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Sailing Yacht

Enjoy the sound of silence

Harnessing the power of the wind makes sailing an unforgettable experience. All you want to hear is the sound of the wind blowing and the waves breaking. But what is the best way to power the on-board electronics while the engine and generator are switched off? Victron combines energy storage and solar generation to provide the power you need. In absolute silence.

How much energy do you need for your trip?

Whether you’re sailing away for the weekend or planning a trip around the world, big chance the very same Victron solution could support both. It’s the level of comfort that really determines your optimal solution aboard. With Victron you can power just about any plans, but as an example we illustrated ‘normal’ and ‘heavier’ power profiles in the below for the ‘average’ sailing yacht.

Let's take a look at your Optimal Energy Plan.

Consumption

How much do you need?

A modern sailing yacht is packed with a lot of electrical equipment. Most things used to run the boat usually use DC, bigger (household) appliances need AC. When it comes to estimating power consumption, many just add up the Watts. Time is equally important. A microwave might use 1000 Watts, but only for 2 minutes. A fridge might consume as little as 50 Watts, but is turned on 24 hours a day.

For inspirational purposes we’ve outlined 2 system examples based on ‘normal’ and ‘heavier’ use.

1.2 - 2.4 kWh / day

'normal' and 'heavier' energy consumption.Read more

Read more

Example 1

The microwave uses 1000W an hour but is only on for 2 minutes a day.
1000W / 60 x 2 = 0.3 kWh / day

Example 2

The fridge uses 50W an hour but is on the entire day (actually cooling ½ the day).
50W x 24hrs/2 = 0.6 kWh / day

Storage & conversion

How much energy should be stored?

Storing energy allows you to live of shorepower at sea or lets you use solar power harvested during the day over night. The inverter will convert the stored power to 230V. Sailing yachts typically experience long intervals between battery recharges, so your house battery should have a generous capacity. As a rule of thumb, we’re calculating with 48 hrs on board without shore power shore/engine/generator/solar power. Multiply the daily power consumption x days for even greater independency.

x 2

The storage capacity of a lithium battery should be two times the daily power consumption.

x 4

Due to its ±50% smaller discharge capacity, the storage capacity of a lead-acid battery should be four times the daily power consumption.

Conversion

The inverter should be sized to handle the average load continuously and should match the expected peak power current, which our inverters handle very well (on average 2 x their continuous current).

Generation

Where does the power come from?

All energy must be created before you can use it. Victron lets you combine a range of options. First, there is shore power in the marina. It might be limited to a few Amps, but it is plug and play. While sailing you can use an (extra) alternator on the boat’s engine. Bigger than average yachts use generators (see our other example). However, the noise spoils the fun of sailing. Finally, you can use solar panels to get energy for free.

Sources of power

Inverter/charger
20A - 30A
Alternator
70A - 90A
Solar
160W - 200W

Power profile

Normal and heavier power profiles in kWh, based on the daily energy consumption, which should be in balance with the generation.

Storage batteries in Ah, double the capacity using lead-acid batteries.

Complete system

A closer look

How does the power profile translate into a system? Here is our recommendation for an average sailing yacht.

House battery:

AC devices

You’ll want to bring small devices on board for your trip. Or use household appliances like a microwave. These usually run of an AC outlet. Think of:

  • Phone charger
  • Laptop
  • Television
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave

Being able to plug-in these device saves you the trouble of finding a DC version.

Boat engines

Sailing yachts have one or two diesel engines (Catamarans) to get from harbour to horizon. The engines come with alternators to charge the engine batteries, drive fuel pumps, etc.

Once the starter batteries are recharged, the engines can also power the boat electrics and recharge the house battery. On bigger yachts you’ll find power hungry DC equipment such as anchor windlasses and bow thrusters. The engines have to be running before you can use them.

BatteryProtect

Discharging your battery too far will damage it. Adding a Victron BatteryProtect will disconnect the boat’s electronics when the battery voltage drops below a pre-set level. It will also automatically reconnect everything when the battery is sufficiently recharged.

