Messed up the Water Maker
Nothing major, but on last inspection our friend reported that the fresh water levels had gone down drastically, way more than a simple automatic fresh water rinse of the watermaker normally needs.
After inspection and confirming that the fresh water system is fine and shows no leak, my attention turned to the water maker. A short run through of the boat's current condition quickly revealed my error!
We left all fresh water tanks full and super chlorinated like we did last time. The idea being that the chlorine will slowly evaporate and leave us with clean and fresh tanks by the time we come back.
The water maker was left to do its normal 10 day fresh water rinse, so every 10 days it powers itself up, grabs water from the fresh water system (the fresh water pump then cycles as needed) and runs it through the high pressure pump and membranes to clean them and maintain them ready for use. A simple rinse cycles uses very little fresh water as otherwise it wouldn't take long for the rinse to use more fresh water than the water maker can produce.
The high pressure membranes are very sensitive to chorine and the automatic rinse circuit therefore includes a carbon filter to reduce the chlorine content to acceptable levels.
In the rush of getting to France I simply didn't have the time (and forgot) to change the carbon filter. Simple as that!
So the high pressure membranes are probably shot, and therefore let a lot more rinse water get through during a normal fresh water rinse, explaining the abnormal water consumption noticed by my eagle eyed friend during his last boarding.
Lesson learned. Luckily it is not a huge deal. We'll need a couple new high pressure membranes, and our water maker takes standard cartridges at about $200 a piece. In any case they were due a regular change next August, so in reality we won't be losing much life out of them.
We use the water we produce for our daily life, from drinking, to washing, cooking and more, so I take this seriously. Enfin has cleaner and purer water than many places around the world.
Another possible option is to take the opportunity to upgrade our water maker. It is a 400 gallons a day unit, so not exactly a slouch, but is already specced to be upgraded. The high pressure pump and all associated bits are bigger than needed for 400 gallons a day, and ready for more. Adding another high pressure membrane would bring our unit up to 600 gallon a day. That would mean producing our daily water needs in less than an hour, leaving more generator time for other tasks. Very tempting!