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Hi Cruisers,

The wife and I are pretty sure next year we'll do the anchor thing at least once. But to to even attempt it in my mind, you need to have a way to make electricity. We're not sure about spending the money and rigging the boat with solar panels or a wind generator. It has been suggested by a few of my power boat buddies to just get one of those tiny Honda generators. Do any of you have or had a generator? Pros and cons? Our cruising would always be a mix of anchoring and going to marinas (for now). Thanks.

Dave
 

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Dave, how long do you plan to be at anchor, how big is your house bank, and what power do you expect to use?

Unless you have dramatically different power needs than I do, I would be surprised if you needed (or even wanted) a generator for a few nights at anchor.
 

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Hi Cruisers,

The wife and I are pretty sure next year we'll do the anchor thing at least once. But to to even attempt it in my mind, you need to have a way to make electricity.
No, you don't... and, you already have the means to "make electricity", it's called your engine... :)

I'd suggest holding off on getting a Honda, until you actually feel the NEED to have one... I swear, I think many of the folks out there running the damn things are doing so simply because "Well, since we have the freakin' thing, we might as well USE it..."

:)

FYI, there have been numerous threads on this subject... I know the Search function here is next to worthless, but you might still give it a whirl...
 

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Dave,

Before anyone can give you an intelligent answer, you need to figure out your typical power consumption per day, your house bank battery capacity, and how long you plan to stay at anchor without running the engine to charge.

For example, if you use 100 Amp-Hours per day and only stay at anchor for one day at a time and have a 300AH battery bank, you'll be just fine as it is because you won't drop below 50% state of charge. If you're willing to run the engine an hour or two per day to charge and have a high output alternator, you can go indefinitely at 100 AH consumption per day. If you don't want to run the engine or use more per day or have a smaller battery bank or stay on the hook longer, you'll need some charging source but how big and what type depend on other considerations.

The Honda EU2000 will put out 13 amps for as long as you keep it gassed up but that's a lot of noise for a long time. A few hundred watts of solar can supply a similar amount of current and do it silently but won't help you much if you sail in the winter in the PNW.

etc, etc.
 

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Even if you don't know your exact power consumption you do need to at least list out the major consumers of power. If you have even a half decent battery and no fridge you should be able to live at anchor for many days without solar.

The first step is a battery monitor to understand how much juice is left after a day's worth of cruising.

You don't need much solar if you don't have a fridge, just a little bit goes a long way. Our boat has a 30 watt panel (2.5 amps at 12 volts) and more than covers our needs for summer cruising. If I were buying today I'd probably buy a 50-60w panel just for a bit more overhead. I don't plug in the boat for about 6 months of the year, even at my home dock.
 

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Better safe than Sorry!
I have one Just for peace of mind ...Even with battery monitoring and solar panels...accident happens and draining a battery happens fast.

In my experience , not being able to start the engine can really ruin a nice cruise.

So mine is in a locker ...just in case ! and knowing that it is here helps me sleep better and fully enjoy the cruise
 

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I carry a Honda 2000 companion model but the primary usage is to make more hot water, no matter how frugal, on day 3 your 6 gallon supply is exhausted. Takes my 27hp diesel forever to make a hot tank if I can't put a load on it. So I run the Honda for an hour every three days or so from 1000 to 1100 hours. Frankly, I felt stupid sitting in a crowded mooring field with the diesel on Fast Idle to charge batteries or make hot water. Anyone that complains don't get a Christmas card this year.
And if the noise bothers me I can always put it in the dingy on a long painter and let it float over by Jon's boat.;)
 

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What do you need power for if you're just going out once in awhile.

For light at anchor you can use candles and oil lamps.very cozy. A small Flashlight if you need to look for something.
refrigeration. I have it, but I load up on ice and the refer goes off when engine is off.
TV...DVD, computer?..pretty low power draws..just don't run down your starting battery

So other than the anchor light.. the water pump might be your biggest draw, and that doesn't run much.

If I'm anchored I typically turn everything off. If I need to charge the batteries, I'll run the engine. I would add a small solar panel before I carried a generator.. unless you're going out for extended periods of time.

Cons...gas, fumes, noise!
 

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Dave,

On our boat we have refrigeration, nav stuff, VHF, SSB, HAM radios, lights, computers and other items. We have a 300 Ah house battery bank. In 2000, I DID add solar power at a much higher cost than it is now.

We departed for full time cruising in 2004 and returned to the US in late 2008. This past year (AND the year before) we cruised full time for almost 6 months with one (1) 85 watt solar panel with no problems.

