Renewable energy

  • July 12, 2019 6:54 PM
    Message # 7777678
    Deleted user

    Hey everyone,

    I bought a W32 a few months ago and took her out for a week trip to Koh Samui. She sailed beautifully! She is currently without a wind generator or solar panels. I was hoping some other W32 owner could share their renewable setups. I'd love to hear your stories about what your set up is, what you would do differently or any upgrades that you plan. And please share photos. I'm a visual learner. Need to see it for it to really click. 

    I've attached a photo of Margarita's boomkin which has a Cape Horn windvane. 

    Looking forward to hearing from other owners.



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    Last modified: July 12, 2019 6:55 PM | Deleted user
  • July 13, 2019 11:53 AM
    Reply # 7778329 on 7777678

    Hello Adam,

    Welcome to the Westsail Family!  I'm sure you will get many responses regarding renewable power sources. 

    We are currently using one 30 watt solar panel mounted on the stern pulpit of our boat.  It provides all the amperage we need for local cruising on and around Puget Sound.  We power our instruments (DS,KM,VHF and GPS), Autopilot, interior lights (LED) and running/anchor light (LED), Refrigeration and Forced Air Heating from the output of the 30 watt panel.  During the summer months with the long days the 30 watt panel is sufficient.  In the winter months when we are using the Forced Air Heater all day, we do need more amperage than a 30 Watt panel can provide.

    On a previous boat that we cruised to the South Pacific we had two 55 Watt Solar panels that provided for our electrical needs.  BUT, back then we cruised with only basic electronic equipment, we did not have SSB, Chart Plotter, Ham, Watermaker, DVD player or Computers.

    It seems now days cruisers are loading a lot more electronics on their boats so the need for power is increasing.  We had friends when we were cruising that had wind generators and were quite happy with them, although some commented on the noise.  I recall meeting a couple that also had a trooling generator that they were happy with. 

    I recently was aboard a boat preparing to go offshore that had more than 700 Watts of solar panels and a wind generator in addition to an onboard diesel generator.  The boat also had a 60 inch TV in the main saloon.....!

    There are so many possibilities now !



    Last modified: July 13, 2019 11:56 AM | Kevin Donahue
  • July 17, 2019 5:15 PM
    Reply # 7784990 on 7777678

    Satori is running 400 watts of permanent flexible solar panels, and 200 watts of stowed panels (600w total). Two 50 watt panels along the lifelines, one 100 watt on the dodger, and two attached to a kind of bimini integrated into the boom gallows frame. The other two are just laid out on deck in the sun. If I were to start over I would get the Victron MPPT controller instead of the Morningstar, but would not do rigid panels. For wind energy she carries a KISS generator attached to a custom pushpit frame with an eight foot 2" pole, with supports. Another Morningstar controller is setup to divert any load (when batteries are full) from the wind turbine into the hot water heater using a dual AC/DC heating element (dump load). If you have a chance to upgrade to LiFePO4, that will increase your efficiency tremendously by allowing more of the energy produced by renewables to be stored as needed. Also try to increase the efficiency of your electrical components. Upgrade all lights to LED, add more insulation to the fridge compartment, run the water maker in mid afternoon when the batteries are fully charged, etc.

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    Last modified: July 17, 2019 5:17 PM | Anonymous member
  • July 22, 2019 6:27 PM
    Reply # 7791680 on 7777678
    Deleted user

    Thanks for the reply, Kevin. I've definitely considered a stern pulpit mount or a pole attached to the boomkin to get a solar panal up above any possible shading. I'm sure a single pole would be able to support a small panel on an adjustable mount. A larger panel might need a stronger stand. The concern I have with this type of panel positioning would be ease of accessing the panel to orientate it towards the sun. Do you happen to have a picture of your set up? Is voltage drop a concern?

    Thanks for the photos and the response, Tony. My future vision is similar to your set up. I'm very curious how shading effects your set up. Do your panel contain diodes? How does the shading of the boom effect output? Are you running all of your panels on one controller? Where is your controller mounted? As I plan to cruise when my work contract is finished, I will need a beefier set up, similar to yours. And lithium batteries will be considered. Also, I'd love to see some photos of your wind generator mounts and hear your experience with the KISS. This would be my first choice when factoring in output, price, noise and durability. I'm also considering a 6-blade generator. 

    Really appreciate the responses guys. I'm very new to all of this so every little bit helps. 

  • July 23, 2019 12:49 AM
    Reply # 7791893 on 7777678


    With the installation we currently have there is seldom an issue with shading as the panel is mounted on the very aft end of the boat.  If you go to our profile page there are several photos of our boat and a few that show our panel installation.  For a small panel (30 watts) like we currently have the mount on our stern pulpit works well.  I would be comfortable with a larger (50/60 Watt) panel on this same mounting.  If we were to have multiple panels or a large panel we'd need to do things differently.


    Last modified: July 23, 2019 12:56 AM | Kevin Donahue