Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Spectra Watermaker"
Westsail Westsail Owners Affiliation
 Important information about this site! 

Thread: "Spectra Watermaker"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


Text Strings  

Full Phrase  


All Words  

Any Word  


Message Text

Text & Author  


Spectra Watermaker

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder

Any interest out there in trying to work up a group buy for a Spectra watermaker?

-Steve Yoder

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

What's a Spectra?


I would be interested...

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder


Got my eye on a Ventura 150. I'll contact the company and see if they have any interest and how many folks we would need for a discount.

Don Montgomery and Lana Nelson

In my humble opinion. This is by far the best system available and the only one with a reliability factor worth having. With that being said, I have priced them and they are not in my budget. Let me know if you get a group buy deal from them. Best regards.

David Beardsley

Aloha, I would be interested.
David B. s/v Asylum.

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder

update: The Spectra factory doesn't do direct sales and directed me to the sales rep for the Pacific Northwest (since that's where I am). I talked to Larry Scildwachter at Emerald Harbor Marine in Seattle. He was pretty vague on what to expect discount-wise. Said that he'd have to consult with the factory. He did say that if only one or two of us make a purchase that he'd at least give us the boat show sale price along with a 'goodie bag' of spare filters, etc. One time he mentioned that if enough of us were interested the discount could approach factory price (I assume that means his cost).

Larry suggested that I get a conversation started to see who was interested and to get questions answered. He seems very knowledgable about watermakers and is happy to talk about them. He just doesn't like to answer the same question over and over. He usually gets potential buyers together in a room and get a conversation going. I told him that would be impractical here due to geography but we could use the discussion board as our 'room'.

His suggestion for smaller Westsails and BCCs (I mentioned the bleed-over from here to the BCC group) was the Ventura Deluxe without the electronic control panel. This is a 6.3 gph unit that you turn on manually, test the product with a handheld TDS meter and, when it meets specs, valve it to your water tank. The $2400 add-on MPC-5000 controller takes care of starting and stopping, testing and revalving, all at the push of a button. He said this is great for cruisers who spend weeks at a time off their boats exploring inland, etc. because it has an automatic circuit which precludes the need for pickling and unpickling each time you leave or return, but not necessary for cruisers who spend most of their time on their boats.

Anyway, any questions you'd like to have Larry answer?


Terry Shoup

I don't think I can afford to join in, but just for laughs, what's the cost on these? You mentioned a $2400 add-on -- that scares the hell out me, if that's just for an add-on!

Jim Focha and Julie Gwin

A couple of thoughts. Make sure you know where and how you're going to install it. It will take up more room than you think. We have a Catalina 300 with the MPC controller and it took up almost the entire quarter berth even with the membrane and and clark pump mounted on the ceiling. The filters and controls are located on engine bulkhead/wall.
The MPC is voltage sensitive and will scramble at 16 V. We had this happen comming down Baja due to the wind generator. You have to have the right cable and software to reprogram, which I had left at home, so I had to pay someone to reprogram it. The watermaker can be run in manual mode so this doesn't stop production. Also the software is available to only those who took the factory class to become a "roving repairman". Aside from inland travel the MPC controler is useful for short trips home. The manual said two weeks and you shold pickle it but we have gone over three weeks.

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder

Also, as far as a group buy goes, I'm not so sold on the Spectra that I would ignore everything else. My main criteria is size, power consumption, and cost to operate. With a 79 gallon fresh water tank on our W28, we only need to have the capacity to basically replace our daily use. Also considering the Little Wonder or one of the No Frills units by Village Marine Tec.


Jim Focha and Julie Gwin

Spectra had the lowest power consumption per gal. of any water maker when we researched them. We feel the Spectra is a major reason we operate on just 210 watts of solar while cruising. Cost of operation are just filters which are reusable. we used two sets in a year. There are Spectra dealers all over the world even in places like the Canary Islands, so technical support is available everywere. Out cruising we have found 6 gal/hr to be the minimum people were happy with.
Cruisers with less production seemed to be greatly disappointed. Some friends we buddy boated with are replacing their one year old Katyden with a Spectra due to production and power consumption. For real tight instalations the Spectra can be divided into components and placed at differant locations. Ours is rated at 12.5 gal/hr.@15amps but we are getting a little under 14 GPH. in the warmer water of Cortez. We use 12-15 gal. per day somtimes more rarely less. I would liked to up one size but don't want to push our energy budget.

Norm Rhines

Some related info.
The Little Wonder a No Frills units by Village Marine Tec. I installed and have used this compact unit for a bit of time. Not to $$$$ on cost and we are get about 7 to 8 Gal/ hr on 16 amps. SO we only run the unit in the day we have 320 Watts of pannel so we only make about 5-10gal/day. I can say Spectra will be in bussiness for some time, as there profit (is somewhat high) on there units.
so as long as they reinvest some they will be going strong for years to come.

Two comments
1.) cleaning the membrain is a standard requirement as well as maintaining the filters and checking the conductivity (salt) (No mater your choice You are operating you own desal plant so don't expect to just push a botton and it will be self tending for weeks)they are real maintenance.
2.) The power is something to concider! the Spectra uses about 1.2Amps/Gal where others use about 2 Amps/Gal. and as they say power is money. also remember you normaly throw away the first 0.5 gal as it does not make spec.
3.) no mater what don't get air or clorine on the membrain.

Best of luck:

If you are going the little wonder way e-mail me as there are a few additions which help the system run a little better.

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder

I haven't gotten a definite price yet (that's kind of scary in itself) but I believe the Ventura Deluxe without the MPC controller is around $5000 (Geez! no wonder we euphemistically refer to $1K as a 'boat unit').

Stephen and Lu Ann Yoder

As I get deeper into this, I realize that I jumped the gun on trying to set up a group buy. I'm no longer completely sure what I want. It's easy to choose before you actually are in a position to part with money...then things get more difficult.

So, I'm going to terminate this thread as a 'group buy' subject and instead bring up a watermaker discussion on the 'Gear for the boat' page. Thanks for everyone's input so far.


  Forum Archive Home    Back to Previous Page   Show Posts w/ Images   Windbag Newsletter 
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by Jack Webb on Westsail 32, Hull #438, at http://HighSeasDrifter.net,
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by  Jack Webb (s/v Drifter, Westsail 32, Hull #438)