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post #1 of 24 Old 09-05-2009 Thread Starter
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Investing - Sailing Related


wasn't sure whether to put this here or in off-topic, but its sort of sailing related so i'll leave it here.

i find speculative investments more rewarding if they're in fields i'm interested in.

would be interested in hearing if anyone has recently or is planning any investments in stocks related in anyway to sailing and what your experiences have been.

i'll mention that i was interested in electric/hybrid propulsion, and while only peripherally related to sailing, looked into lithium ion battery technology (I own a Torqeedo 801 electric outboard with lithium ion battery, which i love and really got me interested) and risked a bit in speculative lithium junior mining companies (TNR, CDO, WLC, MCI) all on the canadian venture exchange and did well. i know altairnano and A123 trade too. dont know if torqeedo does.

not to turn this into another electric propulsion thread, but given the hybrid and auto PHEV developments, electric motor and lithium battery technology for boats has to be coming. soon.

are any of the big production boat builders publicly traded and if so, what do people think of the outlook for them (previous controversial posts on Tartan notwithstanding). if they're not, who owns them? who are the carbon fiber companies? what about the electronic companies, garmin, raymarine etc - ny new opportunities out there? i'm guessing many other sailing related companies are probably too small to trade publicly, but would be ineterested to hear.

it might be entertaining to explore this.
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-05-2009
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I have no real insight here - but I did actually think of electric propulsion when I read the title. You're right - it really seems a valid direction at some level.

The obvious hurdles are weight and recharge during extended cruises. But you look at the "Tesla" electric sports car and its success - and it seems we're getting close.

Could you imagine not having to tote fuel around? Sweet.

I wonder if Robert Perry has looked into this from a hull design perspective. My hunch is that he has. He may have some good insight for you.
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-06-2009
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Might want to consider solar as well. I am beginning to see allot of vessels use solar panels to keep their batteries charged versus hooking up to shore power. High initial costs but there appears to be long term savings---at least according to the owners. Usually solar has been reserved for the blue-water cruisers but I have been seeing an increased number of coastal cruisers installing solar panels.
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-06-2009
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I've fiddled with figures and read some ideas and, at least for cruising sailors, believe electric is at a dead end.

That's because 1 HP = 748 watts (call it 750W/HP) So to generate 10 HP you would need 7500 watts or in a 12V system about 600 amps. Actually a little more.
Worked just fine for submarines, works for fork lifts (have you SEEN the battery chargers they use??!!), but I don't see a way to work it out on a boat that does not go home after a few hours of motor usage.

Seems like having an electric motor gives me all the disadvantages of having a diesel engine with a 1 gallon tank.

I don't think electric sailboats are going anywhere. And if I was the "King of Yanmar" I'd be making sure they don't by making sure sailors get what they need from me. Which is exactly what the current King (whoever he is) is doing.

When you come to a "Y" in the road, take it....Yogi Berra
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post #5 of 24 Old 09-06-2009
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Originally Posted by Selkirk View Post
I don't think electric sailboats are going anywhere
I disagree- I use an electric drive system on my C22 and it works awesome. Total cost was about $500 for an 82lb thrust saltwater trolling motor, 2 large deep cycle batteries, and a promariner 3 channel shore charger. Total weight is about as much as a motor and fuel tank, but the batteries are near the keel instead of the transom. I don't know the full battery life (never ran them dead), but it move the boat at 3-4 knots for many hours. I use it only for docking and for pointing windward when raising and lowering the sails.
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-06-2009 Thread Starter
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i guess this electric propulsion has been debated before on sailnet and i didnt want to redundantly revisit it, but more wanted to think about what is up and coming in the next few years and how it will affect industry (and how someone might make a buck off of it).

in as much as it is relevant, however, i will add a couple of comments about why i think electrical propulsion does have a more positive immediate future:

1. It IS here. i use an electric outboard on my dinghy. casioqv uses an electric trolling motor on his C22. numerous others do similarly. also the lagoon hybrid 420 cat. 5 years ago there was nothing. it is here now, albeit in its infancy, but undeniably, and 5 years from now will be only further along.

