Based on my energy usage projections I needed to generate some 80-100 Ah/Day of energy without using the engine. I was looking for Wind to generate about 40-50Ah, so wanted something powerful but also quiet. Typically the wind generator would be running 24X7 and didn’t want it to be noisy.
SSCA has a great equipment survey and when it came to wind generators the KISS was rated as one of the best by cruisers. So it was an easy decision to buy it. I quickly found out why it is called KISS. It was made in Trinidad and basically an alternator and a on/off switch, no regulator or anything like that.
Prepping the pole by attaching the end fittings.
I installed the pole as aft and high as I could to prevent any injury from someone standing on the deck. I used rubber seats where the pole and struts attached to the deck to prevent the vibration coming through. This was above my aft cabin as well, so want to make sure I could sleep 😉
Next was the wiring and installing the simple on/off switch. This then went straight into the house battery with a fuse in between.
The KISS wind generator working away during a passage. It worked really well and never broke down.
Total cost: Total cost was around $1o00 for wind generator, poles and wiring.
Total project time: It took one weekend.
Update in 2012 after 13,000 miles of sailing.
A wind generator is a must have in the trade winds of the north and south pacific, it delivered majority of the energy because it ran 24X7. When the wind really picked up I had to shut it down and tie the blades. It can get really noisy with high winds. I think some of the newer generators are quieter than the KISS now, so would definitely consider them next time.
Stops only had a 29 gallon diesel tank which didn’t give her much of a range if we hit a long patch of no wind in the doldrums. Also diesel wasn’t that easy to come by in the south pacific so I knew I needed the ability to carry more. Jerry cans would be an option but I needed to double the capacity of the boat and didn’t have space for a whole lot of Jerry cans on deck. So I started looking into adding a second tank. As it happens I wasn’t using the second head on the boat and didn’t need the holding tank that came with it.
So my plan was to remove it an replace it with a diesel tank! Easier said than done 🙂
I tried getting an off the shelf diesel tank to see if it could fit in the space but the hose fittings need to be horizontal 🙁
So the only option was to get a custom made tank to fit in the space. I found a great company (RDS) that would make a aluminum tank to whatever size and shape I wanted. I send them over a sketch with a design that tried to use up all the space I had. They quickly turned that around with a engineering drawing that gave me a max capacity at 23 gallons for the space.
The nozzles to the diesel intake as well as those to connect to the engine were critical to get right. We had a lot of back and forth. Finally it arrived. It was around $520 to manufacture, which I wasn’t bad for a custom diesel tank.
To protect the tank I glued on some plastic slats to the bottom, figured they would help with all the bumping around. I then bolted it into place with the L fittings I had them weld on.
Next I installed a new diesel fuel fill nozzle on deck.
Then connected new hoses for the fuel intake and the vent. I reused the vent from the holding tank which was the same fitting the existing diesel tank used.
The last step was putting a T-junction and a tap on the engine diesel lines that allowed me to select between either tank. This was made easy with the primary diesel tank being so close.
The final final step involved filling the second tank and checking for leaks. I bled the lines and ran the engine on the secondary tank for a few days. Worked really well! All in all the total cost was under $1000, so well worth doing.
On the big trip I carried two diesel jerry cans on deck to give me a total capacity of 62 gallons and a range of 400 miles. That really came in handy on the pacific crossing where I had to motor for nearly 300 miles in the doldrums!