There is more to a Victron BatteryProtect. The built-in shutdown delay ensures that vital electronics aren’t disconnected in error, i.e. when starting the engine causes a short drop in battery voltage.

Battery Monitor

A battery monitor is like a "fuel gauge" for your battery. It records how much power is consumed and charged. The battery monitor calculates the state of charge, remaining capacity and time till empty. The battery voltage does not give an accurate indication of how full the battery is. A battery monitor does.

Victron battery monitors keep track of historical data, like the number of charging cycles, deepest discharge, highest voltage, lowest voltage and so on. It will alert you to critical conditions such as low voltage or low charge. The smart monitor can even shut down the entire power supply to avoid expensive battery damage.

Choosing a BMV:

  • Choose a BMV 700 battery monitor if you want to monitor the house battery and don’t need a BlueTooth connection.
  • Choose a BMV 702 battery monitor if you want to monitor both the house battery and the starter battery, and you don’t need a BlueTooth connection.
  • Choose a BMV 712 battery monitor if you want to monitor both the house battery and the starter battery via BlueTooth on a smartphone or tablet.

BatteryCombiner

The Cyrix BatteryCombiner is the only safe way to connect the house battery to the starter battery (to start your boat’s engines). With a BatteryCombiner you can charge the house battery from the alternator without running the risk of draining the starter battery (which always should be ready to go). When other sources of power are available (eg. shore/solar/generator power), the Cyrix BatteryCombiner will allow bi-directional charging from the house battery to the starter battery.

When the Voltages of the starter and house batteries are the same, use a Cyrix: its current rating should be equal or bigger than the current rating of the alternator. If the house battery is Lithium and the alternators Amperage is smaller than the house battery, or when the Voltages of the starter and house battery are different: use a Orion or Buck-Boost.

BMS 12/200

The BMS 12/200 is a dedicated battery management system (BMS) that protects Victron Smart 12,8V LFP batteries against deep discharges, overcharging and high temperatures with up to 200 Amps maximum DC current. When critical values are exceeded, the BMS acts immediately: loads are disconnected physically in case of a deep discharge and charging is stopped when there is a risk of overcharging. High temperatures trigger an immediate end to both charging and discharging.

This is the only BMS that can be directly connected to an alternator, protecting them from overload/overheating. This works with a combination of an AB fuse (rated in accordance with the expected max load current of the alternator) and an internal programmable input (which limits the input current electronically to 80% of the AB fuse).

Please check your manufacturer for the maximum charging current of your alternator and size AB fuses of the BMS 12/200 accordingly, see manual.

When different Lithium batteries & higher voltages are used, other solutions are needed, such as the VE.bus BMS and Lynx Ion BMS.

See our bigger boat types to see a bigger Lithium system and BMS See more info on alternator charging Lithium (and not blow them up)

Boat Electronics

A sailing yacht is home to several electronic devices. These are all connected to the house battery. Think of:

  • Boat control panel
  • Log/depth sounder
  • Chart-plotter or GPS
  • Navtex
  • Auto pilot
  • VHF Radio
  • Navigation lights
  • Pumps
  • Windlass
  • Bow thruster
  • Fridge
  • Interior lighting
  • Music player

Cerbo GX

The Victron Cerbo GX is the communication-centre of your boat’s installation, allowing you to always have perfect control from wherever you are and maximises its performance. Simply connect through our Victron Remote Management (VRM) portal, or access directly, using the optional GX Touch 50 screen, a Multi Functional Display or our VictronConnect app thanks to its added Bluetooth capability.

The Victron Cerbo GX is an easy to use visual system. Instantly monitor the battery state of charge, power consumption, power harvest from PV, generator, and mains, or check tank levels and temperature measurements. Easily control the shore power input current limit, (auto)start/stop generator(s) or even set quiet periods to avoid starting the generator in the middle of the night. Change any setting to optimise the system, follow up on alerts, perform diagnostic checks and resolve challenges remotely. The Cerbo GX turns any power challenge into an effortless experience.

