Monday, 26 May 2014

Cruising Sailboat Sailors Power Generation with Watt and Sea Hydrogenerators

A while back ( February 2013) we did a post on the Watt and Sea cruising hydrogenerators as a viable option for power generation on cruising sailboats whilst on passage. Sufficient power is always a problem for cruisers and especially today with all the electronic equipment that seems to finish up in the on board mix.

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
I list them here with their shortcomings:

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
Now we have the Watt and Sea hydrogenerators which have proven themselves already in long distance ocean racing and the earlier cruiser versions. The improved versions in the 300 and 600 variants for cruisers are now available. 

The improvements are: 

Lighter weight by about 2kgs.

Better corrosion resistance

Improved hydrodynamics

Advanced convertor

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! 

The power produced is quite stunning and with a start up input of as low as three knots, any vessel averaging over five knots for a 24 hour period is going to supply enough electricity for the boats requirements.

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



clark millar said...

Great to know about Sea hydro generators as a feasible option for power generation. I am reading different articles on this topic only. Do you know about Honda 2000i Atlanta as I am finding some reviews for this generator too! Help me guys.

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