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Old 17-06-2010, 13:45   #16
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I would add my experience, but it looks like so many others have confirmed what I found out the hard way- I am taking off my Honda 2kw generator and putting on solar. One problem that really scares me is gas vapor. It can leak down into your bilge, and explode your boat. Eventually I will get rid of the propane (and locker). But right now its too darn easy to use.
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Old 17-06-2010, 13:59   #17
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Never a really easy answer to the question... we each have our own situations and energy consumption.... as well as the area in which we're cruising (sun or wind- or both). We currently have 4 charging systems: high output alternator, honda 2000i, solar, and wind. The more we cruise, the more we rely on solar, and will be adding two more panels (135 watt each) this summer. The generator is handy, but it requires carrying more fuel. I requires starting and stopping it... plus the noise. It's certainly handy for days with limited sun or times when we've used a lot of energy... but mostly it just sits. For years of weekend and 'vacation' use of the boat... the engine alternator worked fine. But for full-time cruising, we need several options for power. Just my opinion.
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Old 17-06-2010, 15:03   #18
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I would add my experience, but it looks like so many others have confirmed what I found out the hard way- I am taking off my Honda 2kw generator and putting on solar. One problem that really scares me is gas vapor. It can leak down into your bilge, and explode your boat. Eventually I will get rid of the propane (and locker). But right now its too darn easy to use.
So can portable generators be stored in a cockpit locker or do they have to be stored on deck? Would it be safe to store them in a locker if emptied first?
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Old 17-06-2010, 15:15   #19
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At some stage you may end up not using the boat for a month or two. Solar panels will keep batteries charged all the time, a generator requires you to be there to run it. A solar panel can save you money, new batteries are expensive.
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Old 17-06-2010, 15:50   #20
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So can portable generators be stored in a cockpit locker or do they have to be stored on deck? Would it be safe to store them in a locker if emptied first?

I've stored my Honda in a cockpit locker for six years, most of the time with gas in the tank. I only run it dry before storing the boat for the summer. The Honda has a very good gas-tight filler cap. Just make sure it's turned to "off".
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Old 17-06-2010, 17:02   #21
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I have been told ( and I believe it) that white gas (regular gasoline) should never be stored in lockers unless they are watertight with a dependant opening to the outside, and are not open to the rest of the boat in any way. None of my boat lockers meet all these requirements. I think white gas is almost as dangerous as propane. There have been several explosions with both that have destroyed boats. Hal Roth gives a good discussion of it in "How to sail around the world"
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Old 17-06-2010, 19:59   #22
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I have been told ( and I believe it) that white gas (regular gasoline) should never be stored in lockers unless they are watertight with a dependant opening to the outside, and are not open to the rest of the boat in any way. None of my boat lockers meet all these requirements. I think white gas is almost as dangerous as propane. There have been several explosions with both that have destroyed boats. Hal Roth gives a good discussion of it in "How to sail around the world"
Like Vasco, I have a Honda that I've been storing in my cockpit locker for the past couple of seasons and I've had no issues, but my cockpit locker definitely doesn't meet the requirements that Newt mentions either.

I know that powerboats with gas engines have bilge blowers as standard equipment, which makes me think the requirements Newt mentions make sense. On the other hand, I've been storing my dingy's outboard in my cockpit locker for over 20 years without problems ..... guess I'll have to do some research to try and sort this out.
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Old 17-06-2010, 20:06   #23
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Until you know what your energy requirements are it's hard to answer this question...
200 W of solar panel with MPPT controller does fine on Kittiwake, and the Honda is infrequently run, unless I want to use the breadmaker on the hook/ball!
Peace and Fair Winds, BW
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Old 18-06-2010, 06:06   #24
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While in Cartegena there was no wind, and VERY little sun. I was happy to have my Honds 2k aboard. It ran in the rain, ran power tools to build a batten, and kept the freezer freezing. We have all three, and have not been without juice in over a month in extremely different conditions. It was one week we spent in Cartegena without sun & wind.......i2f
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Old 18-06-2010, 10:35   #25
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I am the first to admit to being conservative on this issue, but I want to avoid any chance of disaster once I trip the lines and sail out of here. I got the requirement from the American Standard for Yachts, kinda like the building code that all new yachts are required to meet that are made in the USA. Since I have done major work on Beth, I get the regulations quoted to me quite often and most of them do seem to make sense.
It is encouraging to see that there are many people that do carry a gas generator without harm however...
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Old 18-06-2010, 10:54   #26
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It is encouraging to see that there are many people that do carry a gas generator without harm however...
Most who carry a gas generator do so without harm, but not all. When I kept my boat in Pete's Harbor in Redwood City there was an instance where someone anchored out in Smith Slough burned the boat to the ground as a result of a gas generator. It was enough of a spectacle to keep me from ever considering that option.

Those who want to consider this option should check with their insurance providers about whether keeping gasoline in an unvented locker violates the policy.
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Old 18-06-2010, 13:00   #27
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I'm firmly convinced that Solar is the first option. Wind costs far more than solar per useful kW and is less than productive more often.
Secound is themain engine, but that can fail to start.
Third, for cats with top and bottom vented lockers, is a petrol genny, the little market booth jobs. Highly reliable, pretty quiet, and hand started so it will get the big engine going eventually even if it means recharging the flat main batteries.
Can also be used to drive commercial 230v washing machines/microwaves.
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Old 18-06-2010, 13:28   #28
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Most who carry a gas generator do so without harm, but not all.
Those who want to consider this option should check with their insurance providers about whether keeping gasoline in an unvented locker violates the policy.

I carry the Honda in a locker because of the gas proof cap. My jerry jugs remain on deck. All cruisers have a dink and therefore have gasoline aboard. Gasoline is not the only volatile liquid I carry. As a cruiser I have many different volatile flammable liquids aboard including acetone. Proper storage in good containers is a must. I smile at those who refuse to carry a Honda because it runs on gasoline. What do their outboards run on?
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Old 18-06-2010, 23:21   #29
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Good point Vasco. I carry my outboard outside on the pushpit, and the fuel inside the dingy stored on top of the boat. I guess I could do the same for the Honda generator. I disagree with your assumption however- that all dinks must be powered by an outboard. Oars work, although they work better with a hard dingy.
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Old 19-06-2010, 12:55   #30
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We have a 1020Amp house battery bank (yeah, that's a lot, but we're a cat - 510 on each side). The boat came with (4) 110 watt solar panels and we did not opt to have a generator installed. This all worked fine while at the marina and weekend sailing. Once we left the marina, we found we had to charge the batteries by running the engines every 3-5 days. (Not much sunlight when we were in Maine). This past summer, while in the Caribbean, we added a D-400 wind generator, and that has greatly reduced the amount of time we run the engines. It's extremely quiet and seems to do the trick. If you run your gas generator near us or if you have a noisy wind generator, there's a good chance we'll pick up the anchor and move.
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