portable generator on 30ft sailboat ? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2006
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Question portable generator on 30ft sailboat ?

This will be my first hot Florida summer as the owner of my (new to me)Hunter 290 coolchange. Outfitted with AC she is dry and cool while conected to shorepower. It would be nice, to be able to run the AC while out on the hook when it's getting too hot. A friend mentioned to try a portable generator like the HONDA 2000, placed on the swimplattform and connected with a special cable into the shore power connector on the back of the boat.

My 10.000btu AC seems to draw ~ 9AMP and the generator is rated with 13.7 AMP ( 17AMP max ) I assume from the electrical side that could work. Has anybody experience with a scenario like this? Any thoughts, hints advice for or against it. I could borrow a friends generator to try it out, but I would like to hear your opinions first, before I go out, buy the cable ...
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Old 06-06-2006
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humm

First thing that comes to mind is that a honda generator may not be suitable for the marine environment which can be quite harsh. That being said, I have heard of many others who have done this.
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Valid point !

The plan is, to take the generator only on occasion, when really needed and also to built a special ventilated box-cradle out of Starboard to raise it some, to shelter it when not used (during the sail to the anchorage). The box would then be partially opened (for the needed aircirculation/cooling). The box cradle should even help a little bit with the noise. I heard the Honda would be one of the least noisiest ... and I would hate to disturb fellow sailors on the anchorage .....
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Old 06-06-2006
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caution...

just be careful of portable generator exhaust fumes. even on the stern of the boat, breezes can swirl, eddies can form... I know it sounds obvious, but just be sure there's no chance of exhaust anywhere near ports, vents or intakes.
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Old 06-07-2006
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I have used the Honda 2kw generator for years in a marine environment. None better, IMHO. Assuming it can handle the load, a Honda generator is the best.
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Old 06-07-2006
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I'm personally not a fan of using a generator on a sailboat. They are noisy, heavy, and they require lots of fuel, if you're to use them for any significant period of time. The warnings about the exhaust are quite good, and I'd get a carbon monoxide detector for your boat's cabin just in case, if you do decide to get a generator.

You might want to look into using natural cooling methods when you're out at sea or at anchor, rather than a generator. Wind scoops, awnings and open hatches can do a lot to cool down the interior of a boat without requiring any fuel.
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No personal expereince with a generator on board, but two comments. First would the generator be exposed to immersion in salt water due to the inevitable careless powerbioat wakes? Tha could be an issue even for electrical products built for marine service.
Secondly, you might consider the reaction of th epeople sleeping (or trying to sleep) in the v-bearth of the boat anchored immediately behind you. You may not be able to hear the generator in your v-bearth, but they may feel they are sleeping with it. Sound carries exrtremely well over water, even a normal voice conversation can easily be overheard...
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Old 06-07-2006
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Honda I Is A Great Choice. I Have One For Years 15 Hours On One Gal. Of Fuel (gas) Noise Is Very Min. And I Use It During The Day For Recharging Batteries Vs. The Old Perkins. The Average Life Of Honda Gen. Is Around 10 Years On The Sea With Proper Maintenance. Good Luck.
S/v Lady Lena
Moody 425 __/)_
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Old 06-07-2006
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Florida summers can be brutal when sleeping (or trying to) onboard w/o AC. I can see your reasoning behind utilizing the amenities you have and think generators are perhaps the most popular means of powering AC when away from dock.

With that said, my personal experiences of generators above deck are negative, at best. Naturally, this view may be bias, since we mostly sail in New England waters, but regardless of make - Honda or otherwise - generator noise is a major sound pollution nuisance.

If designed by the boat mfr. to be below decks, in a properly ventilated and sound insulated compartment, such as found in well designed motor yachts and larger sailboats, the noise is sometimes tolerable. Every overnight anchorage we've ever spent time in with a neighboring boat with an on-deck generator, has been the scorn of the anchorage. Above deck generator noise is a huge problem. However, if you want to be despised by other cruisers during those steamy summer nights with everyone's hatches open, then go for it.
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Old 06-07-2006
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Generators that seem tolerable during the day will often be not so tolerable in the deeper quiet of the night. Some generators are quiet enough that the wet exhaust is the only sound you hear, but that rhythmic splash all night long will keep others awake. The Hondas, while quiet, may not seem so at 3 am (to others, anyway).
Even here on the Northwest coast, we get hot, clammy nights at times, but thankfully overnight generator operation is a rarity, even among powerboaters.
Using windscoops, ventilators and strategically oriented hatches to maximize natural ventilation and cooling worked for us in the Caribbean. Of course it helps to have reliable tradewinds!
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