Friday, April 17, 2015

A Pretty Ingrid 38

From the launch site to where we raised the sails was a three hour motor to the ocean, in very favorable conditions. We held the RPM at 1000 - 1200 and the monitor read between 1.7 and 2.2 KW at 3.9 to 4.2 knots. At that speed, the motor indicated that we had 3.8 hours. Ocean we stopped the motor and raised the sails, we had a six hour sail across the strait, followed by another one hour motor to the anchorage. Without using the generator, the monitor indicated that we still had 67% charge remaining, so we recharged the batteries, using the generator, which took about three hours.

The second was dead calm so we had to motor the entire distance. Again, we set the throttle at about 1200 RPM, which gave us about 4.4 knots and a projected run-time of 3.8 hours.

The motor had absolutely no difficulty moving the boat and we lost only about .8 of a knot compared to the old diesel. The generator was far less obtrusive.

The entire trip on the second day involved an eight hour motor! By the time we arrived at our destination, the monitor indicated a 70% charge remaining.

So, in my opinion, the motor performed flawlessly. When we arrived at our moorage, the electric motor maneuvered the boat effortlessly into its slip.

Finally, if you were to ask if I believe that I made the right decision installing an electric motor at the beginning of the trip, I would have said that I'm worried about the size of the motor for a boat this heavy. If you were to ask me now, after this test run, my response would be, "Hell yeah!" Granted, it'll never have the range of a diesel; but if I have to motor anywhere, regardless of the power plant, for eight hours, I'd much rather stay moored and go for a paddle, or a hike, or a run. I think you get my point...this is a sailboat and I'd rather not go anywhere if the winds aren't right.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Aurora: A Cal 40

It was a fortunate day in February 2008. Fortunate because hull number 82 of the legendary Cal 40 came my way and fortunate too because she came without an auxiliary. The diesel had expired and lay ashore somewhere waiting for yet another rebuild and more. Having had a couple of less than pleasant experiences with diesel motors in previous boats I had developed a phobia, an allergy even, to those belching complications. Normally I would go engineless or clamp an outboard on the stern but the Cal 40 was somewhat large and I did not want to remove a very useful Monitor vane to make way for an OMC. What to do?
The old original Perkins before Electric YachtI had heard of electric motors for sailboats but the task seemed daunting because I am a mechanical klutz and also with the boat in Malaysia and the electric units available only overseas, it appeared a mission impossible. Anyway, I plugged away on the Internet and on an off chance, sent an email to Electric Yacht and as they say, “the rest is history.”
getting rid of the V-Drive in the Cal 40, ready for the electric drive systemScott McMillan immediately came to grips with the complication of installing an electric motor in the Cal 40. The motor needed to sit backwards and down into the pan which housed the v-drive. It would be tight. Measurements and details went back and forth for a while. Amazingly all my concerns were addressed, all emails were answered and I knew this guy was several steps ahead of me. But was it doable? Scott thought the dimensions might work but was concerned the 48 volt system was too small for my boat, being 15500 lbs displacement on a 30’04” waterline length. The decision was mine. I knew I was in good hands and put trepidations aside and mailed a check for the deposit. It was done.
Electric Yacht system installed in the Cal40There was a delivery backlog which gave me time to remove the old tank and its 110 litres (29galls) of diesel, get rid of forty years of crud and grime and cut out the v-drive with an angle grinder. White paint followed and the bilge shone. Scott sent me a photo of my unit with the super short shaft and pretty soon a hefty parcel arrived at RLYC Langkawi. Duty free, of course.
Custom built motor, throttle, percent meter, master switch, 48 to 12 volt converter, custom cabling for the batteries and the controller which Scott had built separately so it wouldn't get wet at the companionway foot, detailed instructions ; it was all there. He’d even upgraded me to a dual 48/72 volt system, in case I should need it.
Often times things just fall in place. My South African friend, Faith offered to help. A piece of 2 by 4 drifted by and made a stong back from which to hang the motor on a handy billy and within a week it was all hooked up. No engineering, no dry dock.

Fortunately Trojan T105 batteries are available in Langkawi and with the help of a two young and strong Burmese workers we placed them in the space where the diesel used to sit. Not exactly level but secure and unable to come adrift at sea.

