Berthon are able to supply and fit wind generators, hydro generators, solar panels and fuel cells. The continual development of new technologies means that the creation of ‘green’ energy should be seen as an investment that will ultimately cut costs, as well as reduce your carbon footprint.
Whilst all of the new technology available can make life at sea easier and more enjoyable, this does come at a price, namely power consumption. There is only so much space aboard for increasing your battery bank size and at some point you must decide whether you’re going to be running an engine or generator to top up the batteries, or whether to go down a cleaner ‘greener’ and less audibly irritating route.
For pure power deliverance, there is no competing with a generator and if the plan is to use heavy AC devices such as microwaves, hairdryers, cookers and water heaters, then the generator will almost certainly be the best option. However, if you find that you’re just having to run your engine alternators a few hours a day to keep the batteries going, then renewable options such as wind generators, hydro generators, solar panels or fuel cells may be right for you. Your preferred type of sailing will largely dictate which option is right for you. Those who spend a lot of time at sea cruising at 6 knots or more will find a hydro-generator supplies all their needs. However, if you prefer to sit at anchorage this clever bit of kit is redundant. Whereas fuel cells and solar panels will keep going.
Wind generators will work when underway, particularly sailing up wind where the apparent wind increases and in theory, they are also very good at a windy anchorage. However, who wants to be at a windy anchorage?
“Since fitting the 2 large solar panels over the cockpit and by making water for an hour a day, we found ourselves to be almost entirely independent in the Med. The longest we spent without shore power was 13 days and, as long as the engine is run for a couple of hours, which is usually necessary when leaving and entering the harbour, making water, or when leaving or arriving in an anchorage, we find battery power not to be a problem.”
SALAMANDER OF POOLE, Malo 41
“The latest solar panels are so efficient that our owners are now going for many days at anchor without running their gensets. And if you consider panel placement in the design process from the beginning, the results can be very positive.”
“Take FPB 78′-1 COCHISE as an example. She burns under 30 gallons per month on average for power generation in the tropics.A normal yacht of this size with generator-based systems, with conventional insulation, air conditioning, and household fridges and freezers, runs its 24kW genset 24 hours a day, both at sea and at anchor. That is an increase in fuel burn of over 700 gallons a month compared to what we have seen with COCHISE.”
“Greener cruising is here today. It should be considered and implemented aboard all serious cruising yachts for the benefits that it brings, both to the planet and the cruising experience itself. Not to be underestimated is the immense pleasure that comes from leading this wonderful lifestyle with such a minimised carbon footprint.”