Space available for batteries has shrunk but more power is wanted

 The Vendée Globe yacht Bateau des Métiers skippered by Arnaud Boissières was powered by Saft batteries The Vendée Globe yacht Bateau des Métiers skippered by Arnaud Boissières was powered by Saft batteries

Technology is more affordable now than it was just a few years’ ago with the chemistries used in batteries still developing.

Sailors, particularly those who are racing, want satellite communications systems that provide voice, fax and high-speed data.

They want radar so they can ‘see’ in poor visibility and they want weather and navigation stations providing real-time information and they want power for the winches and other deck equipment.

And while the power consumption of these instruments has decreased, so has the space available for the batteries that provide the power also shrunk.

“It’s not always easy to ask for space,” says Saft’s account manager for the marine segment, Jayesh Vir. “The last thing on the mind of the boat builder is to provide more space.

“If people do not have a plug-in facility they need to exist on batteries alone so batteries should be able to provide the power required when it is wanted.”

This was the case with the Vendée Globe yacht Bateau des Métiers, skippered by Arnaud Boissières that was powered by Saft batteries.

“We designed the packs by connecting the cells in series and in parallel to build up a battery system to meet the requirements of the electronic systems on board,” said Mr Vir.

“Batteries have to be good enough for users’ needs. We’re moving to more capacity but in a more compact battery that occupies less space.”

He added: “We’re using chemistries that were not available 20 years’ ago but are now coming in. I can see batteries coming that are 25% smaller in volume but provide the same power.”

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