Now for the results:
Conditions; no wind, flat calm, runs up and down tide and averaged. GPS speed.
1.1 knots @ 4 amps,
1.93 knots @ 11 amps,
4.0 knots @ 72 amps.
Cal 40
LOA: 39’04”
LWL: 30’04”
BEAM: 11’00”
DRAUGHT: 5’07”

Long fin, spade rudder, flat sections.
The motor limit comes on at 75 amps. The pitch is not quite right. It should go to 100 amps which may deliver another half knot and give a little more torque. The extra pulley Scott sent along for the 72 volt system may do the trick and I will swap it around soon. Otherwise I will have to adjust the Max Prop (self feathering) at next dry docking. Manoeuvering with the electric motor is a snap. Plenty of torque and of course no noise, no smoke. I charge up the batteries from shorepower at the marina via a battery charger. It’s only pennies.

I have been in and out of the marina twice and the batteries are down 10%. When I extrapolate the data I come up with an endurance of 20 miles to a 50% discharge level and 30 miles to a 75% discharge level. Underway I will charge the batteries from the Air Marine wind mill; solar panels via Zahn’s 12 to 48 volt optimizer. Another option is to change to a fixed propeller which would let the regen work on passage but the price is high; 15% loss could add up to a 30 mile a day deficit. There is a good chance I can do it all without buying a generator.which like the diesel is a step in the wrong direction.
Weight comparison might be of interest:
Perkins 4.107, Walter v-drive, full lube oil and bunkers, 4 Trojan T105, 1 starting battery, exhaust/cooling paraphanelia
Total approx weight: 555kgs (1228lbs)

Electric Yacht motor complete, 8 Trojan T105 batteries, Battery charger.
Total approx weight: 258kgs (567lbs)

That’s it. I wish you, “Good sailing”. With emphasis on sailing. Ben Lexcen’s famous edict, “Fast is fun” got it right. Sailing is; motoring is not. Electric Yacht is a happy compromise.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Brief History of Electric Yacht

Electric Yacht - the best Choice
Clean, Green, Quiet!
Simple, high quality, well-engineered, and less expensive:

In 2006, engineer Scott McMillian came up with the idea of electric propulsion for sailboats. Scott, with a few friends and family members, combined their love of sailing along with their design and engineering skills. Using the engineering philosophy of “keeping it simple and reliable” they built and tested their initial systems. By 2008 testing ended, and thus began the first of over 300 Electric Yacht systems. Several systems were built, further testing Scott’s initial design. 

From testing Electric Yacht learned four important facts: (1) Use the modern, well-proven Permanent Magnet Asynchronous (PMAC) motor for the best powerful light weight system. (2) Design and build a well-engineered flexible frame positioning the motor while safely applying shaft thrust and cooling. (3) Build the most powerful system using low voltage 48v nominal. Finally, produce a marine grade “Plug and Play” system that can be installed by a good handy Boatwright or boat owner.

In 2010, the second generation of QuietTorque™ motors were introduced. The QuietTorque™family initially included the single motor QuietTorque™5.0, QuietTorque 10.0, and the dual motor QuietTorque™ 20.0. All three of these systems operate at 48v nominal unlike the competition.

By 2015 the QuietTorque™ family of product has grown to include the 48v QuietTorque™ 25.0, the higher voltage QuietTorque™ 40.0, QuietTorque™ 45.0 LC, and QuietTorque™ 50.0LC along with the innovative, no maintenance belt driven saildrive.

To build quality systems, it takes engineering, testing, and productions skills. Using sophisticated cad design computer software, the QuietTorque™ systems are robust and simple. Each system design was fully tested before it became a QuietTorque™ product. In 2013 the original warranty was increased from two years to three years. 

By 2014 it had become evident that a larger facility was needed, one that could handle the growing company expanding products and sales. In 2015, the assembly, testing, and shipping operations were moved to Providence, MN. This allows us to keep the parts, and fabrication operations to remain with our long term business partner in Melrose, MN.

The Electric Yacht Extras
Starting with industrial quality components for reliable power and lower costs, Electric Yacht adds the Electric Yacht built control module making the motor a uniquely powerful marine system. 

For the best experience, Electric Yacht builds a marine quality throttle with forward, reverse, and lock in neutral. The throttle is designed and built to provide both motor control and the tactile feel to control these powerful motors. Regeneration is automatic with the key on while the system in the neutral setting. 

The Electric Yacht computer monitor, coupled with the Electric Yacht control module and Sevcon controller, allow for set up and reprograming of the motor from the helm. You can modify battery type, battery size, throttle direction/throw, and regeneration setting (for sailboats). Clearly seen are the state of charge (v), power draw (amp), regeneration (kW), % of battery charge, hours remaining under power, motor RPM (before propeller reduction), and motor on/off state.  The monitor has a backlight that can be adjusted for night vision.  We have added audio alarms for change of power (on/off), battery low status, and “other” alarm state. The QuietTorque™ system can have multiple monitors for multiple helms.

