does it make sense to buy a boat without an engine and convert it to electric? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 02-23-2010
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I'm looking for something 35-40' I think. I really liked the Beneteau 37 I saw at the boat show last weekend, but of course I can't afford a new one. And I'm going to be living aboard, since that's the only way I can make it affordable (and it seems like a cool idea). That's why I need the central heat -- I live in Boston.
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Old 02-23-2010
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You are aware that the electric motor you'd need to move a 35-40' monohull sailboat is pretty damn big...

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I'm looking for something 35-40' I think. I really liked the Beneteau 37 I saw at the boat show last weekend, but of course I can't afford a new one. And I'm going to be living aboard, since that's the only way I can make it affordable (and it seems like a cool idea). That's why I need the central heat -- I live in Boston.
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Old 02-23-2010
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It's a really dumb concept. When the batteries go flat and you're not near a marina that can plug you in then you're effectively done.

Diesel you can buy just about anywhere. You can even buy it from other boats in the middle of nowhere if you're lucky.

And when you eventually want to sell the boat you'll really find out the folly of such an idea. You won't be able to give it away.

And as SD says, do you understand the size of electric motor and the resultant battery bank you're going to need for a 35 ft boat? Your boat will be good for nothing more than moving an engine and batteries from one place to another to be recharged.

It's not a coincidence that electric powered yachts are extremely rare. This is not the thoery of relativity we're dealing with here. This is simple stuff. Get another diesel.

I can't believe people are still considering this.
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Old 02-23-2010
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Why do the nay-sayers get so mad about people wanting to use electric power for sailboats? Some of the largest boats on the ocean are powered by electric motors!! It is a proven technology and has been around for a century. If your desire is to keep things clean and you stick with the IC motor...try biodiesel. It too has been around in various forms for almost a century (Thanks to DR. G.W.Carver ). It is less toxic than table salt, better for your motor, and in use in the navy, army, coast guard and just about every municipal department in the country....as well as in many mac trucks on the highway. Electric power only makes sense if you really care about the environment more than your wallet. Biod is already cheaper than regular diesel though.... and it is very easy to make
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Old 02-23-2010
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"Some of the largest boats on the ocean are powered by electric motors!"

Not to be green though. They have other reasons such as azimuth thrusters which are pods below the hull that allow 360 degree rotation. These are found on both icebreakers and cruise ships and offer much greater maneuverability. These ships are powered by either diesel generators and/or gas turbines. Hardly for the same reasons that a cruising sailboat would convert to electric power. And battery storage of the generated power is not a part of these systems.
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Old 02-24-2010
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I think the idea is a good one if you like working with electrics and are willing t spend a bit more than on a diesel. Fischer Panda has a test boat with their hybrid system sailing around right now, see Electric Drive Systems and Hybrid Drive Systems | Fischer Panda . I looked at their presentation at the recent BOOT convention in Germany and was impressed with their vision.
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Old 02-24-2010
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Sailingdog doesn't think anything is possible. The whole idea is viable if you are willing to go very short distances between charges. If you sacrifice top speed as well, then you will be able to have a pretty light setup.

Realistically, an electric auxiliary would be okay if you treated it as such, an auxiliary.

These are sailboats, after all.
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Old 02-24-2010
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Unless you use solar/wind to charge your batteries this is not very environmentally sound.The electricity at the dock will most likely be produced using fossil fuel & a gen. definitely will.marc
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Old 02-24-2010
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Tager - if you follow the hybrid Fischer Panda link above, they have an actual boat sailing around and the fuel effeciency they are achieving is better than that of the standard diesel and they have no top speed or range limitations.
In their case they use the fact that a generator , unlike a diesel inboard, runs at the optimal RPM and load and they have efficient electric propulsion systems install.
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Old 02-24-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
The whole idea is viable if you are willing to go very short distances between charges. If you sacrifice top speed as well, then you will be able to have a pretty light setup.
Think about that statement.


Following the same logic, living in Death Valley without water is viable, if you are willing to accept a dramatically shorter lifespan. Skiing in Dakar is viable, if you are willing to accept much slower speeds.

If the reason to have an auxiliary engine is to provide auxiliary speed and emergency power, as well as the ability to recharge your batteries, then a straight electric power source is not viable at all, and in fact presents a whole new set of issues, such as recharging.


Don't confuse diesel electric boats/ships with electric boats. Whole different propulsion system, whole different kettle of fish.


Southern Cross, I am a nay-sayer, but I am not mad, I am amused. The ignorance of the realities of electric propulsion is entertaining, if nothing else.
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