We have a water maker on board Revelations - but with a rather sad history. Back in 2006, I met this guy, Robin who was building a similar yacht as Revelations. Robin was supposedly a marine engineer (what ever that means) and our discussions soon drifted to water makers. He show me a water maker he claimed to have built for himself and suggested that he built a water maker for us - for a fee of course. I duly paid the guy and after a couple of months, collected our "new" water maker. It was a sad looking machine, lots of second hand parts and the workmanship was a typical back street job. Disgusted, but with the knowledge that there was no way I was going to get my money back, we took possession of the machine and put it in storage. Several years later, I took the water maker to a company called AquaMarine in Cape Town who refurbished the machine at their workshop and demonstrated that it worked. Now looking much better and more professional, the machine was then installed on board Revelations although we never used the machine.
Years later, a month prior to our world cruise departure, we called AquaMarine and asked them to service the machine. The technician said they were very busy and that we should call them a week before we leave. They finally arrived, changed all the membranes, did some work and assured us that the machine is in good working order and condition. This was all a mad rush and they finished literally an hour or so prior to our departure. We left Cape Town sailing to St. Helena with 750 liters of fresh water in our tanks. With a total of 5 crew on board, all showering, cooking and drinking every day, on day five, we had around 70 liters of freshwater left on board - it was time to start the water maker and fill the tanks.
But the electrical motor for the high pressure pump would not run continuously, we had to keep the start button pressed in all the time - the moment you took your finger off the start button, the electric motor would stop running. Then a couple of high pressure pipe fittings leaked like crazy. But the machine made no freshwater and everything was dumped overboard - the salinity meter/switch rejected all the water. Unable to make water, only around 70 liters and with another anticipated 10 days of sailing left, we had to introduce water rations. Nobody was allowed to take showers or waste any freshwater. Needless to say, we were really pissed off at the AquaMarine technician who lied and did a lousy job.
Three days later, we all started reeking of bad body odors and with ever diminishing fresh water supplies, the situation became serious. Out of desperation, I tackled the water maker and virtually re-plumbed the entire machine bypassing just about all of the electronic sensors. Finally we were able to make water again - although we had to keep our finger on the start button for the entire 2 hours it took the machine to fill the tanks. We carried on like this for the next couple of months, planning for repairs to be done once we reach Trinidad. Then, after leaving French Guyana, on our way to Trinidad, we were struck by lightning. This caused major damage to the water maker, electronics were completely fried and some wires were burnt. With this, the water maker no longer worked and reached the end of it's life. Although we had the water maker machine for years, it produced less than 5000 liters of fresh water during it's life span, it was a total waste of money from the start.
Although we can salvage some parts and build another water maker, we decided on building a new water maker from scratch. For reliability, this machine will be mostly manual and with virtually no electronic sensors. We also opted for a single 8" membrane instead of the 4 x 4" membranes of the old machine. The new water maker will produce around 300 to 400 liters of fresh water every hour. We already bought a new 5CP6221 Cat Pump, flow meters, 8" high pressure vessel and a host of other components. Assembly will start once we have all the required components on hand.