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Old 15-09-2014, 15:42   #1
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Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Anyone using one, or otherwise have thoughts on them, particularly for use on a cat?
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Old 15-09-2014, 16:15   #2
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

I think they are ideal solution for cats, as they are highly effective, but need quite high average speeds to show their full potential.
For the cats up to 40 - 45 feet (and even bigger "condomarans") probably the cruising model is the equipement of choice. The racing model is probably ideal for bigger, but more performace oriented cats.
Anyway - very good mode of generating energy on passages
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Old 15-09-2014, 16:20   #3
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

They are terrific when they are working.

Unfortunately they are developing a bit of a reputation for breaking at sea - both among the racers and the few cruisers that have them.

Some of that is hitting stuff in the water, but there have also been some electrical problems. It is very hard to determine how much is 'installation' vs 'operator' vs 'design' error/failure, and there has been some inconclusive finger pointing.

They are also quite expensive. I would have one except for that.
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Old 15-09-2014, 16:31   #4
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
They are terrific when they are working.

Unfortunately they are developing a bit of a reputation for breaking at sea - both among the racers and the few cruisers that have them.

Some of that is hitting stuff in the water, but there have also been some electrical problems. It is very hard to determine how much is 'installation' vs 'operator' vs 'design' error/failure, and there has been some inconclusive finger pointing.

They are also quite expensive. I would have one except for that.

I remember there is at least one other make of similar hydrogenerator, but can not remeber the brand at the moment....
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Old 15-09-2014, 22:10   #5
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

It seems to me that this type of generator would be perfect in a chinese knockoff version. Say 70% of the power for 1/3 the price?
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Old 16-09-2014, 15:50   #6
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

My concern specific to a cat would be how to mount. Even the long version won't reach sufficient depth with any decent bridgedeck clearance. Also, a cat tends to funnel stuff between the hulls, which might break one.
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Old 18-09-2014, 21:42   #7
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So far this bit of kit is the only one on my boat which has been an abject failure. It's not that it is not working, but the mechanism of lowering and raising the generator is pathetically engineered, so that we can't work it unless we step outside of the boat onto the inclined transom and do it by hand. Hardly a safe option out at sea. Once the generator is in place, lowered, it usually doesn't stay there for more than 10 minutes, the clamp failing to hold it.

Over the winter I am going to look at re-engineering this.

Oh - one more thing: few people seem to know how to install this thing. It took us ages before we knew if it was working, this also not helped by the fact that we didn't know that it doesn't charge if the batteries show 12.8V or more.

Onno
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Old 18-09-2014, 21:43   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleWhisky View Post
I remember there is at least one other make of similar hydrogenerator, but can not remeber the brand at the moment....
There was an English make - Cristec ? - but they have been sued by Watt&Sea, apparently succesfully so.


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Old 22-09-2014, 04:09   #9
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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mechanism of lowering and raising the generator is pathetically engineered, so that we can't work it unless we step outside of the boat onto the inclined transom and do it by hand.
Agree! I have one mounted on my 41ft Cruiser since middle of this year. It seems it is mostly a problem if you have a negative stern (as we have too) because the 'pull direction is not optimal'.

Also you basically can only lower it at VERY LOW boat speeds or better b4 you start (or while underway you have to lower the speed to almost zero).

Otherwise I think the generator is great for us. This winter I will change to LifePO4 batteries and the system will be even better.

Regards,

Carsten
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Old 22-09-2014, 05:49   #10
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Nice to hear we are not the only ones struggling with some of the issues. Also nice to hear that otherwise, you are happy with the unit. We really need to re-engineer this thing coming winter so we can use it effectively.


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Old 22-09-2014, 05:55   #11
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

... keep me updated Onno and I will do the same.

Regards,

Carsten
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Old 22-09-2014, 07:36   #12
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

We met a catamaran last year with two of them mounted - one on each transom. The units pretty much took up the transoms when raised, and left very little room for using the transom. Thus, the units were left lowered when at anchor and they were very fouled. I talked to the owners about them and they said they initially had trouble getting the units to work, but the factory was very supportive in troubleshooting them. I think I remember the initial problem to be with mounting and catching/releasing, and the factory built them some special mounting hardware. They apparently then worked for a while and again had problems - but this time the factory was not responsive.

They do cost a lot!

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Old 22-09-2014, 07:50   #13
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Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

There are 7 or so boats doing the WARC with them currently. I spoke to a few owners about them in the Marquesas and all were very happy with the output after the 3000 mile crossing. A couple that had problems that seemed to be with the actual mounting. A 50'ish mono was lit up at night like a city the couple of times I saw it underway. I asked a crew member if they ran the diesel genny every night. He replied that the water genny was making more AH than they could use even running all the lights and toys. I can't imagine how crippling it was to the night vision for the person on watch! For lots of actual sailing, it seems like a simple way to make a lot of power silently 24/7. At anchorage they are just in the way on the sugar scoop. For the average Caribbean cruiser spending weeks/months in an anchorage and then only doing short hops, solar/wind would seem a much better investment.


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Old 25-09-2014, 05:26   #14
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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He replied that the water genny was making more AH than they could use even running all the lights and toys.
Strange story. The W&S charging unit doesn't charge at 12.8V or more, so there is never any need for switching on gear because you have too much power coming in - it simply stops providing current. And, of course, you could always lift the prop.


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Old 25-09-2014, 05:43   #15
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Poorly worded on my part. They had a surplus of power so they chose not to turn anything off or try to conserve energy in any way.


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