Experienced yachtsmen Chris Tibbs and Don Wright have been declared the winners of this years’ Azores and Back (AZAB) race. Their boat, Taika, crossed the finishing line on 28 June with a fuel ce
ll on board providing auxiliary power.
AZAB is held every four years, and is hosted by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. This year 60 competitors took part in the 2,500 mile race from Falmouth to Azores and back again.
Winning boat Taika had on board an EFOY 2200 supplied by Fuel Cell Systems. The unit is powered by methanol and generates 90W of electricity to power the boat’s navigation and communication equipment.
Winning skipper, Chris Tibbs, said, “Taika is a standard J105 and beat many larger yachts on the water. For the first time she was equipped with a fuel cell that gave us a competitive advantage. Firstly it is important on a race like this to have two ways of generating power and secondly a fuel cell saves on weight in terms of equipment and the amount of fuel that you have to carry. We used 8-9 litres each leg; a considerable weight saving on diesel.
“The great thing I found with the fuel cell was the way you turn it on and can forget about it. No more monitoring the batteries and running the engine to charge them. It gave us constant power to run the yachts systems as
well as autopilot, navigation and communications computer – and a first for me when racing, a fridge!
“Installation was quick and easy and once installed we had plenty of ‘silent’ power. It just works; which is generally rare for yacht equipment and I would highly recommend a fuel cell for any racing or cruising yacht.”
Fuel Cell Systems’ Chief Technical Officer, Tom Chicken said, “We’re delighted that Chris won the AZAB race with the aid of fuel cell technology. And it’s not the first time a fuel cell has helped the win the race. In 2009, Tom Sperrey had an EFOY 1600 on board his boat Nightlife when he won the ARC race in St. Lucia.
“Fuel cells offer a great alternative to diesel generators for providing on board power. They’re small, compact and lightweight, produce no emissions and are virtually silent when operational.”