Skip to main content

Harvesting Rainwater on a Sailboat

On land, some boats have a garboard drain to let out any water that collects in the keel sump. A piece of pipe stops the drips dribbling down, staining or seeping into any cracks. A fine net prevents any bugs getting in.

 

The same idea can be used by extending deck drains with bits of pipe. These stop water stains from marking the hull when she’s stored ashore.

 

To prevent hull stains, some boats have internal deck drains. But these can disturb the crew’s sleep, as she rolls and the water “glugs” in and out all night.

 

Some people add dams to these drains, to prevent deck puddles forming.

 

Another idea for clean topsides is to make small sumps to collect the dirty water. Dirt settles and clean water overflows or is sponged out occasionally.

 

Condensation forms on cold surfaces like windows or their metal frames. To stop this dripping on to the upholstery below, some boats have a wooden handrail and drip tray to catch the moisture.

 

Sometimes drips are good. Many bluewater sailors catch rainwater by lashing a big funnel and pipe to the mast. Or suspend a plant tray with a hose attached under the boom.

 

Another simple rain-catching idea is to add a small
wooden edge around the cabintop, with a spigot and hose to direct the water straight into your tanks. But remember to let the first of the rain wash the deck!

 

Most Bimini sun shades can be rigged up with a drain and hose to collect rainwater.

 

But if torrential rain comes with a strong wind, the big sunshades might need to be stowed. Then a small tarp and pipe, lashed down into a V shape, can be used to do the job.

Related

Alexforbes Archangel1-1 (14)

Cape2Rio Draws to a Close

With just four boats still on their way, it has been a long road to Rio for the fleet competing in this year’s Cape2Rio. Larry Folsom’s American-flagged Balance 526 Nohri took line honors and a win in the MORCA fleet, finishing with a corrected time of 18 days, 20 hours, and 42 ...read more

_01-Steve-and-Irene-1

Close Encounters: A Star to Steer By

I first met Steve and Irene Macek in the proper way—in an anchorage full of bluewater cruising boats. This was in St. Georges, Bermuda, in the spring of 2019. Theirs, without doubt, was the most distinctive boat there—an immaculate, three-masted, double-ended Marco Polo schooner ...read more

14_01_230123_TOR_JOF_0414-2048x

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Kicks Off

After a trial by fire start to the race and only a brief stop for limited fixes, the five IMOCA 60 crews in The Ocean Race set off for Cape Town, South Africa, early on January 25. Despite arriving somewhat battered in Cabo Verde, an African island nation west of Senegal, the ...read more

Lead

Cruising: Smitten with a Wooden Boat

I was sailing down the inner channel of Marina del Rey under a beautiful red sunset when Nills, one of the crew members on my boat, pointed out an unusual and unique-looking 40-foot gaff-rigged wooden cutter tied to the end of a dock. Its classic appearance was a stark contrast ...read more

Screen-Shot-2023-01-23-at-12.03.19-PM

Racing Recap: Leg One of The Ocean Race

New to spectating The Ocean Race? Managing Editor Lydia Mullan breaks down everything you need to know to get started. ...read more

image00001

From the Editor: Keeping the Hands in Hands-On

SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke enjoys a sunny autumn cruise in her Peterson 34 on the Chesapeake Bay. It was late afternoon just after the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis when I climbed aboard the last boat on the schedule. I and others who review and sail boats for ...read more

P1580711

B&G Announces New Zeus S Chartplotter

B&G has long been putting out top-of-the-line electronics, but the new Zeus S Chartplotter is a new take on the best way to give sailors the exact information they need, when they need it. “So many more people sail shorthanded these days, whether as a couple or when they’re ...read more

00-LEAD-DSCF1601

Charter: Mission to Mars

In the wake of the pandemic, many sailors are seeking adventure and grabbing onto a vision of their best lives. For some, that may mean sailing across the Atlantic with the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) while for others, it could be a yacht charter in the Caribbean. The ...read more