource?
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:17   #9
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

A contrarian view on the watermaker size:

First, the amount of power in total used to make water isn't a significant function of the size of the water maker. You'll use the same number of amp-hours per liter for a small unit as for a large one.

If you are running your unit predominantly from solar, who cares if you run it for 1 hours a day, or 2? or 6? or 10? In this case the increased capital cost of a large unit is wasted. Watermakers have lower maintenance costs if they run every day.

If you are running it only when using the genset, that's a different story, you'll want the watermaker to produce a day's worth of water in a day's worth of genset running time. This is the ONLY reason for having a large unit.

For what it's worth, we have a 40 lph unit that runs for 60 to 90 minutes every other day and makes all the water the two of us need. We are full time cruisers, and it has been years since we put anything other than RO water in the tank. If we are running the genset to do laundry, the watermaker runs for the duration, and replaces all the water the wash uses.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:30   #10
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Echotec has 48Vdc watermakers.

https://www.echotecwatermakers.com/d...ers_yachts.htm
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:31   #11
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

I can't comment on Schenker.
We have an Aquabase 60 li/h since 18 months. It is fully automatic, 3 button (Start, Stop, Rince) very silent and we had a very good service from SLCE.
It is installed on a Lucia 40 and with 4 adults, we run it 2 hours/day between 09:30 to 15:00 when our 960W solar system, can supply for the 10A of the Aquabase and the rest of the boat (fridge and freezer) keeping the voltage at 12.8V during the operation.
We are fully safisfied.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:42   #12
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Where in hell do you berth a 52' catamaran? Seems not what a real sailor would own. A floating hotel for the rich?
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:52   #13
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billknny View Post
A contrarian view on the watermaker size:

First, the amount of power in total used to make water isn't a significant function of the size of the water maker. You'll use the same number of amp-hours per liter for a small unit as for a large one.

If you are running your unit predominantly from solar, who cares if you run it for 1 hours a day, or 2? or 6? or 10? In this case the increased capital cost of a large unit is wasted. Watermakers have lower maintenance costs if they run every day.

If you are running it only when using the genset, that's a different story, you'll want the watermaker to produce a day's worth of water in a day's worth of genset running time. This is the ONLY reason for having a large unit.

For what it's worth, we have a 40 lph unit that runs for 60 to 90 minutes every other day and makes all the water the two of us need. We are full time cruisers, and it has been years since we put anything other than RO water in the tank. If we are running the genset to do laundry, the watermaker runs for the duration, and replaces all the water the wash uses.
I agree with most of your post except your concepts on power uses. There are some watermakers that are extremely high in efficiency and a good example would be Spectra. It produces more water per amp hour than pretty much most of its competitors and in many cases the difference is huge. So I don't agree with your statement that you will use the same amount of amp hours per litre whether it's a large water makeover a small one.
The rest of your post pretty much lines up with our personal experience after years of cruising
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:16   #14
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by moctrams View Post
Where in hell do you berth a 52' catamaran? Seems not what a real sailor would own. A floating hotel for the rich?


Iím a real sailor and would love to have a 52í catamaran!!!
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:22   #15
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Re: To Schenker or not to Schenker ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Iím a real sailor and would love to have a 52í catamaran!!!
Ha, Ha, Ha
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