Precious fresh water, onboard
Preamble…. The original water maker (machine for making fresh, drinkable water from sea water) (or to give it its proper title ‘Reverse Osmosis Watermaker’) that was onboard TopCat, when we bought her, had seen better days…. well, let’s just say it was knackered (technical term) so this was disposed of last winter (2018) in Leros.
So for the past 2 seasons we have taken TopCat into a town quay each week to top up with water. This is absolutely fine when it is just 2 of us, but when we have visitors it means we have to carefully plan I sailing around water availability and we have to seriously restrict everyone’s water usage. Having our own ability to make fresh water will change this. It means we won’t have to go into town quays, we will not have to buy and carry drinking water and we will have more water available because we will be able to make water whenever we want to!
So finding a new system that was both affordable and big enough to be useful was our next challenge. After a lot of research, phone calls, more research, checking the bank balance
Fast forward to September 2019, Southampton Boat Show… several telephone calls and email conversations with Jim (good guy) from Sailfish Marine, presented an opportunity to purchase an Osmosea (made in Italy as quite a lot of today’s water makers are)
80 litre per hour (wow), running on 12 Volts (double wow with knobs on) (I’m getting quite excited at this point) at Boat Show prices (now very excited) which can be shipped to Greece (totally ecstatic).
So I placed the order and eagerly awaited delivery. Thanks to Jim everything went according to plan… despite nearly sinking on the way to Leros (us not the water maker) see blog 50… the package arrived!
Well, when I say package, I mean a pallet that took 2 of us to get it to the boat! Having unpacked the pallet and actually running through what we had bought, I was very happy! So we carefully carried each component onto the boat I could begin my planning process. Will this fit here? that will go there? and what the hell do we do with that? etc …. etc.
The original water maker had it’s own locker (cupboard) and I had planned that the new one would have the same luxury except we had bought a bigger unit than originally planned and so of course, it was a bit longer. However, a small hole into the adjacent locker would hopefully work and house the additional protrusion.
Having cut this strangely shaped hole through the bulkhead it slipped in a treat. So now time to begin the fitting of the feeder pump and filtration system. (So as to not bored you too rigid, I’ve left the explanation to the pics). These will be situated in the port engine room, so the fitting of all the pipes connecting the whole system is the next stage.
It sounds easy but you can only begin to imagine the hours of cussing, swearing, and the odd expletive, that I’ve had to transmit during this delicate operation.
I try and make everything as easy and straightforward as possible, and I label everything as we go. This way, it should be easy for anyone else to work with in the future.
The thing about water makers, is the process of removing the salt from seawater, apart from removing suspended debris like seaweed, plankton, fish, small children, etc., it also takes out any minerals so the water, although perfectly drinkable, does taste a bit odd, well, not what we are used to. So as part of the water maker installation we are fitting a mineralisation filter between the water maker and water tank.
This will make the water taste just like bottled mineral water! This means that we will no longer have to buy or carry to the boat and store packs of bottled water. We will be able to drink the water straight from the tap. This said, we won’t be running the water maker during our winter stay in a marina. You can only run it in clean sparkly seas, the water in the Marina is dirty and not only will clog the filters quickly will not do the membranes (things that remove the salt) any good either.
There is usually a plentiful supply of fresh water on the pontoon but you never know if it’s fresh, brackish (contains some salt) (we find that the islands that have to import water by ship tend to have brackish water) or the state of the pipes and hoses. So we decided to also add a Dockside filtration system from our mate Jim at Sailfish (this arrived with the water maker).
This system consists of two 10” filter housings coupled together, one fitted with a 5 micron filter, the other a carbon filter, these take out all of the unpleasantries but it won’t take the salt out of brackish water, so I always taste the water before it goes into the tank so I know if we can drink the tank water or not.
To finish the water system onboard TopCat I’ve also fitted another 10” filter with a carbon cartridge by the fresh water pump to remove any bad tastes and odours that may occur from the stored water in the tank. We only have a tank capacity for about one week so storage is not usually a problem… I know, I’m obsessed with clean fresh water… but it is the most precious commodity we have onboard… apart from the gin!
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