Galvanic Isolator

A galvanic isolator prevents electrolytic corrosion. The isolator is mounted directly behind the shore power connector on board. It blocks DC currents that might leak through the shore power earth terminal. These currents can cause corrosion to all metal parts under water, like the hull, propeller, shaft, etc. The galvanic isolator should have the same power rating as the incoming shore power.

It’s a misunderstanding that galvanic corrosion occurs only in metal and aluminium hulls. In fact it can occur on any boat as soon as a metallic part (the shaft and propeller) is in contact with water. Galvanic corrosion will quickly dissolve your sacrificial anodes, and attack the shaft, propeller and other metal parts in contact with water as soon as the boat is connected to the shore-side supply. It might therefore be tempting not to connect the ground conductor: this is however extremely dangerous because Ground Fault Current Interrupters will not work nor will a fuse blow in case of a short circuit to a metal part on the boat.

The safe option is to use a Galvanic Isolator for non-metal smaller boats, or use an isolation transformer for metal boats or boats with bigger systems.

GX GSM Dongle

The Victron GX GSM is a 3G cellular modem that enables GX devices with mobile internet for the system and connection to the VRM Portal, allowing you to monitor your system from remote. When the boat is in range of a 3G network, it will send data to the VRM website and you can monitor the boat from your smartphone. The GSM module adds tracking the boat, recording your trips and putting up a geo-fence around the boat. You will get an alert via mail when the boat travels outside the geo-fence area.

House battery

The house battery stores power for the boat’s electrical system. Sailing yachts typically have long intervals between battery recharges and the house battery should have a generous capacity.

For a house battery you can choose from two types: lead-acid and lithium. There are various reasons to favour one over the other. Here are a few common ones:

  • Choose Lead-Acid when:
  • Use occasionally
  • Lower purchase cost
  • Weight and space are not an issue
  • Normal charging
  • Choose Lithium when:
  • Use daily
  • Lower cost per cycle
  • Weight and space considerations
  • Fast charging

House battery

The house battery stores power for the boat’s electrical system. Sailing yachts typically have long intervals between battery recharges and the house battery should have a generous capacity.

For a house battery you can choose from two types: lead-acid and lithium. There are various reasons to favour one over the other. Here are a few common ones:

  • Choose Lead-Acid when:
  • Use occasionally
  • Lower purchase cost
  • Weight and space are not an issue
  • Normal charging
  • Choose Lithium when:
  • Use daily
  • Lower cost per cycle
  • Weight and space considerations
  • Fast charging

Inverter/Charger

The inverter/charger is the heart of the system. In the marina, it charges the batteries from shore power. While sailing it inverts the energy from the boat’s battery into AC power for household devices. The switch from charging to inverting and from inverting to charging is seamless.

  • Victron inverter/chargers come with a handful of outstanding features:
  • PowerControl: automatically manage battery charging to prevent an overload of the generator or shore power.
  • PowerAssist: uses the battery as a buffer to assist the shore power during peak power demand.
  • Perfect power: even sensitive devices run flawlessly on the pure sine wave power.
  • High peak-power: use motorised equipment without overheating.
  • Low self consumption.

For this power profile we would recommend:

We would recommend our Multiplus-II inverter/charger. If you have a generator on board you’ll need a Quattro inverter/charger, which has an extra input (shore power and generator).

We strongly recommend 24 Volts for new boats. The higher voltage is simply a better choice when it comes to meeting the power demands of a modern sailing yacht. If your boat’s system is based on 12 Volts, select a 12 Volts unit instead.

Shore Power

In the marina, the boat will be connected to shore power. Shore power recharges the batteries. It can also be used for maintenance and to run large AC loads.

Often shore power is limited in how much power you can draw, i.e. just 10 Amps. Berths with higher ratings might not always be available. Victron inverter/chargers allow you set a maximum shore power current. Now you can charge your batteries and turn on any equipment without blowing a fuse.

Sometimes shore power is less than perfect. You might run into voltage drops if you’re at the far end of the harbour. There could also be power surges, which could harm sensitive equipment on board. Victron’s inverter/chargers smooth out these problems and turn bad power into perfect power.

