Ginestou Family and « OHANA »
|7 June 2012||Posted by Alex from Lagoon under Customization world|
While my mind was wandering as I was looking the blog pictures of Florestan, Fanny and their child around the world on their Lagoon 380 Ohana, I discovered a “made in Ohana” simple and effective system! Indeed, beyond having the talent of a freelance copywriter to fill the board cash box *, Florestan is an excellent handyman. Here is the second article about modifications made by Lagoon owners, and this time, the subject is: water collecting!
* Fanny is also quite active in filling the board cash box as a watercolorist. The host image of this paper is one of her works!
Who are you?
Florestan Ginestou, a former landlubber who has dropped everything to live on the water with my companion and our two children. We bought a used Lagoon 380 (hull No. 153, we have renamed Ohana) to a charter company in Martinique. Sailing enthusiasts and exotic destinations we sail the Caribbean for nearly 18 months while consolidating our experience in order to leave … to new destinations such as Polynesia!
Why did you choose this boat?
After many reflections in the months before our purchase, the Lagoon 380 became the obvious choice as the best compromise. We wanted a catamaran on a human scale, simple and effective. During our visits we were impressed by the ergonomics and space for a 38’ boat unit. She is perfect for living aboard year round with two young children, and we are delighted with our choice. Some details prove to be very pleasant to use: two 160 cm wide beds, panoramic windows and vertical ones in the saloon offering an open view and that do not require covers to protect youself from the tropical sun, engines available in the skirts and releasing large storage under the bunks … Moreover, many professionals agree that this is a compact, rigid boat and that the rigging is a bit oversized. An extra safety guarantee which reinforced our decision.
What kind of changes have you made and why?
Having no watermaker aboard Ohana, management of fresh water is always an important topic, and how to collect rainwater to fill the tanks is an important matter when you live on a boat. We can store 600 liters and, with the many tropical grains of the Caribbean, it made us sick at heart to see all this twater falling from the sky go directly to the sea.
So I started to try and develop a system to capture hundreds of liters and redirect them to the two watertanks on board. After considering a gutter along the roof (too vulnerable and unattractive), I thought of using the existing structure of the deck: the draining rails on the two storage lockers below the foot mast.
The basic principle: simplicity and efficiency
The principle is: use these two rails to catch any water that falls from the roof and redirect it to the watertanks placed just below. Each tank has its own independent system: the rail-recovery and a dedicated filter. The filter is installed between the through-hull and the tank to keep the water clean. A valve allows to close access to the tank to prevent contamination of fresh water by salt water when sailing, or when cleaning the deck.
The big advantage of this system is that it is fully integrated into the deck, nothing protrudes and it is operational at all times without having to install it at full speed when it starts to rain.The water is collected even at night when we sleep!
In concrete terms, the two lockers have rail edges with in the corners holes. To port there is already a through-hull which, via a pipe leading under the bridgedeck, expels the water dripping on the deck. To starboard, there is a hole without through-hull because it is above the anchor locker. Furthermore, water can enter this locker anyway because the track of the rail is only half the length to allow access to the windlass and let the locker breathe.
The entrance of water: the through-hull fitting
I tried to keep the entire installation at the maximum possible diameter provided by the the through hull fitting. And the pipe inside diameter is 25 mm to minimize the “loss” in volume when it rains hard. I sawed off the tip of the through-hull so that only enough thread remains to connect the valve as high as possible. Indeed it was important to let a natural inclination to all the “plumbing” to avoid as much standing water as possible. The valve must be higher than the filter and the filter above the tank.
Direction of the water: a two-way valve
The two-way valve will select the path for the water coming to the through hull fitting.
First position: towards the tanks
Position “freshwater” directs the flow to the tanks after passing through the filter. This is a water maker or domestic use 5 micron paper filter cartridge. After searching on the internet, this degree of filtration seems to be the best compromise between efficiency and throughput enhancement. “Bigger filter” risks missing particles that may stain the réservoir. A finer filter would be quickly clogged and reduce the in-flow.
Use proves that water flows easily through the 5 micron cartridge, and that the filter does not get dirty too quickly. Only “dusty” rains are tough with the filter cartridge. You must have spare cartridges at hand to maintain a “like new” filtration.
The lifetime of a cartridge is of course highly variable. The filtered volume, the cleanliness of the rain water etc… are as many uncontrollable factors. I would say it takes an average of one cartridge per month to be quiet.
Second position: evacuation to the outside
The position “salt water / dirty water” protects the tank by deflecting the flow towards the through-hull originally installed in the locker to drain the rail under the bridgedeck. This prevents seawater from returning when sailing or when using detergents to clean the deck. We can thus manage the action of water collectors if necessary.
The adaptation of existing connections
The connector that linked the deck filler to the tank opening was replaced with a “Y” to allow the water entering the filter of the recuperator to use the same piping, so that there is no need to drill a new entry in the tank.
It is useful to pay attention to the height where the various elements are placed so as to prevent the filling from the deck filler to flow out through the filter in the opposite direction, for example. Install the “Y” valve vertically with the deck filler inlet located above the “recycler” inlet and ban piping bent at right angles: this will improve the flow direction when filling the tanks with a hose. Also in order to optimize the system, it is important to place the overflow drain lower than the filter so as to prevent water from standing in the filter.
After months of use efficiency is daunting. A light rain all night or a good tropical squall can recover a huge amount of water. And since there is often more water that falls than what the volume that the through hull fitting can accept can accept, the starboard half of the rail does not penalize the recovery. The two tanks are filled at the same speed. The cabin top and the mast, the main sources for water collection, drain a large volume of water. We capture hundreds of gallons easily. It is not uncommon for tanks to overflow, and several Lagoon 380 owners that we met have adopted the system satisfactorily.
There is very little maintenance. Change the filter cartridge when you see that the water really comes out much slower from the filter that it enters it. Just pour a bottle of water in the through-hull and check the exchange rate at the exit.
Then, to keep the system flawless, clean the pipes occasionally between the different elements if you see dirt deposits. This is especially true for the part placed before the filter. But sometimes, if the cartridge is really dirty, a few particles might go through it. With the observation of flow, it is a good way to estimate the status and effectiveness of the filtration device.
For all these reasons I recommend the use of perfectly transparent pipes to assess the cleanliness of the fresh water course. In addition, I regularly put a small plug of bleach into the through-hull and I pour a little water then to protect the system as a preventive measure.
I also chose to make maximum use of plastic parts (valves, fittings …) to prevent corrosion and reduce maintenance.
What is the estimated cost of this change?
The cost is approximate because I used pieces that I already had (pieces of tubes, clamps, through-hull …). I would say, to equip a single locker, it takes about (rate in the West Indies):
Cylinder filter holder: 50 euros
Valve “1 input / 2 output”: 45 euros
5 micron paper filter cartridge: less than 10 euros
Stainless steel ties (half a dozen): 15 euros
Fittings, couplings, angled pipes, pipes: 40 euros
Total: 160 euros for a recovery. 320 euros is to equip both tanks.
What will be your next modification?
I am now thinking of a system to improve the reefing lines path. They go through too sharp angles and wear out prematurely, just as the dedicated blocks.
My refrigerator is cooled by sea water, I also sought a solution to prevent sea weeds from being sucked into the through-hull entry and quickly clog the filter that protects the circulation pump, or clog the piping .
Bright ideas are welcome!
To contact Florestan: firstname.lastname@example.org