Monday, November 21, 2011

Catching Raindrops

Water is a very precious commodity especially if like us you do not spend much time in marinas and do not have a water-maker. Most of the time a boat is within easy reach of a fuel dock to get water but on passage or in far out places or if an island is suffering from a drought it can be difficult. So what better way to replenish your tanks than to collect what falls from the sky for free?

On Alianna we collect the water straight from our decks and put it into our tanks. We have a high toe rail all around the boat with two small scuppers/drains, one each side towards the aft end of the boat before the cockpit. When it rains or when we take waves the water runs down the gently sloping decks to the scuppers at the end. The deck fitting goes into a pipe inside the boat and back out through the side of the hull. Sim has put a Y valve onto the starboard side pipe so that we can divert the fresh water when it rains into our water tanks. Unfortunately we can’t get to the pipes on the port side of our boat but all our four water tanks are connected so we can equalize. We have a fairly large water capacity and can carry around 180 gallons which at a push and if we were really frugal with it could last us around two months. However we do not normally ration ourselves quite so much.

We try to make sure that our decks are always kept clean. Before we put any water in the tanks we always check it by collecting buckets of water that are pouring out from the scuppers before we divert it. We put a filter in the scupper, which we made, to prevent any particles to slip through. We also chlorinate our water with regular household bleach. Approximately 5 ml per 50 gallons. Our galley tap then has a water filter on it to make the water taste better.

We always fill the buckets first to make sure that the deck has had a good wash. Or wait until after we have had a couple of downpours if we have just had a sail and the boat is covered in salt.

And with all those buckets of water…..we do the laundry.

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