The four types used in the past, and still currently installed on many boats, have been partially successful to a point, but not one of them has been able to generate sufficient available and constant power on their own.
|Cruising 300 power output|
Diesel generator: Heavy, noisy, fuel burning, running for hours at a time and space consuming.
Wind generators: Ok when sailing into the wind but ineffective downwind. Noisy until recently.
Solar panels: Improving, but still inefficient. Massive space consumers.
Towed Generators: Very efficient but problems with deploying and retrieving.
|Cruising 600 power output|
The improvements are:
Lighter weight by about 2kgs.
Better corrosion resistance
Viewing this video you will see about thirty seconds in that the unit is producing 16+ amps (24V) at 7.5 knots. That is music to any skippers eyes, ears and sense of comfort and security!
Here are the specifications for various boat speeds:
Power : 5 knots produces 120watts (10A - 12V; 5A -24V)
8 knots produces 500watts (40A - 12V; 20A - 24V)
Start-up speed: 3 knots
Is this the future of power generation at sea? This system certainly has many benefits and using a towed generator myself on my voyage I can vouch for the bliss experienced knowing that there was sufficient power and more flowing into the boat through the units 'power line'.
With these units being fixed to the transom, that can only alleviate and cancel the deployment and retrieval problems experienced with towed units.
The price of the Watt and Sea units starts from $3600 which is similar to a low end diesel generator. The Watt and Sea of course is far easier and cheaper to install, gives constant input whilst your vessel is moving, uses no diesel and you will never hear it.
Additionally, from the environmental aspect they come with impeccable characteristics. Even the dolphins resonate with the song of the propeller as you can see in this video:
Images and videos courtesy Watt and Sea
You can read much more about the cruising lifestyle and 'dollar saving tips' whilst on passage in my book 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise', downloadable from my website http://www.sailboat2adventure.com/