Wharram Builders and Friends

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We installed the Air X Marine wind generator on our Tiki 46 seven years ago and it has been the main source of electric power on Peace IV ever since.  I was reluctant to buy a wind generator because many years ago our friends had a Wind bugger and a blade broke and slit the throat of their son and killed him within minutes.  He had played with our children when they were growing up so it was a hard loss for all of us.  But we needed electricity for our boat so we bought the Air X Marine and hoped we would be safe.


Three days ago, we were sailing in 20 knots of reaching winds here in Bahamas and one blade fell off of the Air X Marine landing with a bang within just a couple of feet of three people sitting in the cockpit.  Our Air X Marine is on a strong alloy pole well supported from the aft crossbeam.  We all love a reaching wind, but that puts the blades aimed right for us where we have to be near the helm and sheets and halyards. 


This is a pretty smart group of people here on the Wharram Builders and Friends net, and I am wondering what you all think about our situation.  What have you heard or experienced about the safety of wind generators in general and blades that fall off in particular?


The Air X Marine people have always treated us right and we think they are good folks and the product has been satisfactory up until the moment that blade headed my way.


Currently we have a rope on the Air X Marine stopping the remaining two blades from turning it in the stronger winds we sometimes get here in Bahamas.  A lot of people are noticing it and come over to ask about it.  The remaining bit of the third blade is still up there.  Blades are held on by two screws and our blade broke between those two screws.  We have written to the company and are awaiting a reply.


I am perhaps even more interested in the independent replies of our friends here on the Wharram Builders and Friends website.


Thank you for your thoughts,   Ann and Nev   

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A friend installed a new Hornet wind generator on his boat and the wind was around 20 knots he thought all right the battery's will be up soon, so went up to get some groceries came back and it was dark went inside and thought I can't hear it running! went out side and blood and feathers all over the deck, no more seagull !!
Maybe there best on top of the mast!! or in a cage like the swamp boats in Florida.. Vern
We woke this morning and wondered about removing our Air X Marine wind generator which is on a stout pole on the starboard side of the aft crossbeam and leaving the pole in place. We have never fixed the radar which is on a similar stout pole on the other end of that same crossbeam and we have been ok without it sailing more in southern waters the past three years. These poles could be the start of a solar panel array which would produce electricity silently and not in a life threatening manner.

What we had hoped for when building this large Wharram was a good life at sea living quietly in lovely anchorages. That dream is reality and we do not want to be killed or maimed and have the dream ended at this point. Seven years of cruising and living aboard full time on a Tiki 46 is a good start, we think.

Replacing the blades on the Air X Marine is a high expense. Inspecting the blades every 6 months is a big chore way up there for us old folks. I think there is a better way of life without the Air X Marine. We will make no moves yet because we have not yet heard from the company, but that is the way we are leaning at this point.

Ann and Nev
My two cents worth...
I sailed on a Kelsell Cat to Mozambique and Madagascar from South Africa in 1996. It had a wind generator fitted. After the first night off the Mozambique coast (in 40 to 50 knots wind), we "tied the beast down" because of the noise it created. The power output was so low it was not worth having. Other than mauling a number of fishing rods, I don't recall any other horrific incidents like you describe, but I know the beast was taken off after the trip and replaced with solar panels.
When I lived on board my Tangaroa, many cruising yachties had similar experiences with noise and low power output, and hence removed or sold their wind generators. One item which was more popular was the wind generator which could also be towed (I forget the brand/ name), as this provided a better charge, and no noise. ~ Carl
I have found that solar panels do the job (admittedly I have been on boats that do not have fridges etc. so power consumption was relatively low).

Coming across the Atlantic on Cool Change one of the batteries went dead and the panels were able to get enough charge induring the day for it to last the night. On our Tiki 30 in the UK we have a panel on each cabin roof which have met our needs except when we are running the autohelm which would cut out. If we have the opportunity we top the batteries up using an ordinary deep cycle leisure battery charger.

For this season we are adding a forgen for wind driven trickle charging: it has no blades so is safe to mount low and you can stick your fingers in to it without coming to any harm.

I have seen a wind generator that works by vibrating a band between some magnets I was looking at some do it yourself type place for wind power they don.t look to big and I don.t know if it would work for boats but no blades to throw something to check out
We had hoped to be living with minimal use of gasoline and that is why we decided on the wind generator and solar panels and sails. All renewable natural, and organic! But the Honda 1000 uses very little gasoline. That is what we are planning for the immediate future. We do have the fridge, we do use the computer, and we will get all LED lights for sailing and cabins. We do use the autohelm. These gadgets help oldsters stay in the game. Thanks for all the good ideas and help.
I still have to install ours. We will probably just use it at anchor and the blades will be going perpendicular to the boat at the stern.

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