CHARLIE PANK ON LUCKY GIRL
The Panks’ set-up is an admirable one for extended ocean cruising. The family had seven people aboard for the crossing, including three young children, and were sailing one of the oldest and smallest boats in the fleet, the 42-year-old Maxi 120 Lucky Girl.
“Our water tanks carry 450lt,” skipper Charlie Pank explains. “Our Schenker (DC) watermaker makes 30lt an hour in exchange for 8Ah at 12V. We have 540Ah of battery, 450W of solar, a wind generator and an ancient Aquagen towed generator. Our engine charges the batteries at 30A, but we never run the engine to charge the batteries or run the watermaker – only for moving when we can’t sail!
“We saved power on board by only turning the instruments on once a day, to check course and position, by balancing the sails and using the Hydrovane, not the electric autopilot. We ran the tow-gen every other day during daylight hours, and we topped up the water tanks when the tow-gen was running. This meant that every couple of days, we had 450lt in the tanks.
“This was my third ocean crossing, and I was determined to be able to deal with mishaps (like the watermaker breaking) so we had 200lt in jerrycans and another
50lt in bought bottles, in case the tanks got contaminated.
“The freshwater tap in the galley is a Whale Flipper hand-pump, which stops wastage. We do all our washing-up using the foot pump saltwater tap and then rinse in fresh. We did not use the emergency water at all, and we arrived in Rodney Bay with 450lt of water in the tanks. Everyone had as many showers as they wanted on the trip.”
The advent of high DC power has had a marked effect on watermakers, says Mactra Marine’s Jim Macdonald, who, COVID restrictions apart, usually attends the
ARC start for any last-minute watermaker problems or services. “Go for a low-energy system that will run off the batteries,” he advises. A good bank of solar panels or a hydrogenerator can really help – nearly half the fleet used solar to help charge their batteries.
“As lithium has become more prevalent, DC systems with energy recovery are coming into their own,” Macdonald continues. “This means that whatever your means of power generation, you can always use your watermaker – whereas with the old-fashioned Ac/highpressure pumps you had to run the genset to make it work.” He has also seen the reliability of modern
watermakers improving as they increasingly use electronics where possible.
Despite its modest output of 20lt per hour, the
Blacks on Emily Morgan rate their Spectra Ventura very highly. They installed it themselves in 2017 and describe it as “invaluable in the Pacific – simple and reliable”.
The German Schaals aboard their Bavaria Cruiser 42 Nikajuma say they wouldn’t change their set-up and that the Echo Tec DML260 always worked – but noting “that the test tap is very important”.
Whether storing water in tanks or making desalinated water from the sea, filtering out any impurities makes sense. “We added 5ml of chlorine in the tank to kill bacteria and used Lavie water purifiers to get the chlorine smell out of the tap water we drank,” says Patrice Charbon, who was sailing the new Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42 Eden Blue for LP4Y with four friends.
They were trialling a new form of UVA water filtration technology on their desalinated water. Charbon, an associate of the inventors Solable, explains: “The strong LED light beam generates UVAS which break the chlorine molecules. As a side effect, an advanced oxidation process flushes the water eliminating all molecules of pesticides, medicine or hormones that one can find in tap water.
“A 30-minute purification would bring fresh, pure water to our table every day,” concludes Charbon, calculating that the watermaker and filters helped them save “over 200 plastic water bottles for our crossing and over 12kg of PET since our departure”.