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-   -   Rain Catcher? Anyone? (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/living-aboard/45397-rain-catcher-anyone.html)

marinegirl405 07-28-2008 10:07 AM

Rain Catcher? Anyone?
 
We live aboard, and even cruising in the USA from time to time have trouble coordinating filling our water tanks. We are planning on cruising further afield and on the list is "Make a water catcher". I'm currently thinking as large a bit of material as I can manage, with one or two (close-able) drain pipes and a hose attachment to run from the rain catcher to the water fill, possibly via a filter.

I've never seen a water catcher on any boat, so I'm looking for tips on what works and what doesn't so I don't have to make the same mistakes.

Despite an internet search I can't find anything.

What material? What shape to sew works best to catch/hold water? etc - anything really. Any support / stiffening structure required? All tips / comments appreciated.

I'm also undecided if to use the area at the back of the boat (but near the water tank fills) or the larger area at the front of the boat to rig the water catcher when needed.

sailingdog 07-28-2008 10:41 AM

There are quite a few different ways to make a "water catcher". Several links from this google search might be of interest to you. Ones that use boom tents or awnings seem to be the most popular.

A few pointers from using rain water collectors on OPBs...

First, make sure you have a way to divert the water, since the first few minutes will be cleaning the dirt/dust/grime off the water collection surface and isn't really suitable for putting into your tanks.

Second, make sure you've got a separate tank for collected water. That way, if the collected water gets contaminated, you haven't compromised all the water in your fresh water storage system.

Third, you really need to have several filters for the water collection system. The first can be something as simple as a coffee filter or piece of cheese cloth. This is really just to keep large piece of crud out of the tank. The second should be between the "rain water tank" and the pumps. This should be a standard household type freshwater filter with a 5 micron filter or so. The third should be between the water line and the faucet—and should be a "taste" filter that removes any chemical contaminants and such. This is similar to the NSA 100 or other household kitchen countertop filtration system.

On a lot of boats I've seen that have rain water collection systems, the rainwater collection tank has a separate deck fill from the regular freshwater tanks. The deck fill is often located to simplify collecting rain water.

Most of the rainwater collection systems were made using some-type of canvas, usually synthetic for lower maintenance.

One of the better ones I saw was a 12' x 10' boom tent setup, which had a water retention dam around the bottom end of each side about 4" high. In the center of the dam was a 1" hose fitting, each of which had a hose attached to a Y-splitter. The bottom of the y-splitter led down to where the deck fill was.

Freesail99 07-28-2008 11:13 AM

A coffee filter or piece of cheese cloth will not hold up for more then a minute with a heavy down pour. With the first filter you're really looking to filter out leaves, or large bugs and the like. A nylon window screen will serve this purpose. You can even double the screen up and make it catch even smaller items.

sailingdog 07-28-2008 11:19 AM

I was thinking of the metal, not paper coffee filters. But window screen would be a good idea too. :)

BTW, large bugs and leaves are generally not a problem, as most of the boats using these systems are generally in areas without either... leaves and large bugs are rather rare on the open water.

Of course, if you're using the rain catching system closer to land, and want to depend on it...get one of these:
http://images.westmarine.com/full/21254_f.jpg

and put it in the hose leading from the catchment system.

Omatako 07-29-2008 04:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 346762)
BTW leaves and large bugs are rather rare on the open water.

So are chemical contaminants :) . Geez what kind of rain do you guys get?:p

I have successfully used my bimini with a hose connector into a gauze strainer and no filters and while at sea the water gathered this way has been delicious.

I would probably agree with the serious filtration if you're in a harbour or near an industrial area but at sea . . . . not necessary. Just a quick wash of the catchment device (my bimini) to get rid of any bird droppings (the only contaminants at sea and even then rare), dump the first few gallons and away you go.

Andre

SkywalkerII 07-29-2008 07:20 AM

Check out atomvoyages.com. James Baldwin and Mei have circumnavigated on a Pearson Triton. He writes for mags, does refits, etc. On his site, he describes a rain collection system.

I've spoken and emailed with James. He built a single burner kero stove for my boat. He's a very nice and helpful guy.

Skywalker

sailingdog 07-29-2008 07:27 AM

Andre-

I'd rather design the system to deal with all conditions, and be able to use it whenever necessary, than for just open sea conditions, and have to worry about it contaminating or screwing up the water supply. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omatako (Post 347168)
So are chemical contaminants :) . Geez what kind of rain do you guys get?:p

I have successfully used my bimini with a hose connector into a gauze strainer and no filters and while at sea the water gathered this way has been delicious.

I would probably agree with the serious filtration if you're in a harbour or near an industrial area but at sea . . . . not necessary. Just a quick wash of the catchment device (my bimini) to get rid of any bird droppings (the only contaminants at sea and even then rare), dump the first few gallons and away you go.

Andre


marinegirl405 07-29-2008 08:04 AM

Wow, thank you all so much for the hints and tips.. I've already added to my original thoughts for a design based on this feedback. Atom has a great web site with lots of information - his particular design won't work on my boat - I'll have to go with a awning/cloth catcher.

SailingDog - I get the filter idea (you are too funny), I also expect to have to add chlorine to keep water from going cloudy.

Cruisingdad 07-29-2008 11:32 AM

Sew a gutter into your bimini. Put a down spout made out of cloth. Our friends on their Panda did that and said it was very effective. As mentioned earlier, you will want to dump the first few gallons for dirt, salt, and bird poop. We actually always got more dirt than bird poop anyways. I would also consider having at least a handheld water maker for drinking water. I think our friends used their water catcher for showering, etc. I do not think they drank it. If you put bleach in there you probably could, I guess.

Keep us posted on your progress and travels. Your tales and experiences can help a lot of people out here. Are you going alone or with kids? Where do you plan to cruise? Where have you cruised? What type of boat? What has worked and what has not?

We would all love to hear from you and your husband. Stick around!!

- CD

MoonSailer 08-01-2008 10:44 PM

RAIN WATER would seem to be naturally clean and pure most places. Water gets dirty when it hits the ground etc. Air generally contains very few bacteria etc. Bird poop etc is the most likely source of contamination. If you have a dedicated rain catcher that is stored clean until needed I doubt that any treatment is required..most places. Clean water does not support the growth of bacteria or algea. Microbes require nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. rain usually does not contain many nutrients. I mean really rain is close to being distilled water!!!!!!


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