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Old 19-02-2009, 06:36   #1
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Solar panels and wind generators on a ketch??

I am close to finding my first sailboat! It is a ketch and, being a 'fashionable' fellow, I would like to use alternative sources of energy to run all my systems. I have seen wind generators on the front of the mizzen mast and solar panels on the stantions, but would rather have them set up on an arch at the transom, like one does on a sloop. Is there anyone that has experienced the same dilemma and solved it, that could possibly help? Many thanks to all who respond.
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Old 19-02-2009, 07:09   #2
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I'd take it a little slower in that department. There are reasons why wind generators are not as common as solar panels. And solar panels may be going thru some technical advances soon. But congrats. You're meeting up with your first compromise.
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Old 19-02-2009, 07:10   #3
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Anybody have one of these German wind generators on board and some real world experiance with them?
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http://www.superwind.com/
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Old 19-02-2009, 08:26   #4
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cgaskell - there are a few pretty good reasons why you don't want to add solar panels off the transom. 1) damn difficult to get to 2) potential interferance with your mizzen 3) increases the LOA by about 3 feet ... slip fees are based upon your LOA. and 4) it only takes ONE breaking wave over the stern (being pooped) to ruin your panels.

Food for thought.
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Old 19-02-2009, 08:54   #5
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how about flexible panels on the foredeck area?
wind generator topside of the main mast?
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Old 19-02-2009, 09:08   #6
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I loved my wind generator (fairwinds II) on my last boat which was a sloop, but like you, I have a ketch now. Boats are different, so I don't know how much room you have. There is no room for an arch on old boat like mine, and I will have to mount the wind gen, when I get another, high on a mizzen mount. I'm also making a hard top for my center cockpit so I can eventually mount solar panels there, up and out of the way, but also safe.
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Old 19-02-2009, 12:01   #7
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We have a hard sprayhood and our solar panels are just bolted on top of it. When we bought the boat, we thought the sprayhood was one the ugliest things in the world. We still do not think it is pretty, however, it defintely is one of the most functional feature of our boat.
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Old 19-02-2009, 15:17   #8
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I believe you mentioned mounting them on an arch above the transom? I have my solar panels mounted on my davits. The only issue I have is that I sometimes get shade from the sail or boom. This does affect output. Other than that, it has been a great location for me. It is my intent to have a fixed bimini manufactured with provision for mounting solar panels and wind generators on that. This will place it higher and should provide some improvements in the shading issue.

The VERY nice thing about solar panels is how maintenance free they have been. 4 years going now, and I haven't even had to service the connectors! let alone touch the panels. Oh, I do rinse them off with a hose now and then.

On the wind generator. I think you'll be much happier having it up on the mizen. They do generate noise and many see that as a distraction. You do have to worry about the blades getting caught on things. Hands, lines, etc. Also, the higher up, the more wind which is a very good thing!
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Old 19-02-2009, 15:19   #9
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I'd love to hear about any experience with the super wind! I spent some time with a rep at the Annapolis boat show. It is a VERY well engineered piece of equipment. I'd be inclined to replace my Air X with one!
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Old 19-02-2009, 19:37   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minggat View Post
And solar panels may be going thru some technical advances soon.
Minggat,
Is there somewhere I can read about the technical advances your talking about?

Thanks,
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Old 19-02-2009, 20:07   #11
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I did a quick google search and just typed in PV breakthrough. There was plenty. Then I typed in photovoltaic innovations. I can't refer you to any particular article. Try typing in any variation for solar power.

Like battery inovations coming available from the development of hybrid cars, solar power researhers are busy too.
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Old 19-02-2009, 20:17   #12
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mizzen mast mounting vrs a separate turbine mast

The advantages of mounting on the mizzen mast include (1) less noise in the cockpit and (2) better wind. In an anchorage with several boats who have a similar system, you'll find that in the morning when the breeze sets in the ketches with the higher mounting points tend to start generating power earlier than the rest. (Most systems need about 6 knots of wind to begin turning over.)

The disadvantages of mounting on the mizzen include (1) the unit will only perform optimally when wind is on the nose because it can't swivel like systems built on independent masts, and (2) weight/windage higher aloft.

Increasingly, cruisers are coming to realize that a combination of wind and solar power makes the most sense. A wind turbine can often work all night during a passage, and even the best photovoltaics tend to shut down as soon as the sun does.
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Old 19-02-2009, 20:44   #13
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Quote:
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I did a quick google search and just typed in PV breakthrough. There was plenty. Then I typed in photovoltaic innovations. I can't refer you to any particular article. Try typing in any variation for solar power.

Like battery inovations coming available from the development of hybrid cars, solar power researhers are busy too.
Okay, thanks.
I thought perhaps you were talking about something specific.

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Old 19-02-2009, 21:05   #14
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cgaskell...maybe go up to the search feature at the top of the page. Tons of stuff are in threads precisely what you seek. I had my wind generator in front of my mizzen mast. I would not do it again.
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Old 19-02-2009, 21:14   #15
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"The advantages of mounting on the mizzen mast include (1) less noise in the cockpit..."

This is a little confusing. The mizzen mast is in the cockpit. How does mounting it there make the cockpit less noisey?

"Knowledgeable cruisers tend to realize that a combination of wind and solar power makes the most sense."

Now I would never say that I know everything, I will say again that there is a reason that you DON'T see all that many wind generators in the cruising community. Several yes. But many more without. Yes, they work at night, and yes they work on a passage. But there are many who ask, "do you really want to spend time in windy anchorages?". And my battery banks seem to be quite happy with the low power draw of both my fridge and seperate freezer.

I am on a sloop with said stern arch with 4 old solar panels. I am sure that those with wind gens would disagree with me. But there are plenty of us without them who feel that there is plenty that can be done to avoid wind genertors and .. ugh....other more noisey forms of making your own power.

It's all about opinion. There's no two of those the same among the "knowledgeable".
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