Friday, August 26, 2011

Questions about water and sewage

Some comments/questions from Rhys aka Marc are worth a reply.
  • Marc mentioned squalls in 2009. He crewed with us from the Chesapeake to the USVI in November and we had more than a week of strong winds and fast sailing. While our knockdown this year is unique in our experience we have had quite a few experiences with winds above 35 knots, but not for days on end. We had more than 30 knots for perhaps 8 hours just before our arrival here for example. We are leaving for Australia in a couple of days and who are brave enough to predict a week away are suggesting winds around 25 knots in a week’s time. The passage is more than 1000 miles so we will not be in before this particular system and it could be much stronger before we get there.
  • He also mentioned that he expects to have 3 tanks for potable water and 1 tank for utility water. A couple of thoughts about this … you have little control over the water quality you can get. Some times you will have 4 tanks of the good stuff; other times, the only drinking water you will have will give from your watermaker and you can make it as you need it so one tank for this purpose is ample and you can use the other three for lesser quality water. Also, of course, the amount of water you need for drinking and cooking is really not very much so be flexible in the allocation of tanks.
  • We have two water filters. One is a Home Depot GE unit and it is right after the pressure pump so all the water we use goes through it. The other is a Seagull filter which provides a high standard of filtration. It is mounted below the galley counter and only feeds one faucet there. This water we use for cooking and drinking. The Seagull filter is a great unit but ridiculously pricey. The smallest unit, which we have, is around $500 and the cartridges are almost $100 but it is worth it I think. We have a foot pump in the galley, along with a sea water pump, but never use either. With a watermaker and rainfall collection you don’t have to be as careful with the water as the Hiscocks were 30 years ago. In fact, one ongoing concern I have is that the water can sit too long in the tanks. I wonder how pristine it is after a month or so?
  • Overboard discharge – We have a holding tank on one toilet but not the other. In the Eastern Caribbean last year we tended to use one head for peeing and the other for more serious affairs. We would pump out when we left harbour to go somewhere but never had to make a special trip. The reality though is that almost no boats have holding tanks (I would guess less than 5%) and everyone just dumps. Makes one not want to go for a morning swim in many locales when people are just getting up. The worst case scenario is Georgetown in the Bahamas where there are as many as 600 boats anchored in mid-winter and you are told not to swim in the harbour. And this is in a very large harbour that is open at both ends and with a good tidal flow happening. In the Pacific no one seems to use or have holding tanks. Here the anchorages are not as crowded as in the Bahamas or Caribbean and are much deeper (most are >35’)


Richard said...

Atalanta was on lake Mich.. Form 25 years and has no ability to pump overboard.. How would you suggest I modify the system before venturing to the Carrib..Richard

Richard said...

Looking forward to your return