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Old 08-04-2016, 10:37   #1
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Question Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Just came back from my 4th experience bareboat chartering a 42 foot sailboat. In each case I dealt with a different charter company (Moorings, Footloose, Conch, Seabattical). In EVERY case I was shocked to see how poorly equipped the boats were in the context of the house power system. All the boats were equipped with numerous power guzzling devices and a grossly undersized battery bank. 400-600 Ah of power is nowhere near enough to support even the fridge and freezer. Even more alarming is that the charter companies tell you (with a straight face) to simply run the engine for about an hour to bring the batteries back up to full capacity. None of them have apparently grasped the concept of needing an appropriate (usually external) voltage regulator to support smart charging through the bulk, absorption, and float stages of battery charging. One charter company rep even said to me "It's good to run a battery bank down almost entirely before recharging." The fact that this would kill a battery bank in only a few months seems to have escaped his understanding.
Running batteries at less than 50% capacity is a recipe for grossly shortened lifespan. With each of the boats I chartered I ended up running the engine for 3-4 hours per day just to ensure the battery bank voltage didn't drop below 11.9. Only battery consumption was fridge, anchor light, and house lights (1-2 hours/day)
I assume that the charter companies don't equip their boats with 1) higher capacity battery banks (1000 Ah+), 2) smart voltage regulators, and 3) supplementary solar and/or wind power generators is based on COST. Is it that they can't convince the owners of the boats in their fleets to spend the money (a WISE investment) or is it that they don't know enough about house battery systems to understand the problem with their current practices?
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Old 08-04-2016, 14:40   #2
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Interesting post as can't help but notice that most of the charter boats run their engines an incredible amount. Often see a charter cat come into an anchorage and after picking up a mooring to continue running their engines for a few more hours then come back to the boat later in the evening and start up again, and of course they start them up first thing in the morning! I wondered about their battery capacity.


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Old 08-04-2016, 14:43   #3
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Pay back isn't there, it's cheaper for them to replace batteries a few times as opposed to buying all the necessary equipment, and then the people renting will still run the banks down.


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Old 08-04-2016, 15:23   #4
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

In many cases the charter companies don't own the boat and the business plan is so slim for the actual owner that the addition of options to the vessel doesn't make economic sense.

Besides, everyone knows charterer's motor far more than they sail.
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Old 08-04-2016, 15:34   #5
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

The problem within installing a bigger battery bank and appropriate charging equipment is that it makes the charter boat more complex, and most charterers are already overwhelmed by the sum total of all systems aboard. This means that rather than frying 400Ah of normal lead-acid batteries in short order, guests will manage to destroy 1000Ah of AGM batteries in pretty much the same amount of time. Thus it makes more economic sense to simplify and minimize the systems.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:13   #6
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Power management is an issue, especially with sailboats. Recommend listing devices consumption and making sure battery bank is capable of supporting system. Should not need to do that but might motivate the charter company to make sure your boat might be the one out of three set up right. Tell the company that you intend to test your batteries before your charter. Batteries are expensive and charter companies will not readily replace them unless highly motivated.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:30   #7
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Am I the only one who doesn't see anything wrong with a 400-600aH house bank? Who runs all that power hungry stuff under sail constantly anyway? Charters tend to run their engines more than enough to maintain that size bank. I have a 440 aH house bank which served my needs and a Honda 2000 if I need more. Serves my purposes.


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Old 09-04-2016, 09:40   #8
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamechanger View Post
Just came back from my 4th experience bareboat chartering a 42 foot sailboat. In each case I dealt with a different charter company (Moorings, Footloose, Conch, Seabattical). In EVERY case I was shocked to see how poorly equipped the boats were in the context of the house power system. All the boats were equipped with numerous power guzzling devices and a grossly undersized battery bank. 400-600 Ah of power is nowhere near enough to support even the fridge and freezer. Even more alarming is that the charter companies tell you (with a straight face) to simply run the engine for about an hour to bring the batteries back up to full capacity. None of them have apparently grasped the concept of needing an appropriate (usually external) voltage regulator to support smart charging through the bulk, absorption, and float stages of battery charging. One charter company rep even said to me "It's good to run a battery bank down almost entirely before recharging." The fact that this would kill a battery bank in only a few months seems to have escaped his understanding.
Running batteries at less than 50% capacity is a recipe for grossly shortened lifespan. With each of the boats I chartered I ended up running the engine for 3-4 hours per day just to ensure the battery bank voltage didn't drop below 11.9. Only battery consumption was fridge, anchor light, and house lights (1-2 hours/day)
I assume that the charter companies don't equip their boats with 1) higher capacity battery banks (1000 Ah+), 2) smart voltage regulators, and 3) supplementary solar and/or wind power generators is based on COST. Is it that they can't convince the owners of the boats in their fleets to spend the money (a WISE investment) or is it that they don't know enough about house battery systems to understand the problem with their current practices?
It's a charter. Just do as they say, it's their batteries. Maybe it is economical for them to replace the smaller bank? The average person chartering may abuse the larger bank anyway If you had the same experience with four companies I'm guessing it is a financial decision.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:52   #9
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHM View Post
Am I the only one who doesn't see anything wrong with a 400-600aH house bank? Who runs all that power hungry stuff under sail constantly anyway? Charters tend to run their engines more than enough to maintain that size bank. I have a 440 aH house bank which served my needs and a Honda 2000 if I need more. Serves my purposes.
^^^^^^^^^^^^

a64 and others are right, too.

Who cares? Really. It's a rental!!!

AGMs on a rental? Waste of $$. And in some cases the same for private boats.

They don't call 'em BAREboats for nothin'.

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Old 09-04-2016, 09:57   #10
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Moorings tell us 2 hours a day. Which brings up another issue. For those of us that like to sail...means running the engine unloaded for hours on end over the course of the charter.....which I'm told isn't good.

The OP brings up a good point. Obviously a matter of economics....one I would explore if I were to put a boat into charter.
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:59   #11
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

A good charter company has boats with adequate house batteries (a separate starter battery or good instructions for switching). The problem is normally electric refrigeration. That can be managed as well by not running it continuously. My old Alder Barbour uses about 100 ah per 24 hours in the PNW, which is a lot. I have 3 200ah house batteries and two separate starter batteries.

Batteries vary greatly in quality. Rolls or Surrettes are high end but pricey.

Lots of good info on this forum by people who know a lot more than I do.
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Old 09-04-2016, 14:47   #12
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

400amp/hrs on a charter boat Christ that seem ridiculously high. Given we manage 2 days on anchor witg the fridge running on a single 135amp/hr battery.
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Old 09-04-2016, 15:05   #13
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Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

I've never Chartered, but I have a feeling that they don't sit in one place very long, and that when they move, often there is an engine running.
Maybe it's not all that hard on average for one to keep at least a partial charge in the bank?
I've not heard many stories of them having to be towed back due to dead batteries, but have heard a story or two of running out of fuel.


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Old 09-04-2016, 15:09   #14
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
In many cases the charter companies don't own the boat and the business plan is so slim for the actual owner that the addition of options to the vessel doesn't make economic sense.

Besides, everyone knows charterer's motor far more than they sail.
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Old 09-04-2016, 15:23   #15
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Re: Battery power in Bareboat Charter boats

Have chartered many times in many places. In each case the batteries were the weakest system. In Antigua I had the charter company meet us at the fuel dock and challenged them to get the engine running. They eventually did get it started, took it back to marina and plugged it in to await the next charter. Batteries were dead but they were not going to replace.
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