If you’ve ever spent any time in the desert you’ll be aware that most town-dwellers are profligate users of water. It’s a tendency we have to learn to overcome very quickly when we put to sea because sailboats can’t carry much fresh water. It’s simply too bulky and too heavy.
For as long as I can remember, experts on public health have urged us to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but I can assure you from personal experience that when you go cruising you can get by on far less, even in tropical climates. According to The Captain’s Guide to Liferaft Survival (Sheridan House) you can last indefinitely on a pint a day in temperate climates, two pints in the tropics.
My family and I once averaged just under half a gallon a day each on a six-month voyage in a 31-footer, and that included water for cooking and bathing, though I should add that we bathed in salt water and then used a small garden spray filled with fresh water to wash off the salt.
Nevertheless, for planning purposes it’s wise to count on a minimum of one gallon per person per day at a speed (for most medium-sized yachts) of 100 miles a day.
You’ll very likely average more than 100 miles a day, and that will automatically give you a welcome reserve and great peace of mind.
Finally, don’t ever be tempted to drink sea water unless you have plenty of fresh water to wash it down with.
Today’s ThoughtWhenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I’m thirsty, not dirty.
— Joe E. Lewis, Is Salami and Eggs Better than Sex? (Alan King and Mimi Sheraton)
Festive greetingsHERE’S HOPING you have a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday, whatever suits you best. I hope Santa Claus has been checking out the marine stores and filling his bag with nice little nautical surprises for you. Best wishes to you all, and, with any luck, a peaceful and prosperous New Year to follow.
TailpieceOUR local police department reports that they found an abandoned car containing a case of whisky bound up in a big red bow. They haven’t traced the owner yet. They’re still working on the case.
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)