Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NE & Windwards
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Re: Portable Genny
Maine-you live in Maine. I think you mostly cruise N.E. Think that has impact on your (quite educated) choices.
F- Maine knows more then anyone here about boat wiring/batteries/circuits. Strongly advise doing an energy audit before deciding. Look at Maines writings first. Strongly advise be honest with yourself about present and future boat use. Then decide.
1. Hate any above deck generators. You will lose friends in any anchorage you will visit. If you decide to get one please, please, please don't run it before 9a or after 6p. ( between 9-6 you should be sailing anyway)
2. They run on gas. Another hazard. Another thing to feed. Another fire hazard. Spills are dangerous and not good for gelcoat.
3. They are meant to run on land. A hassle on a boat in salt. Another tank of gas. Another thing to maintain.
4. Problematic to run underway. Problematic to store below deck and not good for them to always live above deck. Box shaped things are hard to store as are any "this side up" things.
General thoughts- if you really,really need a genset go below deck diesel. Safer, more efficient, quieter from outside the boat, more reliable.
We lived 1 1/2y on our current boat. Have high rev 2cyclinder diesel genset. It's a lombardini which I don't recommend. When it dies will replace with low rev unit.
It went on:
During passage to top up batteries after prolonged AP,instrument, frig/freezer, a few hours of AC use due to overcast and very high,hot humid days. Otherwise it goes on once a month to make sure it works. I hate it as well but given our energy budget saw there would be rare times our high output alternator and alternatives wouldn't kept up with critical functions (cold beer, and the AP :-)).
Our current budget allows music, rare hour of flatscreen for movies, rare hour of AC to dry boat, but all dedicated boat functions (instruments, AP, radar, frig/freezer) on alt. energy with left over for the spectra Cape Horn extreme dc watermaker on sunny, windy days. Hence, very, very rare times genset really needs to be run.
So for 99.9% of people there's no need for a genset. The others are much better served by a below deck diesel unit as their usage is so high portable ones won't cut it. Alt. energy costs are such that you can do panels/hydro or wind and after a few years its about a wash. And life is so much more pleasant without an engine running. Isn't that why we sail in the first place.
P.S.- if you do do alt. think about where you are and are going to be. Our D400s are weak sisters in N.E. Unless near/offshore in 10-20 don't do much up there. Think it's the long summer days. Surprisingly the panels don't match up to the D400s when down in the eastern Caribbean. Get 1 1/2 to 2x more out of the wind then solar. Think it's the nearly 24/7 fresh breeze down there and shorter day due to winter. Anytime you have fresh water wash your panels. Makes a real difference. Had Sahara winds with fine dust. Output dropped.
Last edited by outbound; 04-06-2016 at 11:11 AM.