The frame is the heart of the QuietTorque™ system and allows significant gearing options, making the motor installation simple. The frame has two thrust bearings built in on each side of the custom shaft pulley. The high-quality toothed Gates timing belts efficiently transfer power to the propeller shaft. The motor is normally mounted aft on the frame high above the electrically isolated shaft. The Sevcon controller is mounted forward on the frame with the Electric Yacht control module above it. Besides providing a rigid platform for the motor, the frame provides heat control and increases the reliability of the system. The Sevcon controller and Electric Yacht module can be mounted elsewhere in the engine compartment to reduce the physical size of the motor at the shaft as the QuietTorque™ low-profile.

The QuietTorque™ flexible mounting system provides significant ability to orient the motor in the engine compartment. Note that the Electric yacht motor does not need to be mounted on shock absorbing “engine mounts”. Combined with the flexible frame mounting points, the system allows forward and aft, up and down, and horizontal adjustment. This makes for simple Plug and Play alignment.

For more information on Electric Yacht, contact us by phone 855 339 2248 ext. 109 or email

Electric Yacht Toll free 855 339 2248 ext. 109

The 42ft Friendship Sloop "Sarah Mead" Doesn't Burn A Drop Of Fuel!

The Sarah Mead doesn't burn a drop of fuel!

In 2012, Captains Nate and Randy obtained a Maine DEP grant to re-power Sarah Mead with a quiet, clean and powerful electric propulsion system.

According to their website,, "She is the first commercial vessel in Maine, and possibly New England, to go 'Zero Emissions'."

After years of struggling with an underpowered, leaky and smelly diesel, Captains Nate and Randy re-powered Sarah Meade with a solar/wind powered electric turbine engine.

Born in Maine and baptized in salt water, Captain Nate has been sailing longer than he has been walking. It's rare to catch Nate ashore. When he's not sailing Sarah Mead in Boothbay, he is most likely at the helm of an oyster fishing boat on the Damariscotta River. Nate lives on Westport Island, Maine, where Sarah Mead spends her winters at the bottom on a beautiful oyster shell driveway.

Retired police chief Randy Jones enjoys taking the helm of Sarah Mead when he's not consulting with other boaters. An American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) member and Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, Randy knows boats inside and out. "The only thing better than sailing wooden boats is building them!" If you are looking to schedule a marine survey, call Captain Randy at (207)380-2793.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Manta 38: The Magic Catamaran

If you're in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, ask about Sunny Ray, a Manta 38, and Cap'n Dano. People say she's a magic boat!

Sunny Ray and her crew are doing great. We have had almost 6,000 miles on our GPS odometer and still perfect performance of the Electric Yacht motors! Top speed under power is 7.5 knots in our 38ft Manta Catamaran with two blade Flex O Fold 15x10 props on shaft drives. The previous fixed 3 blade props were great for regeneration power, but we prefer the folding props which give much better sailing performance. When the sky is clear and the sun is hitting our solar array we can power at 2 knots without using the battery bank! When the wind is light, true wind at 7 knots, we can motor sail with 6 knots of boat speed only using 10 amps on each motor. Our generator has only used 100 gallons of diesel fuel cruising for two years!

Right now we have a bunch of guests visiting us at St. John, USVI. Guests love the almost silent propulsion, no noticeable heat under the beds where the motors are, no diesel smell, etc. We don't run the generator to get underway and start sailing. By the time we need the motors back on to pick up a mooring ball, the batteries are charged up by the sun array.

Thank you for providing us with magic propulsion!


8,000 miles later...

