Imagine owning a yacht with alternate power – quiet, clean, efficient and economical to run.
A global shift towards silent power is giving boat owners plenty to think about. Technology for sustainable power solutions has advanced so dramatically over the years that it has become less cost prohibitive and more popular.
New Zealand Windcraft boat owner, Lindsay Kennedy, reconsidered using traditional power for his new Hanse 548 ‘Master Plan’ and with the help of Windcraft and expert providers, has come up with some well thought out solutions to suit his specific needs.
Lindsay says, ‘we are reasonably high consumers of power, yet my preference was not to have a generator, so I looked at solar panels and lithium batteries (Li-Ion). These two solutions work in tandem as Li-Ion rely on solar to charge them and are a better setup for the solar panel.
After a lot of research, Lindsay settled on GoFlex solar panels which are lightweight, flexible, easy to install and as efficient as quality rigid panel systems. And they were suited to Master Plan which has a hardtop offering a large area for a seven-panel installation. The installers, Beacon Marine Electrical and Electronics cut the panels in a specifically measured pattern to fit the maximum number of panels to harness the maximum amount of power possible.
‘Aesthetically we have been able to achieve a good result, says Lindsay. The GoFlex solar panels provided by Enertec Marine are all black – no typical white criss-cross pattern. The best way to disguise them was to install a black film over the crest of the hardtop. I’m really happy with the result’, says Lindsay.
Lindsay chose a specific type of Li-Ion battery that offered significant benefits in
comparison to traditional batteries:
Significantly smaller and lighter – easy installation and more available storage.
Hold a longer charge – less expensive and holds power for longer.
Draws more power – more efficient.
Longer life – extended replacement.
Charging is faster – more time effective and less mucking around.
‘You can drain traditional batteries to 50% and the Li-Ion brand I have chosen will drain
to about 20% which is a considerable distinction’, says Lindsay.
Lindsay, what’s the overall result?
‘There was an adjustment process but I’m very glad to have done it. The benefits far outweigh any negatives. Though I did upgrade the alternator, the best thing is I don’t have an expensive, noisy generator to run and that was my main aim.
It’s important to remember that if you don’t want to use the motor, the lithium batteries are charged by the solar system during the day, so it depends on how long and sunny the day is and how much storage is left.
My supply of hot water has doubled. The motor needs to be on for only about half an hour in Summer and an hour in Winter to heat the water for the evening and the next morning.
The batteries and solar on long hot summer days provide about 250 amps p/day. If we are away for a couple of days, the only time we need the motor is for hot water.
Overnight we get down to around 70% charge which is much higher than the traditional batteries.
Examples of our amp hours used over a 24-hour period are:
10.00pm to 8.00am in summer – 10 amps p/hr.
8.00am to 6.00pm – about 12 -15 amps p/hr when flushing the toilet, using the radio etc.
6.00pm to 10.00pm varies due to weather and light and if a heater is needed – about 12-15 amps p/hr in Summer and 25 to 30 amps p/hr in Winter.’
Windcraft’s Know How:
Windcraft New Zealand has the experience, capability and knowledge to implement and coordinate alternative power solutions for their boat owners.
Dominic Lowe, Branch Manager Windcraft New Zealand says ‘the best ideas come from our owners who do a vast amount of research then our teamwork with them to find the best solutions for each boat. The install on Master Plan was totally new technology and we worked together with other experts to accomplish Lindsay’s vision.
The experience with Master Plan has inspired other Windcraft owners to explore their own alternate solutions. Dom says, ‘we are looking to do a similar install on a Hanse 548 that due to arrive soon. And we have recently installed lead crystal batteries, a newer technology on a Hanse 445 and 455.
Andre Hubner, Windcraft New Zealand Commissioning Manager who co-ordinated this project says, ‘other boat owners should think about alternate solutions because they are so economical. They save on power and are cheaper all round – Lindsay has a really good set up on Master Plan’.
What are your plans Lindsay?
‘Living in Auckland I will mainly be cruising around the spectacular islands of Hauraki Gulf with my friends and family. However, we are also planning to do a trip to Great Barrier Island and the Bay of Isles this year’.
Thanks Lindsay, it’s been exciting to learn how you have become part of the global movement to explore solutions and look to a future with a different style of boating. Silent power is certainly more in line with the essence of yachting. We wish you happy sailing.