While we cruisers might not be sailing at quite the same caliber as these round-the-world racers, we can still learn a thing or two from their commitment to living “off the engine” and using sustainable practices.
The Eco 60s competing in the VELUX 5 OCEANS boast four sources of power: the engine, wind generators, solar panels and hydro-generators. However, with a strong emphasis on sustainability in this edition of the VELUX 5 OCEANS, skippers go to great lengths to rely as much as they can on wind and solar power as sustainable forms of producing electricity. It’s all part of the race’s “green” scheme Taking on the Elements, a commitment by all the race stakeholders to understand and improve the impact the event has on the world.
“Using the engine is really the last resort for us,” said Active House skipper Derek Hatfield. “There are some circumstances where I don’t use the engine to power the boat at all. During ocean sprint one I used it for less than 20 percent of my power. The wind generator is really the main source of power onboard these boats. Running the engine produces about 80 amps an hour but it burns lots of fossil fuels. My wind generator on Active House produces 12 to 14 amps per hour. I only use seven amps an hour so the wind generator provides everything I need. Solar panels produce another three or four amps an hour on top of that. Providing there is wind, and or sun, I don’t need to run the engine at all.”
There are, of course, times at sea when conditions are not perfect for the creation of sustainable power. But the VELUX 5 OCEANS skippers are dedicated to reducing their consumption of and reliance on fossil fuels, so every step is taken to minimize their usage.