Many cruisers have saildrive failures and wonder why they put up with the high maintenance crap. If it can be installed by a do-it-yourself type person, that's huge. How does it make a watertight seal in the saildrive well? Looking at your drawings it appears that you intend on eliminating the saildrive doughnut seal and gasketing your new drive directly to the fiberglass rectangular hole. There are some big benefits to this strategy. No longer will there be a large well under the doughnut seal filled with sea water and oysters. This removes considerable weight and other trouble. When pricing, consider what a cruiser would have to pay for a new saildrive from Volvo. If a new Electric Yacht motor/drive combo is comparable in price to a new Volvo saildrive you will find buyers. Even skeptical diesel lovers are impressed with the system on Sunny Ray, and are jealous that I get to play, while they work on their engines.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Gulfstar Sailmaster 39: Converting the sailing vessel Panormos, 21000 lb displacement
San Diego, California
First, I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall end results. As with anything new, there has been a learning curve but the system has performed, not only as quoted but in some cases better than expected. 
Second, I am a sailor. That means I have always had a love/hate relationship with my Diesel.  The second I could switch that noisy smelly hunk of iron off I would. However, the days of “sailing” into your slip are pretty much over, auxiliary power is just a simple reality of modern boating, for safety as well as piece of mind; it’s good to know you have the power if you need it.  
My choice in electric systems was driven by 6 main factors,
1. Ease of installation and maintenance.  
2. Cost.  
3. Programmability of the propulsion and re-generation modes.  
4. Battery options.  
5. Support.  
6. Re-Gen.  
Let’s talk about each of these factors and what they mean to me. 
1.  Installation and Maintenance 
We have ALL been there, just when you needed your engine the most, it fails. A clogged filter, air in the lines. Any number of issues and your “trusty” diesel can have at the worst possible time.  
The beauty of the QuietTorque system is its simple, straight-forward construction and operation. With only one moving part (the belt to drive the shaft) and off the shelf components, your list of “issues” to identify in case of a failure is VERY small, and outside of a basic understanding of how batteries work, no PHD is required. This makes installation, maintenance and trouble shooting fairly simple compared to the combustion alternative. Yearly maintenance consists of checking your belt for wear (although most quality belts should easily last you two to three years), grease a few parts to keep them running smooth, and check your batteries. THAT’S IT! I don’t know about you, but I would rather be sailing than spending a whole day or two on my diesel maintenance every six months.  
As for installation, ONE DAY and you’re up and running. Due to its simple and “component” design, it’s a breeze to change or replace any of the “pieces” if needed by one person. I opted to go with a dual motor system, allowing me the option of running with just one motor if ever one to them failed, giving me redundancy piece of mind. To replace a motor that may have failed, I take off four bolts, drop a new one in and tighten. Could it be simpler?
2.  Cost
Seriously, there are some expensive options out there … and reason for the added cost. These were not issues for me (such as a water tight housing) and those option did not fit my install requirement due to the non-flexible install option (I had a very hard to configure location for the motors). The QuietTorque system had the most flexibility and bang for the buck in my opinion. It was the only option that could program to suit my boat, as well as customize the mounts to fit my space. 
3 & 4. Programmability and Battery options.
The system allows me to set motor and battery parameters from the helm. The QuietTorque system allows you to build an almost “custom” unit.  Having the system programmed to your boats specs allows you to get the most out of the system as well as customize it to your sailing needs. QuietTorque allows the user to program for more power, more re-gen, or a compromise of the two. You also can change battery type, a unique feature for sure. This was important to me as I was unsure how I would be using the system at the end of the install. My first battery bank would be a flooded option, an inexpensive way to start. Now that I have used the system for several years, I have a better feel for the permanent battery type I want. Now that I have experienced the system and know how I like to use it, I feel the flooded work fine, but for the space I have and ease of maintenance I am changing to a different battery configuration. The flooded I have costs very little for my 440 AH bank and is in great shape. I will be able to sell them and get some of the investment back.  Not a bad deal.
5.  Support 
The Team at Electric Yachts has been immensely supportive. The initial install was not without a few glitches, but they were there along the way with me at every step, and often IN PERSON, not just by phone.  
6.  Re-Generation.
WOW! I get incredible re-gen from my system. I have seen as much as 680 watts coming back into the system while sailing at 7 knots. Granted, I have a larger prop and have it tuned for more re-gen, as that was what was important to me. But what that means is that I feed my house bank from my propulsion bank, replenishing not only my propulsion bank, but feeding power to my FRIDGE, keeping the beer cold and good food in the belly of the crew, as well as all my electronics powered. I don’t need a noisy wind generator, a huge solar panel over my head, and all the maintenance and issues associated therewith.
So let’s talk real life performance. How has it gone these last few years?
As for propulsion, my system as configured will push me at almost hull speed, which I rarely use, but glad I have in case of need.
I generally sail in San Diego bay, occasionally open water. The downfall of San Diego bay is if you head out of the bay, the wind is often on your nose and being a heavier boat with a fuller keel, pinching is tough making the journey out of the bay long. However, I now often times throw in a few amps of power to the prop, allowing me to pinch straight up and out of the bay, getting into open water faster. At first I didn’t think I would use the system that way, but I have really come to appreciate it.
Often time in the bay we have races, and dodging them can be a bit frustrating. Not so with my QuietTorque. Just happened a few weeks back, we had a CLOSE call with a racer, but thanks to the electric drive I was able to throw it into gear, pop off to starboard and avoid an ugly afternoon.
With my current 440 AH bank, I have motored for 24 hours at 2.5-3 knots in 3-4 foot seas before depleting the power, impressive in my humble opinion.
I have installed a generator as a back-up charger just in case of emergency at sea, as I would rather have it and never use it than be caught without any options.
SV Panormos, Gulfstar Sailmaster 39
San Diego, CA