In advance of Yachting Monthly's February special on long distance cruising power, Chris Fuller reports from Little Blue, in mid-ocean during the ARC race

Chris Fuller’s Dufour 34 Little Blue is making good progress in the ARC race. At midday today, her position was N 20° 42′, W 31° 36, leaving her 1,725 miles to go to reach St Lucia after a day’s run of 113 miles.

We spoke to Chris (bottom left) and his crew (Kevin Richards and Barbara Czoch) before they left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and asked them about power consumption: how they limited consumption and how they plan to generate more. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at power consumption in the ARC fleet in the February issue of Yachting Monthly but for now, here are Chris’ thoughts on power, sent from mid-ocean on 30 November:

Those at Yachting Monthly (free magazine in the post they promised me), have asked us to provide feedback on our electric consumption during our passage and for those of you who maybe interested in doing the same next year or the year after, here are my best tips to date:

1. We purchased some LED battery operated lights for the cabins, heads and galley. As this will save several Amps a day (one 10W bulbs pulls 1A when on, there are 18 on my boat). They’re not very bright for reading, but for filling the log, cooking and dressing they work very well.

2. LED bulbs in nav lights, these are expensive at ?44 each but reduce our demand on consumption by over three times. This has allowed us to run our fridge on max since we left.

3. The Hydrovane (self steering system) has allowed us not to use the autopilot, by allowing us to steer by the wind. I have not mastered all aspects of the Hydrovane, but downwind sailing I’ve got it pretty sorted. On day one and two we did use the Raymarine ST60 autopilot and our power drain was not excessive.

4. The DuoGen, to date I have not had much luck with this piece of equipment. Let me explain, from the UK to Portugal we did, like so many others, have to motor all the way. From Portugal to Canaries we had problems with our batteries (only got them sorted four days ago). So we have only had the last three days to go on. And even at an average speed of four and a bit knots at present it would appear to be keeping us topped up very well. I feel that when we get to the trade winds and double our speed and some more, we will be buzzing with electricity.

To follow the ARC fleet, visit
To read blogs from the fleet, visit