Thank you, Avocet; brilliant of you to find that bit of railway-footage! I'd no idea it had ever been caught on camera.
Certainly was good to learn from Alan17, of the lower-duty applicable to fuel for charging-only purposes; I almost regret my defiance, re. diesel!
My design, materials and construction won't be very space-age stuff. I don't mind shelling-out on decent components, but anything costly but unproven can wait for a Gatsby-esque type, which I'm not.
I believe my old diesel finally coughed its last, this weekend. No memorial is planned. As I mentioned earlier this evening, the engine's removal won't hold back my use of the yacht; I enjoy relying on sail alone, and a 1000w insulated Honda genny will charge the supply for the nav-lights etc, for the time-being.
But when I do finally get the electric propulsion turning, I'll feel very free...free to move through calms, free to stem the tide, free to use masses of electricity for domestic purposes whilst anchored, and above all, free from noise, vibration, oily bilge-water and smoke on board!
It'll be a while, but worth the wait.
Great picture, Madhatter...what...where is it? I wonder if it'll use planing hulls, or rely on the 1:16 waterline breadth:length formula, to exceed displacement speed?
Dan, what sort of range would you be happy with (in flat calm conditions), and what is the power of your (late!) diesel engine?
Thanks, Madhatter. Fascinating idea, along the lines of the Sunraycer solar car, 20 or 25 years ago.
I won't pretend my plans are quite that advanced...
thank you for your enquiry. Right now, I have 3x90ah batteries, not at their best, working through a motor sourced from a golf-truck (though, it had had seats for four). That should equate to enough grunt to move the tender three or four times round the yacht; but, I live in hope. When an efficient motor is mated with some not-so-tired deep-cycle cells, I may persuade the yacht all the way round the Avon! (I mean the inflatable, not the river.)
The ex-diesel was a Volvo, but it's in an unidentifiable condition, and its year, supposed optimum output, displacement...(even the fuel) is in some doubt. I would imagine it once turned out something over 23hp. I'm aware that sufficient batteries to supply such an output via a golf-cart motor, would probably sink the yacht. But to me, it's significant that usable thrust can be both stored and used in 12v or 24v form, and I will just relish steering the yacht through a dead calm, in dead silence!
Last edited by dancrane; 07-04-11 at 09:25.
Didn't see it mentioned here, but didn't Nigel Calder install a diesel-electric system on his own boat?
As for solar, the Broads Authority in Norfolk has been running passenger trips on "Ra" for some time-
And there are quite a few electric boats on the broads too, some private, and a fleet of hire boats also.
What do I know?
Thanks for those links, MrJemm.
Terrific to see that councils and companies running boats on the Norfolk Broads are serious about benefiting from electric power.
Of course...transferring the serene, green, enduring renewability of solar/electric power to the rough-and-tumble of use in coastal applications, is quite a step-up, and not yet a change one can make if the system's use will be relied upon in the same way diesel is.
Diesel-fans won't readily change, because the thudding robustness of their quarter-tonne of iron can be called upon at almost any time when there's fuel in the tank and amps in the starting battery.
My dinghy-sailing origins mean I never regarded the engine as a dead-cert alternative to sail, in any situation. Thus I knew never to compromise the larger vessel's safety by relying on an old and much-abused diesel that often refused its duty.
So, to my mind, an electric system is wholly practical at sea, because at least its unreadiness for work will be wholly predictable! No question, my voyage-plans will be very much more modest, per hour/per day, than those of diesel-auxilliary sailors. But then, are those ladies and gentlemen not restricted in their short-term range, relative to motor-yacht owners?
All a question of dependency. The more primary the engine is, as a source of propulsion, the more direct and brief one's passage-times are likely to be. Personally, if I was in any hurry, I'd take a ferry or a flight.
Evening all, just stumbled across this thread...
I'm starting to look at the practicalitys of re-engining my 37' 12 tonne wooden boat, and have found that the space I had hopped to fit the engine into is a bit more cramped than I had thought, so I'm looking at diesel-hydraulic or a drop center / v-drive gear box or diesel electric, the advantages of the latter to my mind are thus:
1, peak torque at 0 rpm - has got to make maneuvering around a marina easier?
2, quite - has got to make maneuvering / communicating with the foredeck easier?
I want reasonable range under power, and don't plan to fill the boat with battery's so accept that a diesel gen-set is the only way to provide amps for extended motoring, but,
1, a 240v gen-set has other uses on-board
2, motoring long distance means 5 knots in flat(ish) water. So only needing (say) 10hp. So surely the gen-set could be small, just enough to keep up with this 'constant' load and use the battery's as a buffer for the short periods when you need more grunt, or the short bursts on and off the berth?
3, using a small diesel at close to max power is better for the engine than a large diesel that spends 90% of its life at well below max power? - I know of a boat that needed a full engine rebuild at 350 hours because it was over powered and had coked up.....
4, I can put the donkey anywhere on the boat, so access for servicing is easier than if it's crammed into the bilge and I can put it in a box so noise and vibration levels will be much better than for a standard engine
so to my mind there are advantages once we accept the need for a separate gen-set, I appreciate that this bumps the cost up, but if the gen-set is smaller than the primary would be then this cost increase is not so bad.... don't have any numbers to put to this yet but would be interested to hear any thoughts on the idea of hybrid instead of pure electric...
Last edited by seasolutions; 11-04-11 at 21:38.
Interesting. To be honest, if you've read all these pages of opinions, quite a few of which are not in favour of trying a system that isn't 'tried and tested', I'm sure you must be the kind of person with enough imagination and a practical approach, to make some form of hybrid-electric drive work.
A 37-footer displacing twelve tonnes? Your boat may be quite similar to Northshore's Fisher 37, if I remember her figures. On the hefty side. I myself did look at the Fisher 30 as part of a crazy plan to modify the standard sloop or ketch rig, to a staysail schooner...
...one thing that struck me was that if the schooner's new mainmast was to remain keel-stepped, it'd have to go straight through the wheelhouse floor...and straight through the diesel donkey underneath! Except, if the yacht had an electric motor...that would easily fit wherever there's space down there, while as you say, the generator can be positioned where it's most convenient.
While I recognise the necessity for a petrol or diesel generator, I still rate renewable options for basic on-going battery charging, particularly a tidal or towable version. It'll need lots of thought, but the idea of every flood and ebb tide silently pouring amps into the batteries while the boat is tied-up, is enough to convince me it's worth persisting with.
And enjoying silent thrust on calm mornings is exactly in tune with my sailing dreams - not reliant on clatter, vibration and smoke! Plus a huge bank of batteries to run the power-shower, air-con, etc...the advantages are numerous. If the cruising speed under power is only half what a Volvo would have pumped out, I can live with that.
Best of luck, Seasolutions. Let us know how it goes!
Last edited by dancrane; 11-04-11 at 23:55.