Hot yacht: APS marine alternators power stellar performance

by Brandy Welvaert

Once in a while, APS gets the chance to provide power for some pretty awe-inspiring applications.

Recently we learned that APS large-case, high output alternators were used on Hugo Boss, a top-tier racing yacht expertly sailed by Briton Alex Thomson to take second place in the 2016-2017 Vendee Globe.

Hugo Boss (left) is shown here in Barcelona in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Estrella Damm Fotos via Wikimedia Commons)

Often termed the “Everest of Sailing,” the Vendee Globe has three parameters: Competitors must make it around the world alone, without stopping, and without assistance.

Even among world-class skippers who attempt the race, failure is far more common than finishing.

In fact, since the race’s inception in 1989, only 71 of a total 166 entrants have completed the course.

It is, frankly, impossible for most mortals.

The map above shows the route of the Vendee Globe, which begins and ends in France. (Map courtesy Flappiefh via Wikimedia Commons)

Men like Bruce Schwab, however, are drawn to the do-or-die challenge.

Schwab is a longtime APS customer and owner of OceanPlanet Energy, Inc., a company that provides energy storage and charging systems for marine applications—including racing boats and cruising yachts.

Schwab is also the first American ever to finish the Vendee Globe.

“I have a unique perspective on the high demands of the event,” he says. “It gives us here at OceanPlanet Energy real pride to support both high-race boats like Hugo Boss along with the high-energy demands of large cruising yachts.”

OceanPlanet depends on APS high output alternators for both of those applications, and in both cases, size and continuous output matter.

“The highest continuous output for a given alternator size is important for most of our applications. Also, the ability to charge at that high output without overheating when charging lithium batteries is especially important,” he says.

For Hugo Boss, OceanPlanet provided Lithioincs lithium batteries in a special, small, redundant configuration, and they replaced the original Balmar alternators with APS high output alternators because APS alternators charge the batteries more quickly without overheating them—an important part of maintaining on-board power and safety.

“The ability of the new (APS) HPI series to run at high output is truly impressive. Our clients hardly believe us when we tell them we can fit that much power into the stock alternator position,” says Schwab, who works closely with APS National Sales Manager Jim Dunlap.

Dunlap manages a broad portfolio of commercial clients whose power requirements span a diverse array of vehicles and applications, from work trucks and buses to marine and alternative energy. (If you’re a skipper—or anyone else in need of unparalleled high output alternators, for that matter—you can reach Jim directly by e-mail or phone.)

As for the Vendee, the next race begins Nov. 8, 2020.

Once we know whether Hugo Boss will be in the running, APS alternator in tow, we’ll post about it here.