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Old 06-11-2017, 05:43   #1
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Tow generator on a small boat?

I am currently outfitting my Albin Vega 27 for her upcoming Pacific crossing. In regards to power, I've increased my solar to 250W, and my house battery bank to 230AH.

Though I generally get enough power even on pretty cloudy days to keep my batteries topped off, there may be days at sea where I don't see the sun for days and I'd like a way to supplement my power generation without resorting to running the engine (I only carry 20-30 gallons of diesel).

I don't have the space to mount a wind turbine, and since I'll be spending more time sailing than sitting at anchor, I thought a towed hydrogenerator might be a good option. I was thinking a more affordable option like the Aquair 100, and not the more modern Watt&Sea models.

My main concern is whether the drag of such a device is significant enough on a small boat like mine to mitigate its usefulness?
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:23   #2
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

Had a towed generator on my last boat for an atlantic crossing. Worked great got about an amp per knot of speed. 5 amps an hpur 24 hoyrs a day.

Maybe i notoced a 1/4 - 1/2 decrease. Nothing to woryy about cpnsidering what your getting in return.

I did just buy a used Aquair 100 with wind conversion kit. I do love them
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Old 08-11-2017, 19:24   #3
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

You have a very large fuel supply for that size boat. Unless you plan on motoring across the high or motoring across the ITCZ, you have plenty of fuel to run the engine every few days if your panels dont keep up with the demand. You would probably not burn a liter every few days to supplement your panels, so your 20/30 gallons would last longer than any passage. Even if your panels failed, you have plenty of fuel (maybe too much for such a light boat) to keep your batteries up for any normal passage. Put your extra money into a windvane and you might never need to supplement your panels. I am not opposed to towing gens (I own one) but I doubt you would benefit much from one. I just re-read your post and I think you will find that you will spend more time at anchor than on passages. That seems to be true for most cruisers. The Vega is a nice boat and should be fine for 1 or 2 (good friends) to go cruising. ______Grant.
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Old 08-11-2017, 19:44   #4
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

the EFOY is a good solar backup

230ah is a tiny house bank. must be nothing running on the boat.

you should have enough batteries to last a few days without sun
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:42   #5
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

I had to look through the West Marine to get an idea of battery weights, but 230 ah seems to end up at around 150 pounds. The Vega is a light boat for long distance cruising, so being weight conscious is very important for decent performance. Putting more batteries in addition to the already overly large fuel supply will turn a good sailing boat into a turkey. A 27 foot boat is not likely to have a lot of electrical drain. A masthead tricolor, AIS, and maybe a small fridge is what most boats that size have. You dont need a 24 hour a day chart plotter to show you that you are in the middle of a large salty pond and you surely dont want to depend on a tiller pilot to steer across an ocean. They suck a lot of juice until they quit working and then you hand steer to the point of exhaustion. I would never discourage cruising in a small boat, but having all of the electrical drain of a larger boat doesnt work in a small boat. The smaller the boat makes it more important to keep it simple. ______Grant.
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Old 12-11-2017, 01:20   #6
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

I have a Honda eu2000i, which I chose after quite a bit of research. If you already have gasoline for an outboard (which I did until yesterday, when my trimaran sale closed) then a very convenient hack is to use the same fittings with a Y-valve, allowing operation from a standard plastic tank. To stow the generator, disconnect while still running and burn the remaining fuel in the line... so explosive fumes in a locker or below are minimized.

The little Honda are absolutely excellent... very quiet, self-adjusting to match the load, and easy on the back (the 2000 watt unit is 43 pounds). They also have a direct battery charge output and can be parallelled for twice the power.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:07   #7
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shelleyWendert View Post
I have a Honda eu2000i, which I chose after quite a bit of research. If you already have gasoline for an outboard (which I did until yesterday, when my trimaran sale closed) then a very convenient hack is to use the same fittings with a Y-valve, allowing operation from a standard plastic tank. To stow the generator, disconnect while still running and burn the remaining fuel in the line... so explosive fumes in a locker or below are minimized.
Could you use the forum font please not that silly Chinese one you chose which is difficult to read and please do read the rules about links for commercial members.

I am surprised as a commercial supplier you say that the Honda 20i produces 2000 watts when its actually 1600 watts surely you have a good product knowledge of the items you are selling.

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Old 12-11-2017, 10:41   #8
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Could you use the forum font please not that silly Chinese one you chose which is difficult to read and please do read the rules about links for commercial members.

