We finally managed to purchase the Aquair 100 hydro generator.
It took us a lot longer than expected as the company first moved from the UK to Ireland and then went bankrupt. Luckily enough, we managed to get one of the few remaining ones on the European market and just brought it to the US this week.
The nice thing about the hydro generator is the fact that it generates about as much power as our solar panel at peak times (as long as the boat moves with our average cruising speed of 5-6 knots) – but for 24 hours a day, nut just around noon when the sun shines the brightest. It also charges when sailing downwind – which a wind generator does not do so well. It also does not make any noise. However, it does slow the boat down a bit, but insignificantly.
This was needed as we will be using more electricity during our upcoming transatlantic tour due to a lot of additional equipment, such as numerous iPads, laptops, AIS, Bluetooth speakers etc, plus the need to run the fridge on lower temperature to keep the food longer,…
While there are much more efficient units on the market these days, we decided to go with this model as it is simple, proven technology (on the market for decades), and certainly relatively cheap (but still pricey) – but mostly, because the high degree of flexibility as to where to mount it.
With our Aries and solar panel mounted to/above the stern, we needed to find a way to navigate the back of the boat and get the generator into the water. The Aquair with the rope seemed to fit our needs the best.
The unit consists of the turbine, that we tow behind the boat. It is connected via a rope to the generator. That in turn is wired to the battery charge controller, which in turn is connected to the batteries.
The case for the controller is a lot larger than expected, but we found a space where we can fit it. As the distance from the controller to the batteries is more than 2m, we will have to also use sensing wire (to tell the controller the charging state of the batteries).
A deck connector and ammeter is ordered and installation is scheduled for this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.