IN ALL THAT TIME we NEVER had, or needed a generator!
:D

A small solar panel & controller would be FAR less $ than a generator and also not bugg your neighbors at anchor! :laugher

Greg
 

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We cruise/overnight for 6-8 weeks every summer. In the past, we had a mediocre alternator setup, and found we needed to find a marina to plug in once a week or so. Last year we upgraded our alternator and only plugged in if we happened to be in a resupply location AND needed to charge up the bank or had a lot of devices to get caught up (phones, Ipad, etc. - perhaps 2 or 3 times for the season) This past year we set up a 100W solar panel part way through the summer and didn't need to plug into shore power again - even when in a marina. This, too, in one of the best sailing seasons (minimal hours on engine) in years.

Our investment in solar was under $600... what would a generator cost? and the fuel to run it? and the annoyance to others? A Honda 2000 goes for $1200 and stays thirsty. That money can go toward more convenient alternatives like a high output alternator, good regulator, and/or solar.
 
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The big question is "Do you need 110-volts AC? And, if so, why?" If you do not absolutely need 110-volts AC, there is no reason to have a Honda or any other brand of generator. However, if you have a heat pump on your boat, then that Honda will come in real handy on those hot, humid nights when anchored in the Bahamas or Florida Keys. AC, especially for me, is not a must at this point, but I'm getting a lot closer to needing it for medical reasons. My lungs are shot to Hell from asbestos, therefore, on those hot, humid nights the AC will lower the relative humidity and temperature, make the air more dense, and make my blood oxygen level increase by a few percent, which can be vital in my case.

Now, if you're a youngster, like Jon, then you can tolerate the heat and humidity. ;)

Good luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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Think about it this way, there are a thousand bareboats in the BVIs and none (nearly none) have generators and their crews are usually off the dock for a week at a time.

Unless you absolutely have a need for 110v power, making 12v isn't all that hard. As pointed out, you run the engine at a slightly increased RPM, in neutral, for about 90 mins per day and you should be all set. If you motored for that amount of time, you're already done.

That's assuming your house bank is sized properly to get you through at least the day, if not two or more. If you're willing to spend money on a genset, spend it first to be sure your house bank is big enough.

You're going to love waking up at anchor!!
 

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Hi Cruisers,

It has been suggested by a few of my power boat buddies to just get one of those tiny Honda generators.
Dave
It's funny how when your only tool is a hammer, you think of every problem as a nail. Powerboaters always think the only choice is a generator.
Sailors largely go solar and wind generation first.

We have 80 watts of solar power aboard, soon to be 120 watts, no shorepower, and although we own a generator, have never had to use it on the Dock or on the hook- our generator is only used in the boatyard.
the solar was a lot cheaper than a generator, btw.
 

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The worst thing you can do to your diesel primary propulsion engine is to use it to charge your batteries. The engine doesn't have enough load on it to reach optimum temperature and it will age your diesel quickly.
Solar and wind are great ways to keep the battery topped up but sometimes the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow, that's where the Honda generator comes into play. The Honda 2000 will run a 110v 100 amp battery charger. It will also heat enough water for two showers in about 15-20 minutes. Also great if you want to use power tools and it is pull start so if the batteries are dead no worries!
All this for $999.00 free shipping from Mayberrys. Not everyone's cup of tea, but for full time cruising it makes sense to me.
 

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Dave,

On our boat we have refrigeration, nav stuff, VHF, SSB, HAM radios, lights, computers and other items. We have a 300 Ah house battery bank. In 2000, I DID add solar power at a much higher cost than it is now.

We departed for full time cruising in 2004 and returned to the US in late 2008. This past year (AND the year before) we cruised full time for almost 6 months with one (1) 85 watt solar panel with no problems.

IN ALL THAT TIME we NEVER had, or needed a generator!
:D

A small solar panel & controller would be FAR less $ than a generator and also not bugg your neighbors at anchor! :laugher

Greg
WOW DOUBLE WOW

Running a fridge on an 85 watt panel. Which fridge is it? I need one!
 

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I bought a Yamaha 1000w generator 10+ years ago. It's been used on the boat maybe eight times to charge batteries, and seven of those times was when we took off and didn't realize our old Airx wind generator had packed it in. Used it on that trip.

Wind (Silentwind generator) and 100 watts solar keep us fairly well off. I'm adding another 100 or so watts.

The Yamaha is a nice safety blanket. It sits in my sail locker, and almost never gets used. If I had the spare $1000 I'd spend it on solar panels, not a new generator. Or but Delezynski's fridge! That's astounding.


Why go fast, when you can go slow
 
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