Preview: Worldwide Classic Boat Show Presentation – Electric Propulsion & Solar Cruising

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The future is now – three pros talk about the actualities of cruising with the power of the sun.

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15 Responses So Far to “Worldwide Classic Boat Show Presentation – Electric Propulsion & Solar Cruising

  • Avatar

    Roger Smith says:

    Good topic, and very interesting.
    I saw a comparison of a Mercury ev small outboard and a similar epropulsion. The latter was lighter and performed well.

    A boater doing the Loop purchased a three hp epropulsion for his dingy. He and his partner like it a lot. Very quiet.
    Battery detaches easily for charging in the main cruiser. Solar charging at times. Battery charging and or main engine charging. They have two batteries. One always charged and ready.
    The Merc ev had good points too such as a three blade prop.

  • Avatar

    Gene Porter says:

    Solar output/sq ft may continue to increase slowly, but my hope is the the rapidly (??) emerging new battery technology will really permit me to have a 20 foot classic hull that can cruise all day at 5 knots on Lake George/Champlain.

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    valery gaulin says:

    I played year ago with model airplaned propeller with a minn kota 50lb trust on a on a 29 foot ultra slim hull shape. I was able to get around 8 knots of GPS speed. The key for them to work is the match the Reynold number to your propeller speed. The main problem is weeds get caught into them and makes it very pratical! Just a small weed and ddrag goes way up and battery way down…

  • Dave - SeaStorm Marine Australia

    Dave - SeaStorm Marine Australia says:

    What a great brains trust to listen to!
    We are just at the start of the move to electric boating.
    But boats are so power hungry as speed increases.
    So electric may never be suitable for the brute force and ignorance inclined boaters.
    Sailors, rowers, kayakers, the quiet ones, they will be the adopters of electric.

  • Avatar

    Felix Graham-Jones says:

    Really an excellent panel discussion. In combination with the interview with Electric Philosophy’s owners opened my mind to a whole range of possibilities. Thank you Steve and OCH!

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    Neil Henderson says:

    Very interesting video. I have an electric outboard for my Iain Oughtred designed Gannet and I love it – so quiet !!
    But, they are cripplingly expensive still and will only run at full power for 1 hour.

    So, I think we need these small groups of pioneers to keep on running – and keep pushing the developers/designers of new technology to give us boaters the solutions we need. The ability to run all day & cruise at 5 knots.That’s what I need.

    Regards Neil

  • Stephen Barnett

    Stephen Barnett says:

    Thank you Steve for this panel, Great insights and ideas!!!

  • Avatar

    Eric J Nelson says:

    I currently sail a 36 foot Islander with 10kw electric 48v motor, it is underpowered for sure. I thought this discussion openly and honestly discussed all the goods and bads. I had the opportunity to take out a sailboat with a diesel engine and I LOVED the power, speed and range….., but then I offered to winterize it….that sucked! There is a good way to go on these, but the pluses are fantastic. I love that I can cruise all winter with no need to winterize.

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    Kit Laughlin says:

    Sincere thanks for organising, shooting, and editing this presentation, Steve. There are a huge number of data points available here. “Solar sailing” is a beautiful term and I would like to hear it used more often and certainly I will use it from now on. So much to think about.

    I would like to know more technical details about the battery and engine installation on Electric Philosophy, as I posted on the other video’s comments, but these two videos together are a wonderful start to what I believe will be regarded as the next frontier in boating. Thanks again.

  • Avatar

    Julian Kuffler says:

    Very much enjoyed the four way discussion after the interview on Electric Philosophy. I learned a lot.
    If I were in my 30’s looking forward instead of 70’s looking forward, I would build a solar powered sailing catamaran and leave the diesel in the ground. Instead I will continue to sail my comfortable monohull with enough solar to keep the batteries topped off. When and If the diesel dies I hope to have the patience of coastal schooner captains. They always had a destination for their cargo but if the wind died on an ebbing tied, they anchored till the flooding tide would carry them further up the bay.

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    Barry Sherwood says:

    Joe’s comments re prop design remined of Sewell’s efficient prop design – large diameter, thin blades so more water pushed slower – good work by the designers and builders of “electric philosophy” and “wayward sun”

  • Avatar

    George Conbeer says:

    Great video. I also watched the accompanying video on Electric Philosophy. What an impressive boat. I heartily recommend they follow up on their plan to do the Great Loop. The boat will be perfect.
    However, my conclusion is the same as Sam Devlin’s. The owners of that boat are brave pioneers with the resources to do what they wanted. While there was no cost information given, I don’t think they made an economic decision to get a boat for their expressed purpose.
    As way of example, I’ve done the Great Loop in a 1988 40 ft twin engine semi-displacement cruising boat. Our fuel costs were about $15K while averaging 8.75 knots over 125 sailing days of about 55 miles per day. Fuel costs were about $4 per gallon when we did the Loop. After refitting the boat with a decent size house battery bank and solar panels, we could anchor out for 2-3 days without running the generator if we didn’t need AC or heat. Our refrigeration was DC. The boat, including the electrical system upgrades (batteries, new alternator, solar panels and battery monitor system) cost about $90K. Maintenance costs were about $2,000 for a year. Admittedly, any major engine repair would add several thousand for each event. After five years of ownership, we sold the boat this past Spring for $87,000 net.
    So, I think we have a way to go before “electric sailing” will be a big part of the market.

  • Avatar

    Jim Kramer says:

    Where are we in being able to reduce the size of the solar panels and still produce the same power?

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    Philip McLean says:

    I’m looking to retire to a boat, and conversations like this one start to define what is possible, what is probable and what is available now.

    It really seems like a Great Loop cruiser is an extremely good fit for solar cruising, since plugging in is so readily available and speed is not crucial to success or safety. Bridge height and draft are excellent given the catamaran layout, as are comfortable accommodations combined with the boat handling and maintenance benefits of electric power in two hulls.

    I’d love a round table discussion of this type which considers how solar electric could be combined with sails to create a quiet motorsailer to increase the range and comfort to coastal and long distance cruising.

  • Avatar

    Mark Darley says:

    So far I haven’t heard windage mentioned. My Epropulsion outboard has radically different range depending on windage. The is a big difference between my shorter masted Swallow Bayraider 20 and my taller masted, higher topside Swallow Baycruiser 23. Tide, yes, waves, yes, windage……..a big factor if going directly upwind in a narrow channel.


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