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Old 04-06-2019, 03:52   #1
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Use genset while sailing?

Is it safe to use a genset while sailing? Normal sailing, no excessive healing.

The boat is monohull and getset is Whisper 3.5.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:21   #2
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Depends on the installation.

Generally, if the crankshaft is aligned fore and aft, you’ll have no special considerations beyond a maximum angle of heel, something like 15-20 degrees.

If the crankshaft is aligned athwartships you’ll typically not be able to run the generator while underway.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:38   #3
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Keep in mind where the water cooling intake is. If on the side the boat make sure it's still submerged when heeling.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:22   #4
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Every generator I’ve worked on all had “Murphy switches” which will automatically shut it down if it overheats and or loses oil pressure.
So I’d say go out and give it a try, mine works fine sailing as does my propulsion engine, although my boat sails flat, I’ve found that at least with my boat anything beyond 15 degrees of heel actually either gives no more speed or even slows her down, so I reef to not heel her so bad.

I’ve found that even a momentary loss of water flow can be heard in the exhaust, it changes tone and gets louder, so listen to see if you lose water flow.

Many times a generator manual will also give good info about how much heel is acceptable.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:43   #5
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

I've already gave it a try. Now the genset is ceased. Doesn't rotate.
When I bought this boat the agreement was to fix the genset among other small things. Genset was fixed by re-machining some parts of it. According to a mechanic when the boat was not used seawater went inside and everything corroded.

After the repair I went sailing and because of bad batteries I had to turn on the genset few times. After 80nm the genset stopped working. Now the seller blames me that I killed the genset by using it somewhere other then on anchorage.

In my previous limited sailing experience gensets were used 1-2 times a day while on passage without any problem.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:56   #6
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Read the manual, then look at the installation.


Why would you even want a generator you couldn't use while under sail? But not all sets and not all installations are suitable. It's important that the water intake stays underwater, and that seawater can't get forced up the exhaust system into the engine. You also want the generator's engine to be oriented fore and aft. As others have commented.



Mine is OK -- good for 20 degrees continuous heel and 30 intermittently, and is properly installed with water intake and exhaust in the right places. YMMV.


I use mine several times a day on long sailing passages.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:09   #7
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

I've run my finely crafted Italian generator marvel while under sail, it was fine.

I think the OP now has a broken generator that was going to die regardless because it was already dead no matter what bandaid got applied to get the cash to transfer.

replace it with either a Honda EU2200i type portable or get a real generator (not another pos 3600 rpm unit)
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:18   #8
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Do away with your built in geset and buy a 2kva Honda "suitcase" type. They are superb and mine has ALWAYS started 2st pull.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:31   #9
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Sounds like a problem with the exhaust isntallation. How high above the waterline is the top of the loop when heeled over? It should be run into the centerline of the boat not down one side. Same for the muffler, it should be inboard. You could have more water trapped in the system than the muffler and hose back to the engine can hold causing it to flow back into the exhaust manifold and into any cylinder with an open exhaust valve.
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Old 04-06-2019, 14:05   #10
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

There is a story for every boat. I tend not to run it if posible because two times I did (Med sailing), I got jellyfish blocking the water filter. I am careless, therefore I still do it sometimes.
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Old 04-06-2019, 15:09   #11
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

I agree with “Tingum”. It is most likely an exhaust problem. Generators are typical installed off-center in the boat which means a proper exhaust system is much harder to achieve. Check the heights between generator, vented loop and muffler. Make sure that the exhaust hose between the generator and muffler do not have any low spots that traps water. It is essential that all water drains down to the muffler. If the muffler is installed on the inboard side of the generator it is safer to turn of the generator when the boat is healing to that side. If the muffler is installed on the outboard side it is very likely you have a height problem. (Bad installation) ideal the muffler should be installed under in the center of the generator.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:03   #12
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Re: Use genset while sailing?

Had to have our genset overhauled because of salt water ingestion as the installer did not include a siphon break ☹️. If you have yours repaired again make sure it as a siphon break.

Another consideration to running it while sailing is exhaust. If running downwind the exhaust could make it into the cockpit and then down into the cabin. Keep a fresh battery in your carbon monoxide detector.
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