Contessa 26 and a Rutland 504

heya,

I'm pondering getting a Rutland 504 for my Contessa and was wondering if any one here has this same set up (Contessa and 504) or similar.

  1. Where did you mount it?
  2. Would you change the mounting point if you could?
  3. What problems did you encounter?
  4. Do you regret the purchase?
  5. Does it live up to your charging needs?

FWIW it'll be my primary charger (am hoping to avoid marinas and the need to run the engine) and I'll be running down from the UK to Eastern Med.

I have considered solar but (and I am no expert) was put off by the issues obtaining sunlight (sail/raid/etc shadows and so on). I also considered, very briefly, a towed gen, but again was put off by the impact on speed (the boat's only good for about 5 knots as it is).

Thanks in advance for any responses :)
 

sarabande

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from the Marlec site

"Produces 25 Watts in 19 knots

* That's a very useful nominal 2A @ 12V charge into the battery
* Produces up to 60 Watts, nominally 5 Amps @ 12 Volts
"

Now that does not seem to me to be a hugely useful amount power especially from a device that requires quite a bit of physical management. I would not hesitate to go for a solar setup, where for a similar price (c. £280) you can get an 80W BP or Kyocera solar panel (which, because of clever circuitry design will not suffer greatly from the effects of partial shadow. Solar is especially useful for your proposed destination.


Mounting costs and controllers are the same cost for both systems.
 

dancrane

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I know flexible solar panels are vastly expensive, but if one might assume at least for some time on a cruise, to enjoy the sun's rays on the mainsail, might there be a way to unreef a 'venetian blind' of photo-voltaic opportunity, without waiting for the sails themselves to carry the amp-generating area.

The only Contessa 26 I remember, was one ashore at Bosham in the early 'nineties. Lovely old-school sloop. Big keel! So, I dare to presume the yacht will cope easily with weight aloft? How about putting the Rutland at the masthead? More breeze (less disturbed by surface friction). But you'll need to be handy at mast-climbing.
 

Ceirwan

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The only Contessa 26 I remember, was one ashore at Bosham in the early 'nineties. Lovely old-school sloop. Big keel! So, I dare to presume the yacht will cope easily with weight aloft? How about putting the Rutland at the masthead? More breeze (less disturbed by surface friction). But you'll need to be handy at mast-climbing.

I hope thats a joke!

Apart from the massive wiring run that would have to take up to 8A with little drop, it's weight exactly where you don't want it and I don't thing the generator would cope with vigour's of been hurled around non stop!
 

dancrane

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Vigours, or did you mean rigours?! Sorry, I get critical, when I've had to sit through a royal wedding.

Actually, I was serious. I'm interested to know whether or how intrinsically-robust systems like a wind-dyno, will deal with the rapid reversing G-forces at the masthead.

I don't know why wind-gens are so rarely located at the masthead, considering how their performance generally increases in 'free' air.

I admit I'm inexperienced in this area. You tell me!
 
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sarabande

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it's not only the forces of acceleration and deceleration that are going to probably exceed the design spec of the blades and bearings, but the rapid and frequent change in apparent wind speed and angle at the top of the mast are going to negate the benefits of the increase in 'clear air' velocity.

Hysteresis, or lack of it, is important in wind gennies.
 

dancrane

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I feel like the plump bespectacled twit asking for a kicking in a '20s film, asking this, but:

What, pray tell, is hysteresis?
 

Tranona

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FWIW it'll be my primary charger (am hoping to avoid marinas and the need to run the engine) and I'll be running down from the UK to Eastern Med.

I have considered solar but (and I am no expert) was put off by the issues obtaining sunlight (sail/raid/etc shadows and so on). I also considered, very briefly, a towed gen, but again was put off by the impact on speed (the boat's only good for about 5 knots as it is).

