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Old 08-02-2013, 13:55   #16
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
We don't have a wind generator. But we do try to keep our cruising light-hearted.

The reason the guys with wind gens are so serious might be due to the noise keeping them awake all night.
My KISS is fairly quiet but it does buzz a bit when the wind goes 20+ knots. Great to remind me to get up and check the anchor. I sleep in the aft cabin right under it. Lulls me to sleep in the evening and nudges me awake when it starts honking. Great for a singlehander, although I do have a spouse who acts as the sleep alarm for the KISS. If I don't get up, I'm reminded!!
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:07   #17
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

G'Day all,

I suppose that we qualify as serious cruisers, so here's what we have; 240 watts of solar o n an arch, plus an Air-X. They do indeed compliment each other and I like the combination. Our autopilot is very thirsty and the Air-X helps get it through the night without totally wiping out our 440 A-H bank.

In our experience though, the best source of power during passages is some sort of water driven generator. On our previous boat we had a home made "trolling generator" which had an outboard prop on the end of a 50 foot line turning an old tape drive motor as a generator. It did a great job of keeping us charged up... far better than a wind gen at sea. I miss it!

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Old 08-02-2013, 14:08   #18
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

I've cruised with a wind generator, and I've cruised with just solar. 15 years ago I would have answered that a wind generator was important. Because of the significant price drop in solar over that last 5 years and the advent of MPPT controllers, today I would say that all solar is the best way to go. It's just no longer worth the noise, hassle, and expense for the wind generator when you can get sufficient charging from solar. (This applies for people cruising the East Coast and Caribbean, it probably doesn't apply to someone in Washington state.)
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:09   #19
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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Compare expected Ah/$ and solar thrashes wind. The exceptions are high latitude and v cloudy areas and if you run out of space for more solar panels.
Another exception is at night when the radar, running lights, reading lights etc... Have the maximum draw that is used while the boat is underway, and solar is useless. I surely am not knocking solar. I ave 2, 190 watt, 4,80 watt and 2,30 watt on one 33' boat. I would never presume that I could rely on wind alone. BUT when the solar isn't there the wind often is.
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:10   #20
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

If you're going to run your engine/generator/genset anyway, maybe ask yourself if it's worth spending more on a wind generator. The idea is to keep up with electrical demands; there's no requirement to max out every source.
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:13   #21
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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Another exception is at night when the radar, running lights, reading lights etc... Have the maximum draw that is used while the boat is underway, and solar is useless. I surely am not knocking solar. I ave 2, 190 watt, 4,80 watt and 2,30 watt on one 33' boat. I would never presume that I could rely on wind alone. BUT when the solar isn't there the wind often is.
Meh; LED running lights chop that down, "reading lights" consists of my 3aaa kindle light, we have sensi bulbs installed throughout the interior, and the radar is on standby unless someone is staring at the screen. No reason to have it sweeping when no one's there to see it.

If our nighttime load exceeds 5 amps, that's with the fridge running, something is way wrong.
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:23   #22
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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If you're going to run your engine/generator/genset anyway, maybe ask yourself if it's worth spending more on a wind generator. The idea is to keep up with electrical demands; there's no requirement to max out every source.
You are right, but why not take the "free" energy while we can.

I have a Kiss windgen atop a 100 watt Solar Stick, two 80 watt panels mounted on our dinghy davit, a 100 amp Belmar alternator on our engine, and a Honda 2000 generator stored under the helm seat.
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:31   #23
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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Another exception is at night when the radar, running lights, reading lights etc... Have the maximum draw that is used while the boat is underway, and solar is useless. I surely am not knocking solar. I ave 2, 190 watt, 4,80 watt and 2,30 watt on one 33' boat. I would never presume that I could rely on wind alone. BUT when the solar isn't there the wind often is.
If you can't get through just one night on passage, your battery capacity is too low.
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:50   #24
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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If you can't get through just one night on passage, your battery capacity is too low.
Perhaps true, but many passages are multi day/night, and if you are operating at a deficit each night, things eventually catch up with you and the battery is well down.

And it is easy to say that one's battery bank is too small, but at least in our case we don't have a good place to add batteries and don't want the weight, and we heartily dislike running the engine just to charge batteries... hence the wind or water powered gen makes sense.

We do like the solar part of our system, and will increase its power one day soon (?). But as others have mentioned, there are situations where either the sun is absent, the angle is low, the days short, or the bloody sails are in the way. One aspect that may be influencing these anti-windgen opinions is many East Coast Americans only sail in the summer months where the above factors are minimally important. For those who sail year round or in higher latitudes the world is different!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 08-02-2013, 15:00   #25
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

A wind generator is like sadomasochism because every watt from them is a watt slowing down the boat. Same for trolling generators. I have seen boats with folding props that tow trolling generators.... go figure

And we didn't talk maintenance yet, with their bearings and turning blades and all sorts of mechanical horror.

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Old 08-02-2013, 15:05   #26
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

I believe the choice of charging sources is dictated by (i.a.):

- your consumption,
- your alternatives,
- your area,
- your preferences.

So to say, a power hungry skipper/boat, in dark but windy areas, will elect wind power, unless a genset is already present onboard. And so on.

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Old 08-02-2013, 15:08   #27
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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Meh; LED running lights chop that down, "reading lights" consists of my 3aaa kindle light, we have sensi bulbs installed throughout the interior, and the radar is on standby unless someone is staring at the screen. No reason to have it sweeping when no one's there to see it.

If our nighttime load exceeds 5 amps, that's with the fridge running, something is way wrong.
You must have a vane. My autopilot uses that much. Add chartplotter, running lights, refrigerator, bottom sounder sender I'm probably closer to 20. I run my radar on watchman so it beeps every so often and turns on. It still requires warming up and uses a bit of power. 5 amps? Really? With fridge?
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Old 08-02-2013, 15:09   #28
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

Q. Do ALL serious cruisers have wind generators?
A. No.
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Old 08-02-2013, 15:13   #29
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Re: Wind Generators - Do All Serious Cruisers Have Them?

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Originally Posted by Fishspearit View Post
I've cruised with a wind generator, and I've cruised with just solar. 15 years ago I would have answered that a wind generator was important. Because of the significant price drop in solar over that last 5 years and the advent of MPPT controllers, today I would say that all solar is the best way to go. It's just no longer worth the noise, hassle, and expense for the wind generator when you can get sufficient charging from solar. (This applies for people cruising the East Coast and Caribbean, it probably doesn't apply to someone in Washington state.)
Almost verbatim of what a cruiser of 30 years in the pacific told me.
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Old 08-02-2013, 15:20   #30
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You must have a vane. My autopilot uses that much. Add chartplotter, running lights, refrigerator, bottom sounder sender I'm probably closer to 20. I run my radar on watchman so it beeps every so often and turns on. It still requires warming up and uses a bit of power. 5 amps? Really? With fridge?
20 frigging amps? Holy crap.

Small Engel uses 2-3, radar is normally on standy, no depth sounder unless close enough to shore that I'm on engine anyway, paper charts. Handheld GPS plugged into 12v and VHF/ais receiver round maybe half an amp?

Manual windlass, led running lights, etc. No chart plotter.

I guess I'm on the lighter end of consumption.
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