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Cruisingdad 10-20-2006 03:29 PM

Future of Sailing?
Thought some of the members might find this interesting:

The New Lagoon 420 is only available with electric drives.

Basically, they have done away with diesel main drive engines and shifted to only having one large generator and electric drives. The Genny runs everything. Two large battery banks apparently provide enough power for even air conditioning, and the generator kicks on when the batts reach 50 or 70% (I think it is). When you are sailing, the props turn and basically act as water generators to recharge batteries.

My first thought was: A Toyota Prius... albeit a very expensive Prius! Still, gotta make you wonder if this is the future?????? Why not? They are dead quiet running and apparently a lot less maintenance than a diesel main.

Now, of course being a traditional sailor (somewhat), I always balk at the newest and latest and greatest... but how cool is that? What if you supplemented with a really large array of wind and solar? Increased your batt banks? Why not convert everything into that?

I heard Catalina and Hinkley have been playing around with the technology. Not sure they have perfected it yet.

Still, why is this not the future of sailing?

Jim H 10-20-2006 03:39 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't a diesel be nearly submerged and still run? In other words, a good match for the moisture and other conditions of a marine environment.

Is it clear how resistant the electric engines (and their systems) are to water and other less than great things that might happen under duress?


Jim H

Cruisingdad 10-20-2006 03:49 PM

Don't know Jim. I would think that if I had two engines underwater, the diesel would be the last to give out. Course, it would not matter because I would have crapped myself and had my kids and all hunkered in a liferaft!! HAHA!!

Can you waterproof some of that? I guess one of my thoughts too was what a lightning strike would do? I have always preached that: A lightning strike does not mean it went down the mast. A strike anywhere in the vacinity is good enough to take out many electronics. Would it take out an engine?? Maybe not. Don't know. Just think it is really cool. It actually reduces the cost of the boat, increases the range (b/c you have more room for fuel & recharge is added in), and is better on the environment.


Cruisingdad 10-20-2006 03:51 PM

As far as the moisture, I would think they have worked those kinks out... or guessed they had. Lagoon is a great brand and I do not think they would throw out a half million dollar boat without a lot of testing.

But I really don't know?? I am a chemist not an engineer. Need a good electrical engineer on this thread.

kennya 10-20-2006 03:55 PM

Jim I think you are correct in regards to a diesel, but then I think of the thousands of fishermen out there using eclectic trolling motors from sunup to sun down, Maybe Cruisingdad is not so wrong either.

Cruisingdad 10-20-2006 04:21 PM

By the way all - I am not saying go out and spend a half million on a new contraption. Just the thought: Is this the future... and whiy not? Cool technology.

Imagine, even in a monohull, how much a boat would change if all you had to design in was a Generator and access to the electric drive. Personally, I think this is where it will all go. We will probably only get stuck with the leftover parts from the automakers, but still - cool stuff.

ebs001 10-20-2006 05:11 PM

Cruisingdad, I think hybrids are the way of the future. It's just a matter of when. Sailing is probably one of the best areas to use the technology because you can use the motion of the boat to generate power to top up the batteries. I went aboard the Lagoon 42 at the Annapolis boat show (BTW there were some aspects of the Lagoon I thought were rather chincy, I was not impressed withthe overall quality) and asked about the hybrid system. It seems to be very good and well suited to a cruising sailboat.

Cruisingdad 10-20-2006 05:57 PM

I was on the 440 and it was pretty nice. Seemed like they could have used a bit more wood and less plastic - though I got lost a couple of times and needed a map to find my way out!!

I do not know if I am totally set on a catamaran. Still educating myself. I will likely charter one in the near future. But for a half million, I would likely look at other boats too... namely a Nordhavn. But, the technology they are using is very neat. It could be applied to a trawler too.

If they could improve battery technology and solar technology, it would revolutionize the marine industry.

captnnero 10-20-2006 06:09 PM

Going beyond the Lagoon system from Solomon Technologies is the Fischer-Panda Whisper Prop system. The electric motor is in a small pivoting pod under the hull just like on all the new ocean liners. Noise is reduced even more and it's a simpler drive system without the thru-hull prop shafts. Also the motor is efficiently cooled by the surrounding water. I believe that system is available on Bavaria. Think of a trolling motor on steroids. Plus since it pivots you don't need a bow thruster as much.

These systems are best engineered into a new design where the still heavy large battery banks and electrical cabling can be placed optimally and intergrated with the generator for cruising distances.

On the down side when those batteries start to fail there is going to be a very expensive swap out, just as with the Prius.

Another very interesting player in the market with good looking engineering is Glacier Bay with their OSSA Powerlite generators and propulsion motors. They have a good write up on electric propulsion on their website. Below them are a bunch of suppliers selling battle-bot and wheelchair motors with some packaging for yachts.

captnnero 10-20-2006 06:12 PM


Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
If they could improve battery technology and solar technology, it would revolutionize the marine industry.

CD - Hell, it would revolutionize every industry !

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