The Waterlog watermaker that doesn't work.
Petter & Kirsti
Thu 14 Feb 2008 12:06
Copy of what is given to Yachting World at the ARC 2007 Equipment Survey.
The story the about the watermaker that till now not has produced one drop of fresh water and a company that totally neglects a customer.
When finding the Waterlog concept on the internet, I was intrigued by what seemed to be a fantastic concept, fresh water without consumption of electricity, at reasonable cost.
To be absolutely sure it was a good concept, I ordered one for delivery before our summer holidays in 2006, i.e. 1 ½ year ago. The sales process was well looked after and I felt that Mike Niven of Waterlog was eager to follow up.
However, when the package arrived it was obviously damaged during transport. One reason was extremely poor packaging, with the cardboard box more or less disintegrated. As suggested by Mr. Niven it was decided to try the Waterlog after all. So I read the user instructions and towed it round Skagerak, without getting any water out of it. Now suddenly it started to get difficult to get hold of the Waterlog people. They have obviously hired switchboard personnel, so if you call, you always have to leave a message and you are told that someone will call you back. Which they don't always do.
I finally got the Waterlog back to UK, where they claimed to repair it, but time passed and I not get it back to Norway till the end of September 2006. With lots of other projects on the boat which was up for the winter, and believing it damned thing worked, I left it till we approached UK summer 2007 when sailing towards the Canaries. And of course, it did not work.
Being in Dover, I thought it would be an easy affair to go to London and have it fixed, but no one answered the phone. I then sent an e-mail telling them about the problem, and asked them to please call me. I got an email back stating that probably a piston in the pump was stuck and some instructions on what to do. I then asked for assembly drawings, but got no response. Doing my best on servicing the thing, we tried it again with the usual negative result. Again I begged them to call me, both through email, telephone and internet support pages. No response!
Time passed and we had to continue south with unresolved matters. After trying the Waterlog again several times, I wrote an e-mail stating it didn't work, and I wanted to return it and have my money back. I asked for instructions on how to return it, and again begged them to call me. From beginning of September till beginning of November I did not get any response at all.
If I had one litre of water for every attempt I made to get hold of waterlog personnel from August to November, I would probably have filled my tanks easily.
In Puerto Mogan I met Mike Middleton of Sunshine Martime who made an attempt at repairing the Waterlog. He managed to establish contact with London, and they did send seals and gaskets free of charge. However, they refused to give out assembly drawings to ease the repair. At this stage I finally got a reply from Waterlog, where they claimed they had done more than what could be expected by any supplier and that warranty period was out. I wrote back asking why they hadn't contacted me in spite of all my attempts, but have not got any answer on this.
When trying the Waterlog mid Atlantic during the ARC we had some hopes that it might work after repairs in Puerto Mogan. We haven't seen any fresh water coming out of it yet.
So that's the story. Lots of efforts, much time and money spent, a company the totally ignores you and not a single drop of water.
Even if the damned thing worked, there are a couple of issues re the use of the Waterlog.
1. When launching the Waterlog the boat should come to a complete standstill. When sailing in the trades, with 20 knots of wind with the jib poled out, or flying a kite, and main with preventer, stopping the boat is a big job.
2. Launching the waterlog is not easy, the cable is stiff, and does not take twist
3. When trailing behind the boat the waterlog surfs easily. According to the manual one might add a weight do get it down. Why isn't this included in the design?
4. User instructions are of poor quality. Hardly a drawing or picture to explain how to pickle or clean it, or how to do simple service.
5. Looking into their website you will find comparison with other watermakers. In this comparison there are factual errors to the advantage of the Waterlog.