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Old 25-06-2013, 18:41   #16
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

And it's kinda hard to raise the main with that solar panel sitting on top of it lol
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Old 25-06-2013, 23:25   #17
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
For sure it won't generate more electric than it consumes under engine, but having a finite range is the same as for diesel....it's a question of how (and where) the boat is used that makes the EP set up practical or not. From my scan through the listing seems that the Engel is the only Electric item which would be running permanently.

Me has had a long standing itch to try EP (and my boat at 30' is on the heavy old cow end of the sailing spectrum!)....I would probably take a generator onboard as a comfort blanket on range, at least intially........if that ever gets beyond the pondering stage I will PM you to come have a looksee (or for a tow back in!).
It's not really about finite range - if you can keep sailing you can "refuel", which diesels certainly can't. It is more the actual range when the engine is worked hard, coupled with the power the engine can generate. An engine needs to be able to take you away from dangerous situations, such as motoring for a couple of days if you've lost your rigging in heavy weather. I'm pretty sure this set-up wouldn't cut it in a situation like this. Plus, if you're in a storm for several days, your electricity intake is limited to the impeller as the solar panels will be useless.

BTW - not only the Engl would be permanently on in a situation like that, also radar and AIS (and therefore chartplotter).

I think for the moment, the best generator you can think of is a in-board diesel engine. But it certainly is very interesting that people are trying and undoubtedly a viable set-up is getting closer and closer. It would be great to do away with diesel engines.

Thanks for the invite - would be honoured when the time comes.


Onno
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Old 26-06-2013, 00:06   #18
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As much as I love the idea, and really would love to see this work. I'm thinking it would it would require 1000ah @ 48 (or ideally more) volts of LiFePo (or better, not yet available) batteries. I'm no electrical engineer, and I was raised being told that using the motor was the ultimate expression of lubberliness, so I'm not looking to motor when the wind dies. But no way does this boat have the battery pack it needs without the seller mentioning it. In fact I'd bet they're selling because they don't want to shell out 15boat bucks(or more) for the batteries they need.

At this time I only think this concept is workable on a multi million dollar cat. I'll let you know for sure when I win the lottery.
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Old 26-06-2013, 05:54   #19
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Originally Posted by nimblemotors View Post
One horsepower is about 750 watts. So a 400 watt solar panel in ideal conditions can output 1/2 horsepower. This is barely enough to get the boat to move, so it will really only have the batteries for propulsion. The electric motor in it is about 7-15hp.
The ad is a "sales pitch" for sure..
+1

MS Turanor solar circumnavigating is also impressive however we have to translate that into Sailboat seaworthy- a completely different need. I see a lot of Honda generators out there next to electric motors.

I hope this technology keeps advancing. When you can scratch a line through "fuel bill" and "mechanic" the long-term cruising equation changes for many sailors.
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Old 26-06-2013, 06:15   #20
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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there is no such thing as 100% free energy wow
There is such a thing as free energy. Sunlight and wind are free; no per-unit charge for either. But those pesky conversion and storage charges will get ya.

Efficient storage is the grail. There are some interesting battery technologies approaching commercial viability, and research is on-going. I'm expecting to see something hit the market in the next 10 years that could be a game-changer.
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Old 26-06-2013, 06:30   #21
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

Having had electric propulsion for over five years on my own 30 foot 8 ton monohull. This boat seems a little on the light side. My 30 foot sailboat does fine with a Thoosa 9000 system. This one is a little lower in power being a 7000. I don't know if I would call it "self sufficient" because it has 200 watts of solar. But, at anchor along with a wind turbine it would keep things topped up. But, it is a sailboat and if you do sail and only use the motor for harbor entering and docking it would probably work just fine. It does have regen so you would theoretically could be charging the batteries while under sail too. Though personally I would carry a Honda 2000i generator on board for backup charging and occasional extended motoring . I can motor easily at 3 knots using just 900 watts power until the fuel runs out if I really had too. In short I would ignore the "self sufficient" selling point. But, if you want a low maintenance propulsion system and do like sailing rather than motoring it would probably work. I am sold on electric propulsion but, it may not be for everyone. I'd do a good check on the batteries to see their condition before making an offer. At the right price it could be a real good deal.
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Old 26-06-2013, 13:19   #22
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Having had electric propulsion for over five years on my own 30 foot 8 ton monohull.
Just re-read your blog posts about the conversion to EP Well worth a looksee for anyone thinking of doing same - or just nosey!

THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: Going electric: Part 1: The why and how

Have you written anything like a 6 year on report, with benefit of hindsight (in one place?! - I appreciate you have mentioned EP a few times over the years).

