Join Date: Jul 2003
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Electric Power options
My 2 cents over 20 years of cruising...
I agree that a wind generator is extremely useful in the trades since you can be trickle charging (if nothing else) day and night. Had an Aereogen on my first boat, and loved it so much we put on our current boat. It''s great and very quiet, which is an important factor for us when we''re at anchor (we like listening to nature sounds, not whirring fan blades!).
On my second boat (a Hans Christian 36), we had a small diesel generator in a teak box up on the foredeck, and that served as our main power source. It was very very noisy, which made us unpopular with some of our friends, but it did save wear and tear on the engine (as pointed out previously, running the engine with no load is not the best strategy).
My current boat is a Baba 30, which I love (hooray for small cruising boats!), but which is not big enough for any kind of genset. We have solar panels and, as I mentioned above, an Aerogen wind generator. They are very useful, but unfortunately do not generate enough to keep us from having to run the engine w/high-output alternator...though I will say that we have to use the engine much LESS than we would otherwise.
Good luck with your adventure!!