Solar charger

A solar charger- also called MPPT controller, harvests the power from the solar panels to charge the house battery. Solar chargers have the same charging cycles as our regular, fully automatic, battery chargers. When your boat is moored without shore spower, solar power is a great way to keep the batteries charged.

In a marine environment, the performance of solar panels changes constantly. Victron’s solar controllers use ultra fast maximum power point tracking to squeeze up to 30% more power out of your panels.

The rating of the solar charger is defined by the size of the solar panel. For solar panels of less than 150W or less, choose a 75/10 charger. If your solar panel produces between 150 and 220W, pick a 75/15 instead.

See our Solar Calculator to size the solar panels and select a MPPT charger

Solar panel

More and more sailing yachts area equipped with solar panels. After all, they extend the autonomy range without the noise of a diesel engine and… for free. Victron offers a wide range of small, highly efficient, solar panels that are just perfect for boats.

See our Solar Calculator to size the solar panels

Starter Battery

The starter battery is needed to start your boat’s engine. These batteries are different from house batteries and engineered to deal with a large discharge current. The starter battery should always be ready to go. It’s best to isolate the important starter battery from all other electrical circuits on board, so it cannot be accidentally drained of power.

VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle

The Bluetooth dongle enables you to use the VictronConnect app with VE.Direct enabled devices (without Bluetooth built-in). With the app you can have real-time insight and full control, and you can access all VE.Direct enabled devices such as the smaller VE.Direct inverters, the BMV 70x series battery monitors or MPPT solar controllers.

VictronConnect

All Victron products on your boat can be monitored and controlled from the palm of your hand. Just connect the VictronConnect App via BlueTooth and you’ll have direct access to values like battery voltage and current. You can also turn devices on or off, as well as change their settings.

See what the VictronConnect app can do
System examples
Power consumption will vary from yacht to yacht and from owner to owner, even on sailing yachts. Here are two examples - with a normal and a heavier daily energy consumption - of what an Optimal Energy plan for a sailing yacht could look like. Please note that many more factors come into play when designing and installing your optimal solution: your Victron Professional will gladly help you with that.

Normal
Heavier
Sailing boat up till 26-40 ft, with 1-4 sailors on-board
Same or slightly bigger boat but used more intense: longer away from home, more comfort or people on-board
Consumption
Daily energy consumption
1.2 kWh
2.4kWh
Peak power
900 W
2800 W
Storage & inverting
Victron Multiplus
12/500
12/1600
Or Quattro if there is a generator
BatteryProtect
100A
replaced by 12/200 BMS in case of 12,8V Lithium battery
100A
or VE.Bus BMS in case of Lithium-proof Alternator
House battery
220Ah 12V Super cycle AGM or 100Ah - 150Ah 12,8V Lithium
2 x 220Ah 12V Super cycle AGM
or 200Ah 12,8V Lithium (and 12/200 BMS)
BatteryCombiner
Cyrix 120A (alternator depending)
or 12/200 BMS* in case of Lithium 12,8V
Cyrix 120A (alternator depending)
or 12/200 BMS* in case of Lithium 12,8V or Lithium alternative: Argofet battery isolator to Cyrix-Li Charge 120A controlled by VE.Bus BMS
Generation
Alternator
70A - 90A
70A - 90A
Shore power rating 230V
16A
16A
Galvanic Isolator
16A (non-metal boats)
or Isolation transformer 3600VA (metal/alu boats)
16A (non-metal boats)
or Isolation transformer 3600VA (metal/alu boats)
Charging
via Multiplus
via Multiplus
Solar
±160W
±160W
(ideally more if possible)
Solar Charger
(Smart) MPPT 75/15
Adjust according to combined panel voltage
Monitoring
Battery monitor
BMV-712 Smart
BMV-712 Smart
Extensions
Available extensions
Cerbo GX and GX Touch 50
Cerbo GX and GX Touch 50
GX GSM module
GX GSM module
Show full list
Dive into the world of marine energy

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So you can start or continue your journey, wherever you’re headed.