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rsn48 12-13-2007 02:17 PM

Water powered generators
In reading past issues of Practical Boating out of the UK, I have run across, a number of times, a generator powered by a prop in the water; this seems reasonable to me. Since it hasn't been embrassed by the boating community, something must have been wrong with it... any comments?

Idiens 12-13-2007 02:24 PM

Its expensive?

sailingdog 12-13-2007 02:25 PM

No, they work just fine, and some are dual-purpose units, which can work as both wind gens and water gens... however, they're not really all that useful at anchor, which is when most people want the power...

If you're in an anchorage where there is enough current to operate a water've picked your anchorage very poorly. The use of a towed or shaft-based water generator will generally cost the boat about .5 to 1 knot, depending on the size of the boat and the setup of the water gen while underway.

The DuoGen units have gotten some very good reviews...

camaraderie 12-13-2007 02:26 PM

Water Generators are not a new thing. Indeed...some wind gens have a water gen option. They have never been all that popular as:
1. You need to be underway for them to to work and cruisers spend 80-90% of their time at anchor.
2. Fouling and loss issues.

I am seem to recall that the company you are thinking of is actually out of business with a slew of customer issues left in its' wake.

EDIT: I am NOT referring to Duogen which is a wind/water model. While there have been some reliability issues with those (and some production upgrades from the original), most people seem to b happy with the in-water performance and with the service when they have a problem. In air performance however is lackluster. $3500 is a lot to pay for one imho!

Idiens 12-13-2007 02:31 PM

The DuoGen got good write-ups from the ARC rally. So if your at sea for a few weeks and need power, it seems a good option in the water, swing it up and change the prop when at anchor.

But it's not cheap.

sailingdog 12-13-2007 02:31 PM


Are you thinking about Waterlog? They didn't make a towed water gen, but a towed water maker, and they left a lot of people high and dry... literally on the dry part. :)

The DuoGen seems to be a pretty well built, fairly versatile unit, however, the wind gen portion is a bit on the under powered side compared to some of its larger competitors...

Valiente 12-13-2007 03:55 PM

It makes sense, however, if you are looking at 1) voyaging more than anchoring, and 2) looking at wind as the secondary house battery charging input after solar.

I get the impression that the Duo-Gens, while not optimized for high output at low-moderate wind speeds, work quite as well as any other in decent wind. This means on a sunny, windy passage (or a windy night passage), you're going to make a decent amount of amps. On a motor passage on a calm night (or a sail passage on a cloudy day, I suppose), a towed generator is going to make a very impressive contribution akin to having another alternator.

The towing option is attractive in many ways, but it's something for the more active voyager, not the Margueritaville mooring field type...not that there's anything wrong with that.

sailaway21 12-17-2007 01:08 AM

As stated, the towed generators are best used by those who actually sail steadily. The power generation is quite impressive compared to the wind and solar systems. The most I've heard of in terms of speed loss is less than half a knot. They are the power generation source of choice for trans-oceanic racing and the 'round the world events. The link below may be of some interest to you as i believe it discusses most of the more commonly found ones.

whroeder 12-17-2007 09:58 AM


Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 236739)

Are you thinking about Waterlog? They didn't make a towed water gen, but a towed water maker, and they left a lot of people high and dry... literally on the dry part. :)

Was there a problem with the Waterlog or the company?

sailingdog 12-17-2007 11:06 AM

Sorry for the OT post... but IIRC, the main problem was the company. From what I've read, the Waterlog units themselves, the ones that worked anyways... worked fairly well. The issue was the company had lousy customer support and service... and there were issues of people ordering hardware and not getting it. I think the main issue was that the company was poorly managed and had serious financial issues because of that.

Originally Posted by whroeder (Post 238365)
Was there a problem with the Waterlog or the company?

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