This paper validates a simulation model that couples an electrical model in Simulink with a hydrodynamic vortex-model by comparing with experimental data. The simulated system is a vertical axis current turbine connected to a permanent magnet synchronous generator in a direct drive configuration. Experiments of load and no load operation were conducted to calibrate the losses of the turbine, generator and electrical system. The power capture curve of the turbine has been simulated as well as the behaviour of a step response for a change in tip speed ratio. The simulated results agree well with experimental data except at low rotational speed where the accuracy of the calibration of the drag losses is reduced.