Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Gulf Shores, AL
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Re: Repowering with an electric engine?
I think the best question was posted by Christian: why?
My reasoning was purely subjective.
My diesel needed to be replaced, so I started looking at the options. Several years ago I received a mailing from a company looking for investors to develop an electric propulsion system for recreational boaters. I can't remember the company and I believe it went out of business, but I was intrigued by the concept. There were some good reasons for me to go electric:
I could be a pioneer. (I know that's really egotistical, but honest.)
My wife hates the smell of diesel fuel. (That's the BIG number one.)
I hated changing the oil and filters and smelling of diesel fuel.
Our style of sailing...leave the dock and the sails go up, then day sails, weekends and the occasional week.
Our sailing grounds...minimal tidal changes so not much current to fight.
When we did the conversion I used four AGM 4D batteries placed in a manner to balance the weight. I had approximately 80lbs net weight gain. Don't ask me the numbers about regeneration from the propeller. I make no apologies for being a "fair weather" sailor, so I usually have plenty of wind to return to the dock with 100% charge.
I do use a Honda 2000 generator to recharge the house batteries or if I have to motor in the ICW against a headwind for more than 10 miles. I can motor at 3.5kn with no net loss to the propulsion batteries and charge the house batteries with the Honda.
The main downside for me is charging the house batteries to keep my amp-hungry refrigerator running. I going to install a 48 to 12v transformer to utilize the left-over amps generated from the propeller. My propulsion batteries are normally back after about 30 to 60 min. of sailing above 3.5 kn.
Electric works for my wife and I. Is it the best choice for everyone? Absolutely not. If I sailed in areas with big tidal ranges with lots of current or had the possibility of being becalmed in open seas, I wouldn't consider battery powered electric propulsion. IMHO.
PS: boat is a 1995 Hunter 29.5.
Last edited by GufShoz; 09-23-2014 at 05:48 PM.
Reason: Add boat info.