Potable Water Success

It has been almost three weeks since we left the sealock at Corpach, the last time we filled our tanks with water from a tap yet Temptress still has almost two full tanks of drinking water and we’ve not died of thirst. The watermaker has come into its own and we are starting to make sense of things we’d got to know over the years about Temptress’ plumbing but never connected the dots mentally. It may appear labyrinthine but once understood we are realising the original Jeanneau design was quite clever. 

On the pressurised side each tank has a stop cock which once open enables its contents to be used at any of the three taps or to fill the calorifier where it can be heated by the engine or mains electricity. Everyone knows water flows downhill and we knew too that with the pressure pump off and all the stop cocks open water will move freely from the forward tank under our bunk which is slightly higher to the two smaller tanks under the main cabin sole (the nautical term for the wooden flooring). A total capacity of five hundred and eighty litres.

On the filling side there is a filler cap on the side deck leading to a large pipe that runs from somewhere behind the mirrored locker above the sink in the forward heads (bathroom) to a T-joint above the tank under our bunk. Incoming water from a hose then fills this forward tank to the brim before overflowing onward to the other tanks. With the installation of the watermaker, Kevin also had a valve put into the forward tank filler pipe so that water could be directed only into the other two. This would ensure that if the water was of dubious quality we’d contaminate only the two small tanks.
The watermaker output goes into the forward tank as it is adjacent to its machinery which also lives under our bunk. Putting two and two together from our existing knowledge we realised that the watermaker output could be kept in isolation in the forward tank if necessary. And more slowly, it dawned on us that we could also fill the lower two tanks either in turn or simultaneously by opening the stop cocks into the domestic side appropriately. We can either open the filler pipe valve and let excess production from the watermaker spill over into both the lower tanks or we can keep it shut and control which tank it drains into via the domestic stop cocks. We are now the experts in water diversion aboard our little kingdom and we’ve developed a child-like delight in opening and closing the valves then watching the analogue fresh water gauge by the chart table swing past the red into the green until it reaches 4/4! All the water we’ve been using over the past week or so has been soft watermaker made stuff, purer at 200ppm than the usual domestic supply that comes out of your tap at ashore and no chlorinated taste. We’ve both learnt to moderate our use of soap and washing up liquid to avoid a surfeit of bubbles!

With the solar panels and the wind generator constantly charging the batteries plus the occasional bit of motoring into harbour we now have more than enough power to run the watermaker on any passage longer than a couple of hours (the minimum time the manufacturers recommend running it for) and seem for now to be making more water than the pair of us can use.  As a side note we last plugged into mains power in Oban two weeks ago so our multiplicity of charging systems are serving us well too.

Now if only we could work out how to generate hot water without running the engine for an hour. We’ve a solar shower on board, purchased and never used on Shawa’al our Bahrain boat (it was easier to jump in the hot Arabian sea). The bag needs to be left black side up in full sun and out of the wind for several hours making it a nuisance in the cockpit if you are sailing or just sitting around in the anchorage, it was too exposed to the breeze on the foredeck to get more than lukewarm. So far we’ve only got it hot enough once for showers and it was a bit of a palava trying to suspend it above the hatch in the forward heads so we could stand under the nozzle yet reach the crude clip that serves as a tap. One to try again in sunnier climes.