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Old 02-02-2009
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In this month's (February) Wooden Boat, naval architect Dave Gerr makes a fairly persuasive case for why hybrid technology doesn't make sense in most pleasure craft.

The gist of his argument is that all the conditions that make hybrid technology in vehicles advantageous are absent in the marine environment. Primarily, automobile engines are subject to intermittent loads (start/stop at intersections, idling in traffic, coasting downhill, braking, etc) that make much of the power generated by the internal combustion engine superfluous. This power (and fuel consumption) can be conserved by shutting the engine down. Also, downhills and braking allow for regenerative charging.

But boats normally need continuous power/constant thrust. The most efficient and least complex way to achieve that is by coupling the diesel engine directly to the prop shaft via a transmission.

Also, the idea of "regeneration" (via the spinning prop) while sailing creates too much drag resulting in lost boat speed. Sailboats are already slow enough!

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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

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