Offshore Power Management

How to build an energy system that is robust, reliable and up to the rigors of offshore sailing  (published April 2017) For the past 30 years we have been able to meet the challenge of designing reliable offshore power systems that are fully sustainable with the use of wind turbines

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Batteries for Cruisers

Match your batteries to your needs and budget  (published November 2016) Among the cruising fleet of sailors, the topic of onboard energy is a constant staple of cocktail conversation. Every boat has energy issues and every skipper has his or her own priorities and ways of making do. At the

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Green Energy Afloat

To be truly self-sufficient, a cruising boat needs to use solar, wind and water energy to top up the battery bank  (published November 2016) In the first leg of our five year circumnavigation, we sailed and cruised from the East Coast of the U.S. to New Zealand via the Panama

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Smart Charging

Choose an alternator and smart charger to fit your battery bank (published November 2016) Marine engines come with an alternator rated between 50 and 70 amps as standard equipment. This is spec’d to charge the starting battery and does double duty to also charge your house batteries. For most owners

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Water Power

Let your boat's speed through the water charge your battery bank  (published November 2015) Water powered the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when inventors and entrepreneurs discovered that a turning water wheel could be used to drive the machines that can mill lumber, weave cloth and turn lathes. Water power

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Fuel Cell Basics

The future of onboard energy production is here  (published November 2015) Alternative energy sources used to keep our batteries topped up and our amenities running have long been a hot topic amongst cruisers—with almost everyone staunchly defending their own version of what works for them. But as we all know,

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Battery Banter

(published November 2012) Chuck Hawley, West Marine’s  Vice President of Product Development, recently bought an Alerion Express 38 Yawl and is learning how to be a cruiser all over again. Since Chuck is not only a gear expert for our industry, but also in the middle of doing upgrades for

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The Cold Hard Truth about Refrigeration and Batteries

Switching out our old holding plate system for a modern and efficient evaporator plate unit  (published April 2015) During a few weeks of sailing in the Florida Keys, and just when Jill and I thought we were done with the refit and restoration of our Pearson 424 S/V Regina Oceani,

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Bank On It

How to assess and choose the right house batteries for your boat  (published November 2013) We were reaching south halfway between Annapolis and Norfolk when the chartplotter faded and blipped off. I immediately knew the problem, low house batteries, but was puzzled because they were inspected and topped up before

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Energy Saving Tips

As Ben Franklin might say, an amp-hour saved is an amp-hour earned  (published November 2013) Modern cruising boats tend to be well equipped with refrigeration, marine electronics, computers, home entertainment systems, and energy gobbling options like electric winches, watermakers and more. If you are not careful, the daily onboard energy

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