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Old 17-04-2017, 16:20   #1
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watt&sea vs solar

On our Outremer this season the ran into a rainy cloudy patch of weather in the Caribbean(an outrage) .and developed a partial state
of charge deficit that we could not solve on our solar alone . That got me thinking ,how could I spend several boat dollars to solve this issue . Before we get into don't use this or don't do that my wife does not like to camp and I like ice in my gin/rum/whiskey/tequila,.
I have 600 watts of solar, and 525 amp-hour of firefly batteries.
MY choices are more solar ,or a watt&and sea hydro generator ,the big plus on the watt and see is the high output no matter what the sun is doing .
Has any one used them . I did do a search
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Old 17-04-2017, 18:26   #2
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

Starting around 3-5K $US that's a lot of cash for what little you get. Seems like wind would be a better option. I'm sure others will have an opinion based on real world use.

I'm unsure why it wouldn't be priced more inline with solar or wind gens.
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Old 17-04-2017, 18:33   #3
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

Looked at them, but they are only good when sailing, don't help at anchor......... But a pair on the transom when running in the trade winds would replace a couple of wind turbines.......
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Old 17-04-2017, 18:41   #4
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

How much time do you spend under way?
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Old 17-04-2017, 19:10   #5
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

It isnt that cloudy in the Eastern Caribe very often during the season. Running your engine on those few occasions will be far more cost effective than anything else.

FWIW I would always go for more solar panels in the tropics (if there is a place to put them). Wind power seems like a good idea until you realize that a good anchorage is one without a lot of wind. Many of the islands in the eastern caribe have pretty high mountains and therefore pretty well protected anchorages.
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Old 18-04-2017, 07:35   #6
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

You have enough deck space so my first priority would be getting to more than 1Kw of solar which will help a great deal even on cloudier days. After that a Superwind 350. WattandSea are fantastic units especially on boats that average over 7 knots but are useless at anchor.
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Old 18-04-2017, 08:46   #7
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

I've used a watt and sea 600 on my trip from Spain to Cape Town on a Luffe 45 - this thing is just great and with any penny - no idea how to do this without this highly efficient power plant. And from a esthetic point of view (compare to solar panels) - just great. Check Lifgun.com for more details.
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Old 18-04-2017, 09:47   #8
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

I have considered a towed generator of the most recent style and stopped in my tracks as I looked back at our records that in our case the deficits came on overcast and slow days (wind less than 10 knots = our boat goes less than 5kts).

So try to match your extra juice converter well to the actual situation - if your boat is moving and fast then the turbine will be a good choice.

A Honda genset or a Fuel Cell generate juice in all propositions: anchored, windy or flat and no Sun. They are possibly your alternatives.

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Old 18-04-2017, 10:49   #9
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

If you can get your solar output on a typical day to cover your electrical needs, running the engine with a high output alternator(s) and a smart regulator is by far the most cost wise nd convenient way to go. If your plans are to go to less sunny climate, a small diesel generator would be your best choice.

Water driven generators are great sources of electrical energy but you have to be moving for them to work. Perfect for a quick round the world sail but poor overall output for a 10 year circumnavigation.
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Old 18-04-2017, 20:35   #10
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

When I looked at them, I realized their first and best market is racing boats....... They are always moving or they don't need power........
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Old 18-04-2017, 21:15   #11
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

We operate solar and a W&S generator only on our cat. You will get a reduced charge thru clouds and would recommend you need additional panels ie 1200+watts. And a hydrogenerator is only at value when passaging, specifically at night when there is zero sun and you have a larger battery drain. Your answer depends on your amperage requirements and your style of cruising, passaging.
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Old 18-04-2017, 21:24   #12
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Re: watt&sea vs solar

I know it is a sample size of one however this Leopard 48 seems to have had none stop problems with their Watt&Sea....check out their blog

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