We had always intended to have a wind-powered generator on Scream, but we only recently were able to install one. We bought our aero4gen at Trotac when we were back in Canada, because we wanted to have a little more power to be able to use our various toys, especially our computers. We also wanted a backup power source in case our solar power fails again, like it did at this time last year.
We had a number of plans to install the wind generator. We would work on one, and then reject it when we discovered flaws. This process took months. In Bahia de Caraquez we procured a pole that fit the wind generator. In Papeete we had a base welded to the pole, and bought some isolation mounts to reduce the vibration. We finally mounted it in Suwarrow. As you can see from the pictures, the generator is on a pole which is bolted to another pole, which is bolted through Scream‘s deck. The two poles are bolted together with rubber isolation mounts that have integral bolt ends. We think that the poles have too much play in them, so we have tied ropes to the other aft pole, and have tied strings as guy wires as extra support. When we arrive in New Zealand we will have a welder do something more permanent. We had a rolly ride to Nuiatoputapu after mounting the generator, and it held up fine, so we are no longer as concerned about its strength.
Many wind generators are quite loud. The three-bladed models popular with North American boats can be heard clearly from a block away. I’m listening to someone else’s wind generator right now. We are quite pleased to report that our aero4gen is silent. Standing five feet away with your eyes closed you can not tell if it is turning or not. We think that it hums in higher (say 20 knot) winds, but we’re not sure.
This wind generator puts out fairly modest amounts of power. Practically, we avoid winds in which it would generate 5 amps, which at 13.5 volts means we’re getting less than 50 watts. Some days we get no power from it at all, most days we average between one and two amps, for say 35 amp hours or 0.4 KWh. This may not seem like a lot, but Scream is efficient with power, and we’re generating about another Kilowatt-hour from our solar. The end result is that we have used our electricity more freely since we installed the generator, and morale onboard has improved in turn.