2. I would quibble with equating one horsepower of a diesel engine with 750 W of an electric motor. while one horsepower of mechanical power at the driveshaft of a yanmar and 750 W of electrical power into an electric motor will ultimately produce the same amount of heat, this does not take into account the application being considered - diesel drivetrain and alternator losses or very very very different torque curves not to mention ideling with a diesel compared to simply "off" with an electric. however, lets be pessimistic and accept the 750 W/HP. consider the 56 kWh lithium ion battery pack that is used on the Tesla Roadster, the only all electric street car currently in prodction. at 7.5 kW (what we are equating to "10 HP" but in reality would be more akin, ballpark, to 15-20 hp) this would give 7.5 hours of motor cruising. more than adequate for most day trips. this is today's technology, available now. more advanced battery and ultracapacitor technology is already in the pipeline. add more batteries or small generator or cruise at lower power and we quickly get into the 20s and 30s of hours of motoring time.
would i get rid of my diesel inboard if i could motor 30 hours with an electric drive? sure.

3. i dont expect an electric drive without an absurd and impractical amount of solar would [I]ever[I] exceed the range/energy density of diesel (11 kWh/L compared with, ballpark for current lithium ion technology only 1 mJ/L = 0.3 kWh/L) but hey, its also about convenience. the energy density of my sails is pretty much infinite, but i still have an inboard. would some people trade no trips to the fuel dock, no maintenance, no noise, no oil, no diesel for less range. sure they would. especially if they mostly sail.

4. The market has spoken. its happening. electric propulsion is on its way (for cars). all lage manufacturers are developing plug in hybrids or all electric vehicles to be released between now and 2012. ALL of them use lithium ion (not that a new, better lighter cheaper and higher energy density technology might not replace it). my outboard uses lithium ion. i can charge it from solar. lithium mining, exploration and battery stocks are taking off. China is trying to acquire strategic lithium claims. the market is sometimes wrong, but i wouldnt bet against it.

Last edited by ArgleBargle; 09-06-2009 at 10:33 PM. Reason: typo
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post #7 of 24 Old 09-06-2009
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first yes electric has different power curves than a diesel. electric motors produce more torque at low rpms and are more efficient at high rps. so at cruising speed or close to it when the wave hits you the electric wont have the torque to get you moving again, where as a diesel is just all torque.

cars are different story, mostly because of drag. a sailboat like my hunter 27 needs 8 hp to get to 5.2 knots ( need a bottom job ) or so, a car with 8 hp in a diesel motor could get to 55 mph or so if the areo is good.

my hunter has an 18 gallon tank and at cruise can run for about 10 days, not hour but days. the c22 listed can do 4 knots for a few hours, and would take one or two days to recharge with a 1000 bucks in solar (assuming 100 amp hours used ). this is not counting currents or winds.

i think it will be a hybrid system, one that can motor for an hour, then needs a genny to keep going.

as for the tesla battery, if it costs about 400 bucks for 60 or so watts of solar. and we use 480 watts of panels at about 3200 bucks. that will produce about .5k watts ( if perfect ) of juice per hour, or about 112 hours of sunlight to charge. so you can, if the boat drains the battery in one day sail of low to no winds, you can use you boat once every 10 days with full summer sun, or about every 20 days in the fall or spring

hydro drag is a pain in the math
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-06-2009
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just looked it up, a tesla can go for about 6 hours at 60 mph. the new ford flex needs about 9 hp to go 55, so the telsa at 55 might be using a little less than 9 hp for 6 hours of driving. then its parked, for 112 hours of summer sun with 3200 bucks of solar.
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-06-2009 Thread Starter
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i agree about hybrids with a gen set as an interim step.

as i said in my post, i think the amount of solar required to make a difference would be "absurd and impractical". i still do. solar doesnt make sense. i'm not sure why you're on about the solar.

using a quoted number of 1 gallon per hour per 18 horsepower, you should use 8 hp x (1gph/18 hp) = 8/18 = 0.44 gph. you have an 18 gallon fuel tank. you should get 18/0.44 = 41 hours of motoring not 10 days x 24 hours = 240 hours of motoring. as i stated, i think 30 hours of 10 hp motoring is possible with today's technology. not too different.

15 years ago you probably couldnt buy a high resolution GPS colour chartplotter accurate to a few metres for a billion dollars. you can probably still find threads debating celestial navigation versus gps. carbon fiber spars used to be insanely expensive. now there are producion carbon fiber hulls and the boeing 787 (yes, it has its problems). i have lithium ion power drill, lawn mower, weed wacker, LED lights, notebook computer and outboard motor. none of these were around 10 years ago. five years ago you couldnt get a high capacity lithium ion battery. now you can but they're expensive. in five years, probably de rigueur with bigger and better available.

there is a bias in our brains that presumes stasis. change is coming. dont bet against change.
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post #10 of 24 Old 09-07-2009
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I have stated this so many times. The watt is a power unit, not an energy unit. Watts per hour is a nonsense unit.
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