Thanks in advance for any responses :)

Think you will be disappointed with wind power in the Med - lack of wind, and if you are moving around chances are you will be using your engine a lot. Unrealistic to be self sufficient with just wind - unless you are a hermit and eat only tinned food!

First priority is to work out what your consumption is likely to be. Then fit the biggest battery bank you can, then work out the best way of replacing the capacity you use each day.
 

Seajet

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I have a 30 watt flexible solar panel ( around £250 ) and a fair bit of electonics, inc plotter & radar I use in bursts; with a decent battery and a good monitor - my NASA battery monitor is poor -and correctly wired - but others seem to have better luck, personally I'd choose something better - I'd think you'd be fine.

My outboard has a charging coil but I never bother plugging it in.

No moving parts on a solar panel to take fingers or hair off, no bearings to wear out, no vibration & noise throughout the boat, no worries overspeeding in strong winds, works in sheltered ports...
 

semisimple

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... it's weight exactly where you don't want it and I don't thing the generator would cope with vigour's of been hurled around non stop!

I don't know why wind-gens are so rarely located at the masthead, considering how their performance generally increases in 'free' air.

The other issue with having too much weight aloft is it reduces the boat's angle of vanishing stability, so if you're going to be in conditions where the yacht may be capsized you reduce the chance of the yacht coming back up as quickly as it would do otherwise.

Bit of an extreme case but perhaps a good reason not to put something heavy up there.
 

sarabande

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dancrane - it's the delay between a cause (change in wind speed or angle) and its effect (output voltage).

Easily seen in choppy water conditions with a 'sticky' wind sensor when the meter (knots and angle) do not match your own perceptions.
 

V1701

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Over the last year living aboard in Brighton I had a cheap 40 watt solar panel (bought for £105 off ebay, same can now be had for £90 or £95) and a Rutland 913. Pound for pound the solar panel won hands down. I have a different boat now and though I will be fitting a 504 (for no other reason than I got it in return for helping someone out, otherwise wouldn't bother) and two solar panels, one on the hatch garage, probably 60W and another probably 30W on a pole at the stern that will allow me to adjust the position in two planes to set it to whatever angle the sun is at. I will get masses more benefit from the solar than the 504...
 

dancrane

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I read, and learn, and save £££ as I learn, so I thank you.

It's nice, to hear so much of solar panels' performance. I'm surprised and somewhat saddened to hear, both here and elsewhere, that wind-generated amps are less easily gathered. I'd have expected that the Rutland was a source of collection with few rivals.
 

RobF

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heya,

I'm pondering getting a Rutland 504 for my Contessa and was wondering if any one here has this same set up (Contessa and 504) or similar.

  1. Where did you mount it?
  2. Would you change the mounting point if you could?
  3. What problems did you encounter?
  4. Do you regret the purchase?
  5. Does it live up to your charging needs?

FWIW it'll be my primary charger (am hoping to avoid marinas and the need to run the engine) and I'll be running down from the UK to Eastern Med.

I have considered solar but (and I am no expert) was put off by the issues obtaining sunlight (sail/raid/etc shadows and so on). I also considered, very briefly, a towed gen, but again was put off by the impact on speed (the boat's only good for about 5 knots as it is).

Thanks in advance for any responses :)

Speaking from a bit of experience... I installed a Rutland 504 last year with the HRDI controller, mounting pole and stays. Boat is 20 foot, but about the same LWL as a Contessa 26. My responses are:-

