On the one hand, there was no shortage of innovative ideas at this year’s Annapolis show. Among them were the Seascape 27’s clever outboard motor stowage arrangement, push-button belowdecks reel winches on the Island Packet SP Cruiser MK2 and several full-blown distributed power installations using the CZone system from New Zealand.
On the other hand, however, there were also some of the most untidy electrical installations our systems expert, Nigel Calder, had seen in years, several of which did not comply with current ISO and ABYC standards. In fact, Calder suspects some builders laid off too many of their skilled workers during the recession and are now having trouble getting back up to speed.
With this in mind, our systems award this year goes to Morris Yachts’s Ocean Series 48 GT, not for cutting-edge technology (although there were a couple of lithium-ion batteries at the heart of the installation) but for an excellent application of the best of conventional technology in what Calder likes to call a “DC-based boat.” This approach couples a DC generator to a powerful battery bank with a systems monitor that tracks the battery state of charge and automatically starts and stops the generator based on state of charge. All the boat’s AC loads are run off DC-to-AC inverters. The generator is from Fischer-Panda. The lithium-ion batteries and electronics package are from Victron Energy.
In such a system the generator is only run at relatively high loads, close to its peak efficiency. If it can’t be run at these loads, it is shut down. As a result, the generator run hours and maintenance will be a fraction of those with a conventional AC generator installation, with obvious lifestyle benefits and a substantial reduction in fuel consumption. As Calder puts it, “This is the ideal energy solution for a midsize offshore cruising boat, beautifully executed by Morris Yachts.” morrisyachts.com