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Old 23-06-2013, 16:50   #1
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Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this Crazy or Possible?

Just found a listing on Craigslist here in Hawaii for:
100% Self-Sufficient Sailboat
All motor and cooking, electric powered by solar & wind generators . . .
What do you think? Anybody with any experience with a setup like this?

Check it out . . .

100% Self-Sufficient Sailboat for Sale
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Old 25-06-2013, 05:05   #2
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Originally Posted by petert96753 View Post
.......................
All motor and cooking, electric powered by solar & wind generators . . .
What do you think? Anybody with any experience with a setup like this?..............
I have a similar array of solar panels and the identical wind generator along with my 56hp Yanmar and my Kubota driven 7KW diesel generator. My answer to the ability for this system to work is a definite yes and no!
If the vessel is remaining at a dock with shore power for considerable lengths of time in order to maintain the refrig/freezer and keep the battery bank charged and then used for day sailing with a brief time for use of the electric motor to maneuver to and from the dock; then, this is very feasible. However, if the boat were to be used for fulltime cruising that included making passage under power in tidal current estuaries and days from shore power, this set-up would be far from suitable.
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Old 25-06-2013, 05:24   #3
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

I have 500 watts solar with the controller showing 18 amps as highest input.
Refrigerator & freezer gouges power - mainly because it is not 10" super-insulated.

With no other load you should be able to e-motor at 2 knots until sunset without discharging at all. If you need more than 2 knots then usually you'll have wind to harness in canvas. I can recommend highly Dometic freezer - well-mannered unit that has a low voltage cut-out so it doesn't completely drain batteries
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Old 25-06-2013, 06:40   #4
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Since everything is powered by the batteries you have to figure out how long they last and how long it will take to recharge. I have seen some large solar panels or large alternators with real small batteries. They charge quickly but could charge a much larger battery bank. You need to mach charging with storage and use. Its not always easy
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Old 25-06-2013, 07:11   #5
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Funny that there is no mention of batteries in the boats description.
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Old 25-06-2013, 08:42   #6
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Funny that there is no mention of batteries in the boats description.
I'm wondering how quickly the engine would drain the batteries. Because the solar and wind set-up certainly doesn't generate enough to recharge while the engine is running. In short, for a long voyage this set-up would have me very ill-at-ease. It's a full-keel boat as well, so heavy and lots of displacement.


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Old 25-06-2013, 08:45   #7
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

there is no such thing as 100% free energy wow
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:11   #8
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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I'm wondering how quickly the engine would drain the batteries. Because the solar and wind set-up certainly doesn't generate enough to recharge while the engine is running. In short, for a long voyage this set-up would have me very ill-at-ease. It's a full-keel boat as well, so heavy and lots of displacement.


Onno
Keeping the speed low might balance energy consumption. Here's a vendor example-

"EVOLVE V2 SOLAR PANEL 23HW - Add a weatherproof solar charging panel to your eVolve v2 system. Charge the battery or run the motor indefinitely at approximately 2 knots (with optimum sun conditions). The panel rolls up for easy storage."

You can run "a" "small" motor at low speed without depleting the battery. This is a conceptual statement not a cruising solution. Many factors at play. However if we look at the example of the Pardey's sculling oar, and the conditions that satisfied, we might find non-drain or low-drain electric can satisfy that same need.
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Old 25-06-2013, 12:01   #9
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Keeping the speed low might balance energy consumption. Here's a vendor example-

"EVOLVE V2 SOLAR PANEL 23HW - Add a weatherproof solar charging panel to your eVolve v2 system. Charge the battery or run the motor indefinitely at approximately 2 knots (with optimum sun conditions). The panel rolls up for easy storage."

You can run "a" "small" motor at low speed without depleting the battery. This is a conceptual statement not a cruising solution. Many factors at play. However if we look at the example of the Pardey's sculling oar, and the conditions that satisfied, we might find non-drain or low-drain electric can satisfy that same need.
I can see this possibility, but not with running a typical low draw refrig/freezer with a Danfloss compressor as well as the electric cooking as described in the ad.

edit: I see that the vessel has the Engel refrig/freezeer unit & not the Danfloss. The manufacturer's site states that their medium size Engel refrig/freezer runs at a variable power of 0.5 to 2.5 amps. This will likely average out a little better than those with the Danfloss (mine averages about a 1.8 amps), but still, this will take the greatest amount of the power produced by the solar panels and the wind generator. Every day is not clouldless, high angle of incidence solar, with 25 kt winds! .....and forget the electric cooking! ....and forget about motoring out of a place like Woods Hole headed for Martha's Vinyard with 2kt's in that current that can lay you on the rocks!
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Old 25-06-2013, 12:33   #10
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

Aloha, he just sailed the boat over here to Maui from the Big Island and I'm going to go take a look at it tomorrow . . . I'll let you all know what I find out!
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Old 25-06-2013, 13:04   #11
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

Well, many ways to look at things. In a way, it is self sufficient. So much depends on one's needs, habits and expectations.

To me, add a genset, and she may do fine ...

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Old 25-06-2013, 13:20   #12
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

Looks like a nice little boat.Not sure about running all on batts. though.Strange no batteries mentioned for sure.I know a guy in Mex. cruising with only electric in 40ft ketch.(2)9hp connected together that regenerate power under sail.To keep it going,a $30,000. ouch! set of lithium batteries.His solar and windgen are lacking,so uses 2000watt Honda genset to recharge.Works for him.
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Old 25-06-2013, 13:55   #13
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

You might find some useful information here:

Electric Propulsion
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Old 25-06-2013, 14:24   #14
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
I'm wondering how quickly the engine would drain the batteries. Because the solar and wind set-up certainly doesn't generate enough to recharge while the engine is running. In short, for a long voyage this set-up would have me very ill-at-ease. It's a full-keel boat as well, so heavy and lots of displacement.


Onno
For sure it won't generate more electric than it consumes under engine, but having a finite range is the same as for diesel....it's a question of how (and where) the boat is used that makes the EP set up practical or not. From my scan through the listing seems that the Engel is the only Electric item which would be running permanently.

Me has had a long standing itch to try EP (and my boat at 30' is on the heavy old cow end of the sailing spectrum!)....I would probably take a generator onboard as a comfort blanket on range, at least intially........if that ever gets beyond the pondering stage I will PM you to come have a looksee (or for a tow back in!).
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Old 25-06-2013, 14:29   #15
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

One horsepower is about 750 watts. So a 400 watt solar panel in ideal conditions can output 1/2 horsepower. This is barely enough to get the boat to move, so it will really only have the batteries for propulsion. The electric motor in it is about 7-15hp.
The ad is a "sales pitch" for sure..
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