Scott Strickland of Bonita Springs, FL asks:
How did you fill your water tanks at various locations?
Jim Leishman responds:
We have relied heavly on the Spectra Watermaker and have tried not to take on water at our various stops for fear of tainting our water supply.
Generally there are simple hoses on the docks we have visited and we've just borrowed them and on a few occassions. After I have convinced myself that the water is of high quality, we've just filled our tanks. On the leg from Singapore to Greece we took on bottled water in Phuket (this is described in our commentary section) and only once from a hose in the Maldives. This was reverse osmosis water produced by a desalination plant on the island resort of Bondos. I tested the water with a salinity probe and it was under 400 parts per million and we were assured it was safe to drink.
How do you handle the power issue? Do you have a 220 V battery charger? Or do you just use your generator?
From Singapore - all through Europe - 240 volt 50 cycle power is all that is available. With the short stays at each location we never had a need for shore power and just relied upon our generator and inverter for electricity. There is an interesting article written by Richard Kidd about cruising his NORDHAVN 46 in Europe. He simply purchased a transformer ($300) which reduced the power down to 120 volts that he just plugs in. The transformer sits on the dock and according to Kidd, the whole boat runs fine on the 50 cycle (except his microwave clock). This is the most simplistic approach I've heard of and I'm a little skeptical.
The easiest way to formally deal with the problem is to just install a separate shore inlet and dedicate it to a 240 volt 50 cycle battery charger. The charger is powered up by the dockside power and you rely on the inverter to supply house power. This is limited and would not answer the question of air conditioning, water heaters and other heavy load items which you might have aboard. (Simply running the generator when necessary is a good option for a boat spending a limited time in Europe).
From that simple and inexpensive system we get bigger and more sophisticated - and for a total description of the options and the pros - cons - about 5,000 words would be required.
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