  1. I mounted it in the port aft quarter with the mounting pole attached to the stern of the boat and the mounting stays attached to the coaming
  2. I wouldn't change the mounting - it fits there very nicely and is out of the way.
  3. I encountered several problems. The vane is far too small (IMHO) which means that if you get any vortices off the sail, the thing spins through 360 degrees on the lateral plane every 6 seconds. This results in a rapid decrease in rotor speed and corresponding loss of generated power. I rectified by making my own vane using the original as a template, but doubling the length of each side (effectively doubling the surface area). Initial indications are that this has worked. The stays are quite expensive and I couldn't use them for fixing onto the coaming. In the end I used a pair of dinghy gudgeons with a clevis pin between them
  4. I don't regret the purchase - I'm ambivalent about it. I think it has potential but I don't think I'm realising that potential - although see below point. I would note that having paid £300 for the 504, £150 for the HRDi controller and £100 each for the mounting pole and stays, I could have bought a nice £80w solar panel array on it's own mounting at the aft of my boat and still had some money left. This would be my recommendation. If you're not sure what I mean, have a look at most of the mini Transats
  5. It doesn't live up to my charging needs. On a sail, the generator doesn't work because it keeps spinning laterally though 360 degress. In the marina, the generator doesn't work as it's pretty sheltered and needs at least 15 knots of wind before it shows any charge. I don't fancy being constantly moored / anchored in a force 4 to get 0.5AH of charge!

Hope this helps you with your decision.
 

dancrane

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Sounds like valuably damning evidence, RobF.

I can't quite believe the wind's power is so grossly second-rate, but perhaps someone with Rutland's comercial interests at heart will point us to a different outlook. Not having spent much yet, my mind is open.
 

RobF

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This is the kind of thing I was thinking of. This said, it's not a bad thing to have a look at some of the mini transat footage on Youtube :)
 
last year I did a 17,000 motorbike journey which involved loads of planning...this new adventure of mine is turning out to be the same :)

I started this thread fairly determined to use wind power, was disuaded from, or at least persuaded to consider other options. I also created my own, very poor, power requirement and option analysis spreadsheet to facilitate my decision making process (see link).

My conclusion, by no means final, is that based on a journey of one year, assuming a requirement to run the engine at least one hour per day (30 min entering and 30 minutes exiting harbours etc) I have no requirement, financal or electrical, to supplement my current charging capability.

I'm also of the opinion (based on my poor analysis) that wind (a 60w gen) produces about the same power as a 60w solar panel based on availability of drivers (sun vs wind).

Thanks again to all that responded, I figured I'd post what may be my final conclusion. Maybe the numbers are wrong, maybe even the conclusion but I figure the methodology (cost vs benefit) is about right. Maybe others can benefit (although they'd have to have even less experience than I which would be pretty tough )

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0Bxu_vCPtzWwsYTkzODFmMTAtYTIwOC00NzgzLWJlZjYtOTRiYTQ3NTVmN2I5&hl=en&authkey=CMC3l5sN
 

Tranona

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Sounds like valuably damning evidence, RobF.

I can't quite believe the wind's power is so grossly second-rate, but perhaps someone with Rutland's comercial interests at heart will point us to a different outlook. Not having spent much yet, my mind is open.

Generating usable electricity from wind has been one of the cons of the century. It only exists because government spends your hard earned cash subsidising it to make itself look good! The same flawed principle applies to generating eletricity from wind at a micro level on boats or for individual households. Inefficient and unreliable. Difficult to handle when the current methods are the exact opposite.
 

dancrane

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It certainly sounds like wind-power comes a poor second to solar. Though, if there were no photo-voltaic alternative, I believe the facility to extract even a little power from the wind, would seem well worth pursuing.

The fact that we buy vessels whose primary propulsion is wind, (and the fact that we often accept severe compromise in these boats' design, in order to allow its use), proves to my mind that we aren't always persuaded by the entirely obvious, most efficient solutions.

If, moored at dusk in a UK harbour on a windy winter evening, I knew my batteries were down on power, I'd enjoy reflecting that while I snored (and the solar panel lay inert), the batteries would be picking up amps from the spinner on a pole.

This thread's basis, on using the Rutland in the Mediterranean summer, was perhaps bound to put it at a disadvantage. I'd be surprised, if use in the less agreeable UK climate would still put wind so far behind solar.

Academic, really though...I'll always make damned sure I have both! :)
 
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