Mastervolt and the Volvo Ocean Race meet the challenge head on

Chosen as the official electrical supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, Mastervolt has risen to the challenge with seven identical systems.

Each yacht is entirely dependant upon electrical power for providing drinking water, communications and to shift the massive canting keels. The technicians at Mastervolt devised a system that was totally geared to the unusual demands of the race, which allowed for only very brief periods of recharging to minimise the fuel being carried for generating power. Mastervolt has been able to ensure that nothing is wasted and delivered a system which exists of 100% off-the-shelf products.

In a single charge cycle every 24 hours, the Volvo D2/56kW engine spins up a pair of 24v 150A Mastervolt alternators. The power from these is poured into a pair of the latest Mastervolt second generation lithium ion Ultra batteries. Cell balancing technology saves every amp by moving the charge from full cells to those still needing energy, rather than dumping it as heat.

With the batteries topped off from a discharge as deep as 86% in less than an hour, the yacht has uninterrupted access to every electrical system, from the B&G navigation instruments to the water ballast pumps and in the most violent of seas. The entire system can be monitored and precisely controlled onboard using the Mastervolt CZone wireless interface. Digital switching technology has removed the need for long (and heavy) cable runs by clustering switches close to the circuits they control and powering them with a common feed. The data cable also connects to the switching modules and forms a shipwide ‘nervous system’ of sensors that the wireless interface links into displaying a raft of data on a screen or an iPad. This gives each yacht’s engineer full control over power consumption and allows the spotting of trends and peaks.

“We always knew that our systems were the best for this task as they have already proven themselves in the harshest regions on earth,” said Bert Jansen, Commercial Leader EMEA, Mastervolt. “However, the success of the Volvo Ocean Race installations has exceeded our expectations. We’ve also been delighted with the way the lithium ion Ultra batteries have stood up to such a punishing charge/discharge regime, especially with the large power surges required to shift the keels. We are equally delighted on the performance of the CZone digital switching and monitoring system that runs through the boats. CZone control enables more functionality and ease of use for the operator.”

Commenting on the ease of control and monitoring, Nick Bice, Head of The Boatyard said, “The wireless interface makes it really easy for teams to keep a check on the power budget. The system is set up to ensure that all critical systems have priority, but so far they have found the batteries have provided everything they need and more, despite the very short chance they have to recharge. Clearly, this is a highly efficient and rugged system, and it’s working really well for all teams and allows for a much more accurate means of monitoring every system upon every boat.”

Ongoing details about the cooperation of Mastervolt and the Volvo Ocean Race can be found at

Further information on Mastervolt products can be found at

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