Making Water

Remote panel above pillows. All other parts are under dinette seating.

Mike wrote a testimonial about our water maker for Rich at Cruise RO and we wanted to duplicate it here. There are a lot of blogs out there who write “reviews” to get free gear. While we are not above getting free gear we just wanted to reiterate that we are very happy with our watermaker and didn’t receive anything from Cruise RO in exchange. 

Before we bought Camille Verena told me that there was no way she was going cruising without a watermaker. She sailed from Germany to California in the 80s with her parents without a watermaker, so she had a better idea of the cruising life than I did.

We first read about Cruise RO Water on Rich’s, owner of Cruise RO Water and Power, cruising blog and we later met him at the Seattle boat show. We liked the idea of buying from a small company whose owners are also cruisers. Cruise RO Water takes good care of their clients and they make thoughtful choices in the parts that go into their systems. Verena and I were also lucky enough to get the grand tour of the impressive R&D room in San Diego, by Rich’s business partner Charles, who took great care to answer all of our questions about the system and what to look out for during the installation.

Our decision to purchase a water maker paid dividends on our first week away from the dock. We stopped in Turtle Bay, Mexico, which is literally a desert. We went into town and met the folks anchored next to us. They were rather grim telling us all about the town and the only open restaurant. Then they mentioned how they had tried in vain to find a hot shower. They were told the entire town was on water rations and no showers were being offered.  We saw them later at the dinghy dock with 5 liter jugs of water that the guys at the fuel dock were kind enough to truck for them from the grocery store.

The Cruise RO Water system is very simple to operate. We purchased the SeaMaker 20 water maker and run the high pressure pump off a Honda generator. During operation we keep the generator on the swim step. It takes only a few twists and turns of the valves to get the system up and running. The process of filling our 75 gallon water tank usually takes three to four hours. When at anchor we fill the tank every fourth day. Our homemade water has lower TDS (total dissolved solids) than the bottled water we had purchased from the store.

We finally pulled into Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with a full tank of water and freshly showered ready to hit the town. We are very happy with our purchase and equally grateful to the guys at Cruise RO Water. They helped us out every step of the way, from making the right decision on the model to advising us on final installation and troubleshooting. The Cruise RO Water team usually replied to our emails within hours and had fast courteous responses that were accurate and easy to understand.

NOTE: After using our watermaker for two years our main complaint was the noise level. The 110V pump is very loud. A lot of this is probably due to the boat design and install – the noise transfers into the hull and is thereby exaggerated. We tried adding some rubber feet to the 110V pump which didn’t make much of a difference. We were also not crazy about having to run the Honda generator. If the wind is not blowing the exhaust fumes are smelly and dangerous. Verena wrote a review of our first cruising boat and the lessons we learned here.

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Monk 36 trawler Limerick watermaker panelWe had a small box built for the remote panel to match the rest of the wood.

Pumps and filters under dinette seating.

The membrane behind our fridge compressor under the dinette seating.

Honda generator on swimstep (used at anchor, not in the marina)


3 Responses

  1. That is sooo cool! It would be nice to have a watermaker, but Tate and I decided we wouldn’t get something like that until we start cruising and see what we actually need.

    Thanks for that review, i’ll keep them in mind. On a side note, how many gallons of water can your tanks hold?

  2. Dani – our tank is 75 gallons and lasts us about a week. Our biggest concern was getting sick from bad water in Mexico. I think if we were cruising in places with better water we might have gone without the water maker. If we didn’t have the water maker I would want a salt water tap in the galley to do dishes as they seem to use up most if our water.

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