I spent a happy day yesterday playing with the water
I installed it 18 months ago but have not tried it out
before. It requires clean ocean seawater not the dilute mud that flows down the
harbour at Southwold or its filters would soon become blocked. For the
technically minded it works by reverse osmosis...for me it works by a high
pressure pump and a very fine filter. They say that, if it is given nice clean
salt water, it will work reliably for days on end. However, the manual does
point out that even the open ocean can be polluted. One watermaker was
effectively destroyed by whale poo!
The other 2 problems are first, that once in use, it
needs to be used regularly, every day or so, or the filter grows algae and stops
working. Secondly it needs quite a lot of power (about 4 amps) to run. However
we seem to have plenty of power from the towed generator...and almost too much
when sailing fast, so I decided to commission it.
Plug it in, turn on the water, flick a switch and
hey presto! desalinated water.
WRONG. The pump operates, as does the small priming pump,
but nothing appears form the magic "product tube". There then ensues many a
happy hour trying to eliminate air from the system, as it prevents the pump
getting to the required pressure, All this of course not in a nice convenient
engine room or workshop but sat in a locker on top of a sail, in 90 degree heat
on a rocking boat careering along at 6.5 knots.
However, I eventually got it working and now have 3 litres
of pure water in a can that used to be part of the Atlantic Ocean....and people
say how do you manage to fill the time.