TBH am not sure if my desire for EP is entirely about the change in power source, oh how so much I would love to really clean that engine bay
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Old 26-06-2013, 13:51   #23
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

I seem to recall that the Pardies went cruising on a boat called "Seraphyn" and only had an oar as auxiliary power. I have known a couple of purist cruisers who only had small panels and a single low amp hour battery for nav lights and one couple who had a small electric drive to enter and leave harbor. I think what you can get by with tends to be related to how badly you need to sail and the skills you acquire once you commit to getting out their. some of us will feel quiet secure to depart harbor for a trip around the world with the most basic of vessels and crudest nav equipment and others require a full suite of triply redundant power, sail, and latest electronic nav equipment. If you are of the first party the subject vessel is more than adequate and even luxuriously appointed, if of the second it is obviously inadequate even to sit at dockside and entertain yourself. To each their own and the human spirit and the need to adventure is unquenchable.
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Old 26-06-2013, 19:38   #24
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Just re-read your blog posts about the conversion to EP Well worth a looksee for anyone thinking of doing same - or just nosey!

THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: Going electric: Part 1: The why and how

Have you written anything like a 6 year on report, with benefit of hindsight (in one place?! - I appreciate you have mentioned EP a few times over the years).

TBH am not sure if my desire for EP is entirely about the change in power source, oh how so much I would love to really clean that engine bay
David:

LOL one does get use to the smell of clean on board with electric propulsion. Rolls of shop towels last a lot longer on board too! I've been thinking about a five year look back. The truth is I have found EP gets rather boring as there is really not a lot of maintenance once the the system is installed. I did inspect the brushes last year and they still have quite a bit of life in them. I also just did some tests last week after I splashed the boat to get some speed and amp numbers with the clean hull. I plan to post about that soon. For me the big surprise is how I use the EP and sail in combination sometime. For example using minimal power I just turn the prop enough to negate the prop drag and get a nice bump in speed in light winds. I would never have done that when I had a diesel. Realized I don't have to invest in a folding prop. Saved a couple of hundred dollars there alone.
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Old 26-06-2013, 20:03   #25
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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At this time I only think this concept is workable on a multi million dollar cat. I'll let you know for sure when I win the lottery.
I don't plan on spending anything close to a million on my solar powered gas-electric hybrid cat. A used Prius hybrid drivetrain is $10k. Solar panels are $10k, batteries $20k. These are about worst-case costs.

The issue really is you want a large space for solar panels.
The 4Kw of panels I have needs like 700 sq ft.
Impossible for a traditional sailboat.

My boat will not have sails (or mast or rigging).
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Old 26-06-2013, 23:13   #26
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I'm not really a cat lover, but they sure offer a lot of space for mounting panels. Prius power sounds cool.
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Old 27-06-2013, 15:13   #27
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
I've been thinking about a five year look back. The truth is I have found EP gets rather boring as there is really not a lot of maintenance once the the system is installed.
I think a "Boring" 5 year report does have value in itself

How have you got on with (got through?) the batteries?
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Old 27-06-2013, 16:29   #28
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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Just found a listing on Craigslist here in Hawaii for:
100% Self-Sufficient Sailboat
All motor and cooking, electric powered by solar & wind generators . . .
What do you think? Anybody with any experience with a setup like this?

Check it out . . .

100% Self-Sufficient Sailboat for Sale

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
:d ork: 480 watts is enough for a dingy, maybe.
i had planned a 65' cat. with solar power covering 99% of the usage.
i was needing over 40,000 watts of power. that was for 15HP.
480 watts would cover a nice fridge and freezer thou :P
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Old 28-06-2013, 05:17   #29
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Re: Solar Powered Sailboat - - Is this crazy or possible?

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ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
:d ork: 480 watts is enough for a dingy, maybe.
i had planned a 65' cat. with solar power covering 99% of the usage.
i was needing over 40,000 watts of power. that was for 15HP.
480 watts would cover a nice fridge and freezer thou :P
That's kinda like saying that won't fit a diesel into a sailboat because it won't run forever without refuelling. Or that need to have power for a solid 1000 miles non-stop at full hull speed in all weathers for a diesel to be good enough to even bother fitting.

That may well be true, in that case will need something that carries the tankage - likely that a motorboat

Of course the answer to whether EP will be good idea for most (with present technology) will be a resounding no. But that the same as for whether 65' of Cat is the answer - it clearly is for some and the fact that not for most others is irrelevant. No boat is best at everything for everyone, same for power plant.......for some the ideal is even windpower!
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Old 28-06-2013, 07:34   #30
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DOJ-forget the motor for a minute, this boat boasts an "all electric kitchen". Think you could boil water for a cup of tea with this set up? How about first thing in the morning at a calm (i.e. windless) anchorage? Additionally, with 1/3 of the solar unavailable when under sail, I think one would run at an energy deficit rather quickly, especially in low wind or cloudy conditions. Heating elements are power hogs. I suppose this could be self sufficient if you are one of those people who only eats raw food, but not if you want 3, or any, hot meals per day.

I think the motor presents the same problem. I like EP, but there's just not enough available power on board for the systems, because I seriously doubt anyone would forget to mention a Li battery bank of the size needed for this boat to be self sufficient in a for sale ad. Not too mention the motor is woefully underpowered for a boat of this size, but I think that's already been beat to death in the "Clawing off a lee shore" thread.

I think the point is that the seller is not being honest claiming this boat to be self sufficient. Is it possible? Sure, don't use much power. Reasonably practical? Not really. Comfortable? Fun? Dare I even say luxurious? Definitely not.
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