woensdag 19 juni 2013

First Efoy experience: Great piece of equipement during an ocean race

Hi, we recently purchased an Efoy Comfort 140 via Huib Swets in the Netherlands and I would like so share my experiences with you. Firmware 15.09, operating time 505 hours.
In a one-liner: The Efoy is like the mobile phone of the nineties: you didn't know you needed it, after you have it, you never want without it.
We use the Efoy to run our 30 foot sailing yacht Spirit, a Corby 30. As I am writing this I am racing in the OSTAR 2013. The OSTAR is a singlehanded transatlantic sail race form Plymouth in the UK to Newport, Rhode Island USA. Distance to be sailed around 3500 nautical miles. Duration 24 days. You can imagine the need for reliable power in this race. During this race we consume around 3 to 4 amps per hour. Main consumers are autopilot, AIS, VHF, RTE, chart plotter, running lights, Eberspacher heater and charging of mobile equipment like an IPad, camera's and iridium phone.
Traditional set up replaced by an Efoy Comfort 140.
In the traditional set up we had 2 105 amps AGM batteries charged by the Yanmar Diesel engine. The engine needed around 3 hours running per day to keep the batteries up. This had several disadvantages. Firstly running an engine for charging only is not good for the engine. Secondly with a light displacement boat the cooling water inlet comes above the water line which causes cooling problems. Further it is noisy and it is heavy. Let me explain more about the weight which is utterly important on a small light displacement yacht.
Weight reduction.
On a 25 day race the engine would use 25 x 3 liters of fuel, which is approx 65 kg. The two batteries are 32 kg each. By installing the Efoy we replaced one of the batteries by the Efoy. The Efoy consumed less than 25 liters methanol during the race. The weight for the Efoy is 7kg. The weight of the methanol is approx 21kg. And we saved one battery of 32 kg. That totals a weight reduction of: 69 kg!
Ease of use.
The only thing needed is changing the cartridges when the Efoy asks for it. That is a job that can be done when it suits you as the battery will keep the boat running for a couple of hours. Changing of the cartridge is easy, no methanol can leak out, which is very pleasant at a boat smashed around in waves (compare this with refilling the fueltank with diesel from jerrycans in heavy weather: fuel all over the place!) Further it produces water. I used a little plastic water bottle to collect the water, needs to be emptied twice a day. A bigger bottle would be easier. An alarm that helps you reminding to empty the bottle would be welcome, it is easily forgotten. The Efoy is so silent you easily forget the fuel cell. In a very silent harbour with no wind at all you might be able to hear it when you are focused. When sailing you just don't hear it
My body has serious problems to keep up in this boat as it is banging around and smashed around on the waves. We had 45 knots of wind. That causes very rough movements in a 2.5 ton boat. The Efoy had been running without any problem. One of the cartridge caused a problem because the fuel suction hose came of the cap in the cartridge. Mounting the cartridge upside down still made it possible to use the cartridge. Longer term reliability obviously is not known yet.
Suggestions for further improvement.
Solve the problem with the cartridge suction hose. Apply an alarm to remind you to empty the water bottle. Make the display more rugged. It works well, but gives the feeling that it is easily broken when you stick your finger through the display, a realistic thing to happen on a smashing boat in heavy whether. It is a bit flimsy now.
Consumption data:
Cartridge 1: 4,5 day, 900 miles sailed
Cartridge 2: 5 days, 850 mile
Cartridge 3: 4,5 day, 700 mile
Cartridge 4: 4,5 day, 600 mile (the one upside down, not totally empty)
Cartridge 5: in use now. A total distance of around 3500 miles is expected, with less than 5 cartridges used.
When there are any questions about my experiences, please mail me at jac@gogospirit.com and I will respond when I am back.
Best regards,
Jac Sandberg on board of Spirit, www.gogospirit.com

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