I have been going back and forth for some time on whether we were going to get a water maker for Piko. They are great to have when they are working, but are expensive and require a high, though reasonable amount of maintenance to keep them happy.
Piko carries about 70 gallons of water in the factory tanks, so that is pretty decent for two people for any practical crossing we will have without having to go to rationing. I raced a sister-ship of Piko, Seeker, in the 2008 Vic-Maui. Even with 5 people, we were still good for water, but we were all cautious of our consumption and luxuries such as showers were not really an option.
Since we plan on this being our home, not having to ration, and have the option of going to more remote locations in the South Pacific and places such as the north coast of Australia, a water maker is something that I really wanted if I could fit it into the budget. After looking around, the unit I really wanted to get was a Spectra Ventura 150 or 200.
The base, or Deluxe model is basically all manual and it is the most energy-efficient water maker on the market in the size that we can fit on the boat. This unit can make ~150 gallons of fresh water a day and draws around 9 amps per hour at 12V DC. This is roughly twice as efficient as a brute force model because it uses a smaller pump and then a ‘Clark Pump’ which is a hydraulic intensifier that increases the pressure to the membrane by about 9:1. The basic model is not cheap, retailing for over $5500. I looked on Craigslist and eBay for used models, and they are pretty hard to find, so I basically decided I was going to have to shell out the money.
Luckily, literally a day before the boat show ended which would have given me a good discount on a new unit, I found one listed online down in Florida. Since these things are very complex and have lots of parts that all need to be treated well, a lot of people don’t think a used unit is a good deal. As an aside, I already purchased a used another used unit from a friend locally, only finding out that there were several different version of this same model and that the company could no longer fully support the model that I have. Anyway, I talked with a someone on the internet that was also a Spectra Dealer, and we went over all the things that could be wrong with it and their subsequent replacement costs. I am pretty sure we will need to buy a new membrane for the unit since the previous owner had not operated his unit in over 2 years, and these require constant use unless you go through a special decommissioning process.
It currently being shipped out to me in Seattle, and if all goes well we should have it installed soon. Adding this to the boat should increase our lifestyle a bit and hopefully, with the correct proactive maintenance, won’t be too much of a problem. We will have to look at our electrical system very carefully, as our goal is to be as close to 100% renewable as possible and this will most likely be our second largest energy consumer the boat next to our refrigeration.