With a Fridge Optimizer tuning your fridge it uses less power than it used to, but it is likely still the most power hungry appliance you have onboard. To keep the batteries charged, cruisers choose from different sources of power; solar, generator, engine, drag-behind generator and wind generator. At Stainless Lobster we love solar. It is quiet (really, no noise at all, compared to other solutions that promise ‘quiet’), and it is always on. If it is sunny. Which it isn’t at night. Our manual gives some tips on how to preserve more of the day-time power by lowering the temperature when the batteries are being charged. This helps a lot, but after a few days of cloudy weather you may still have to top up using an alternative charging method. We don’t like burning fuel to charge batteries, and love to use renewable energy.
We have an older Air X wind generator that we re-installed on our new-to-us boat in 2012. While cruising the west coast of US and Mexico we never understood why people were raving about their wind generators. For us, it was so noisy and didn’t produce much power under 10 kts of wind. 10+ kts was not our idea of a calm anchorage.
Fast-forward to 2017 and we are now on the US east coast and Bahamas. The wind here is almost constant, and a calm anchorage is defined by not having swell or waves. So our “little breezy” was finally earning his spot on the transom, but it was still so very noisy. That’s when we read about the Silent Wind blue blades.
Silent Wind sells their own wind generators, but are also selling their superb blades for other models. With our Air X, the blades fit directly on the hub. Other models require you to replace the hub too. We replaced the blades three weeks ago, and are very impressed by how much less noisy they are. To be fair, it is still audible (not like solar), but we are no longer annoyed by it so it can keep running!