I am surprised as a commercial supplier you say that the Honda 20i produces 2000 watts when its actually 1600 watts surely you have a good product knowledge of the items you are selling.

Pete
WOW, is the first thing that came to mind when I read your post. When I read ShelleyWendert's post, I did not notice any weird font making reading difficult, in fact, it looked like all the other posts, including yours, that I have read. Nothing "Chinese" about it at all. Maybe it showed up differently on your computer, having more to do with your settings than anyone else's.
Secondly, I saw no reference or link to any commercial MEMBER, unless Honda happens to be a member on this site. Also, after having a look at ShelleyWendert's profile, I could see nothing suggesting she sold Honda products and therefore should have better product knowledge. Her profile states only that she is a Service Provider, not a merchant of Honda products. The fact is, the Honda 2000i generator IS a 2000W, peak power, 1600W continuous output, generator. Perhaps YOU should get your facts straight before going on a rant.
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Old 12-11-2017, 18:20   #9
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

RYBAN, before this thread goes off of the rails, can you tell us what your electrical loads are intended to be? With the battery size you have and the solar panel , you seem to be pretty well equipped for a small boat. Adding the weight of a separate generator and different fuel to your boat doesnt seem practical for your size boat, but we dont know what your needs for power are. Having spent 3 years coastal cruising and then 2 years in Mexico, F.P. and Hawaii in a 26 foot boat, I can appreciate small boat cruising, but I also kept technical stuff (anything that can break) to a minimum. As has been said before, Tahiti looks the same from the cockpit of a 27 foot boat as it does from a 50 boat. Keep us posted.
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Old 12-11-2017, 18:36   #10
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryban View Post
I am currently outfitting my Albin Vega 27 for her upcoming Pacific crossing. In regards to power, I've increased my solar to 250W, and my house battery bank to 230AH.

Though I generally get enough power even on pretty cloudy days to keep my batteries topped off, there may be days at sea where I don't see the sun for days and I'd like a way to supplement my power generation without resorting to running the engine (I only carry 20-30 gallons of diesel).

I don't have the space to mount a wind turbine, and since I'll be spending more time sailing than sitting at anchor, I thought a towed hydrogenerator might be a good option. I was thinking a more affordable option like the Aquair 100, and not the more modern Watt&Sea models.

My main concern is whether the drag of such a device is significant enough on a small boat like mine to mitigate its usefulness?
To address what you specified as your main concern, you will absolutely NOT notice the drag from a towed generator. This appears from time to time as a concern from armchair sailors. It is not the case in the real world. The reason is that at low speeds the alternator offers very little resistance. It only loads up as the boat speeds up and the propeller spins faster, and then you don't really care anymore because you have plenty of sail power.

I have used them on Pacific crossings, and they are GREAT. We had extended times of rough weather when we had to keep our solar panels folded down, but our batteries NEVER dropped below 98% charged the whole trip day or night.
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:50   #11
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

Yves Galinas, the maker of the Cape Horn Selfsteering Vane sailed around the world engineless on an Alberg 30 using a towed generator. It apparently worked but was a lot of hassle including losing the blades on the rotor from a shark bite. Might want to buy his video which is quite good even if you don't buy his vane. Yves made his voyage before all the modern day generating options so it was practically the only option when he sailed. A few Superlatives

I've done a TransPac with the same generating and battery capacity as you have. Have a self steering vane which steers the boat if it is sailing. Ran 24/7/15 1/2 a 3208 Garmin Chart Plotter, AIS, Auto pilot on standbye because I like the compass display, daily contacts and GRIB downloads with the Icom 718 ham radio, all lights including running lights are LED. Went 10 days of the 15 1/2 passage with heavy overcast. By the 10th day batteries were down to 12.1 volts. As soon as the sun came out, batteries charged back up. Didn't have to run engine to charge the batteries. Think you'll be just fine with your set up

Listen to what Grant Jordan says, he's btdt on a 26' boat.
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Old 14-11-2017, 16:09   #12
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

Yes, Yves used the same aquair 100 unit and I plan on installing one on my Alberg 30 before any water sailing">blue water sailing for the same reasons as you. I think you are on the right track.
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Old 14-11-2017, 16:45   #13
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Re: Tow generator on a small boat?

Fair winds for the crossing. I've got a similar boat with the same solar (about 250W). No wind or tow gen. I can see the appeal if the stated goal is to be underway most of the time, but I agree with Grant to instead just bring on a bit more fuel. One or two more jerry jugs seems more KISS and easier to stow and would go a long way. Then if you've still got some room to spare, maybe throwing in another house batt.
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