Some quick thoughts on water and the 27-foot boat…

The issue with most 27-foot sailboats is they don’t have a lot of dedicated water stowage. The Catalina 27 has a 20 gallon water tank. Considering that the average family in the USA uses 300 gallons of water a day, we find ourselves in a problematic territory.

The “average family” only uses 70% of that 300 gallons for indoor use, which still leaves us with 210 gallons of water. Since we’re only talking about a couple, rather than the average family (3.13 people), that’s a kiss over 67 gallons a day per person.

There are ways to get by with less water. Use water sparingly, using seawater when possible, and being careful, one can get by with a couple of gallons per person a day. That gives us ten days of cruising until you need to replenish your water supply.

Suddenly that 20 gallon water tank is looking kind of meager.

Add a couple of small (2 1/2 gallon) Jerry cans plus bottled water as a fudge factor, and you’re doing great for coastal cruising.

What if you need to cross an ocean?

A small watermaker, though pricey on a VolksCruiser budget, is a possibility. Watermakers require power, which is problematic as well. Since a watermaker can fail, you still need to sort out a means of carrying enough water for your intended voyage.

I speak from experience. Being caught in a no wind situation for a couple of weeks will play havoc with your water supply as you drift towards the Caribbean.

If I were fitting out a 27-foot sailboat for an Atlantic or Pacific crossing, I’d add another twenty gallons of installed tankage. Then carry as much extra water in bottles as prudent. Providing I could deploy enough solar panels to run a small 12-volt watermaker, I’d consider a used one like the Power Survivor. I could then run it on solar for an hour to make a gallon of water a day.

As a side note, I keep thinking about the design of a small, AC-powered, DIY watermaker that could produce five gallons of water per hour. Powered using a 1000/800 watt generator that would be small enough to stow on a 27-foot sailboat would fall right into the Goldilocks zone.

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3 thoughts on “Some quick thoughts on water and the 27-foot boat…”

  1. I have been thinking about this all day and the water thing is not much of an issue. We cruised/lived on a 24 and 25 foot yacht and never worried about water. We had large tanks to start with and a saltwater tap in the galley. I suppose we just adapted to what we had and filled up anytime we were near a public tap. A water maker would have allowed daily showers and been well appreciated.

  2. Most of my sailing has been intercostal waters around Vancouver Island and I found a rain gutter under my boom caught a surprising amount of rainwater off my main. Some basic filtering and I was good.

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