Re: Water Useage/conservation Cruising
Great thread, Brian. Here's our water usage.
We have 1,000 liters, or 268 gallons, not counting the 12 gallons in the water heater. Onboard we have a family of 6, a dog, and a beta fish. ("Flo" doesn't actually use much water, she just sits there in her bowl, which fits nicely in the sink when we go sailing.) Our water lasts 3 weeks with most showering done on shore. We do drink from a refilled plastic water bottle brought from shore, and generally spend most of our day on shore, where much of our water drinking takes place.
The area where we like to anchor is on a lake, at the farthest end from the entrance to the lake. So there isn't much water turnover from the tide, and there are recent, tested-as-marginal issues with cesspool run-off at that end of the lake, especially after rainstorms. It's not closed for swimming, but it's been a hot topic in the papers.
So when we step onto the boat from the dinghy, everyone quickly rinses their lower legs and feet with the transom shower. And we rinse the dog's 4 legs and paws, cupping water around his paws to get all the salt and sand off. The fresh water rinse keeps our feet/skin happier and there is a LOT less sand on the boat. Also, the dog's fur stays clean and it doesn't feel disgusting when he rubs by your feet/legs. (He likes to hang-out under the salon table. And he is otherwise underfoot.)
We wash dishes with fresh water. Everyone knows to not let the water run, but twice this summer we heard the pump running, which lately means the transom shower is off at the shower head, but not at the knob. Like Smacky drinking all my tequila, it dribbles a little bit in that mode.
Last year we didn't do as much foot-washing, but we took more showers on board. It seems to be equalling out.
This works out to 2 gallons a day, if you count the dog as half a person.
We have 4 tanks, (located just like the quadrants on a graph):
1) 166 liters (forward starboard)
2) 166 liters (forward port)
3) 166 liters (amidships port)
4) 500 liters (amidships starboard)
We use them in the order 1, 2, 4, 3. This is reduce forward weight early, and then to save a small tank for the same reason Brian mentioned. When we have 166 liters left, we know to start thinking about getting more. (And half-full tanks have a lot of "free surface" which decreases stability.)
I can tell by the list of the boat when tank 4 is getting empty, and sometimes some of the other tanks too.
We have four heads, each with a combination sink/shower head, but one head is used like a closet, so three are in use. We have the galley sink and the transom shower. We have a crew's quarters sink but it is never used, and when storing sails, etc., I make sure nothing is catching on that sink's faucet. So there are really 5 places that water could be running. We leave the pump breaker off when we go ashore, unless I'm certain that fresh water isn't leaking out anywhere. It's nice to have the water pressure ready-to-go when we step back onto the boat and want to rinse our feet.
We use powered milk, using water from a shore-refilled water jug. But now that we have the kinks worked out of our electric fridge and freezer, and since we now have ample solar power, we just started buying fresh milk. That's probably not worth mentioning, but it sure is nice.
Last summer we had a water filter on the faucet, and would freely drink the boat's water. This summer is more about the jug or two brought from shore. (I didn't put a filter on this summer.) In the spring we do an 8 hour Clorox shock, immediatly followed by (partially and fully) refilling and (thoroughly) draining each tank several times.
At the beginning of the summer we stock-up on 2-liter bottles of ginger ale and other sodas. I want my young crew to be familiar with the taste of ginger ale, in case they start feeling queazy.
We sometimes have an emergency gallon next to the starting battery down in the bilge. Since we are very coastal, we never seem to be more than 2 hours from a harbor. Once we start going offshore, I plan to significantly increase the jug storage.
As for collecting rainwater, we have strings of monofilament installed 6 inches above the spreaders, which stopped the birds from pooping on the deck. But I'm still not ready to start collecting rainwater. The anchor comes up a bit muddy and I don't invest the time with a bucket or the saltwater washdown hose to keep the deck clean enough.
Reading this thread has helped me realize that our stack-pack is designed with material that holds water. When it rains, it even fills with water. I haven't drank the water run-off from it yet mainly because I find bird eggs in there every spring. We ought to clean it before trusting the water, but it's not a high priority as there is water available nearby.
A true cruiser would probably eat the eggs.
We buy our diesel from the same place we refill our water. I try to buy $100 or more at a time, and once bought $350 worth. He is reasonably priced and I want to make sure we are welcome to come by and refill the water tanks. We usually refill the water at night when he's closed and the fuel dock is not being used. (He knows we do this at night.) We do this so we aren't preventing him from selling $5,000 of gas to the next fishing boat that comes along. It takes about 30 minutes for "us" to refill the 4 water tanks, and he has nearby competition. The fishing boats could easily go somewhere else.
"Us" usually means me, with wet clothes from trying to get the fastest flow that still lets gravity hold the hose in place, instead of the hose acting like a water-propelled rocket.
When we do refill our water tanks when he's open -- always buying diesel when he's open -- the crew knows that we are there to fill the water tanks quickly. I let each kid buy ice cream or a candy bar or something to add to the bill and help us be a valued customer. (It's treat, and the kids usually come back with ice cream for me too, which is most appreciated.)
I believe it also helps to tip the dock boy well, and they take our garbage in the process.
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
The best minds discuss sailing (and a little bit of politics). I don't know why. It's a mystery!
Last edited by Bene505; 08-30-2013 at 06:57 AM.