When we bought Artemis there was an Aquair generator at the bottom of one of the lockers. Getting this working again has been on the “todo list” since we left but was never priority number one as we mostly have enough power from the wind generator and the sun. Now however, with a few long journeys ahead of us, the time had come to get it plugged in and earning its keep.
The generator is designed to work as either a towed generator or a wind generator. The basic housing is the same and you change out the wind vanes or the towed propeller as needed. We currently have it affixed to the stern of the boat and operating in “water mode”.
A long rope is attached to the axis of the generator and streamed behind the boat. At the far end there is a torpedo shaped weight with an integrated propeller. As we sail along the propeller turns the rope which drives the generator.
The Aquair produces a 12 volt output so we have it connected it straight in to the battery. Originally we thought we needed a regulator but recently a long time user of the system rightly pointed out that if the onboard systems are using roughly the same as the generator is producing, then you can’t overcharge the batteries. With our fridge switched on we use roughly the three to four amps that are being generated.
Above about 12.7 volts our house batteries and engine starter battery automatically switch together so we then have over three hundred amp-hours of capacity. Even if the generator was to produce six amps, that would still only be a charging current of 2%. I doubt if the batteries would even notice it.
Forty eight hours after leaving port, we still have three fully charged batteries and a cold fridge. It looks like the towed generator is the perfect complement to our solar and wind systems.