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Old 12-02-2007, 16:09   #31
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Tony - will you be down in the BVIs late June / early July? We're down there then and assuming we can coordinate without messing our schedule, you're more than welcome to take Dignity out for a spin to give you a chance to compare. If you're up to this, send me a PM.
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Old 12-02-2007, 18:59   #32
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Thanks - I've just sent you a pm! Tony
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Old 12-02-2007, 19:11   #33
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I'm keen to generate some first hand oppinion. Yours should be interesting due to your prior experiences. Maybe not early enough for some but we've got to get the boats down there first
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Old 14-02-2007, 19:47   #34
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All Electric

Tony, Thanks for contributing to this forum.

I've got a set of design goals that include an all electric cat and since I have another year or so before I need to make a purchase I'm hoping that the technology matures in that time.

African Cat's claims to have 6 hours capacity/range at 50% power available with the lithium batteries. As someone that's lived and cruised on board for 18 months I don't think that's too a big limitation. With a large solar bank and twin wind generators I think that would be acceptable?

I'm curious what your thoughts are on technical limitation that made you opt for a hybrid solution and I'm also wondering if you were to become a live-aboard or spend a lot of time on the water whether you would consider living without a genset as pure electric cat?

Tim
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Old 17-02-2007, 01:39   #35
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Miami boat show - so far...

(Hmmm. Frustrating - I typed this all in once, then at the last minute, poof. Oh well, here we are again!)

It's cold in Miami - where's the sun?

For the last two days I've been sitting on Electric Leopard at the show yakking with people about the journey to electric. I've met large numbers of people and press and it's actually been fun - there's a LOT of interest in electric power. If you're here, come on down! (A hot coffee would be welcome - black, no sugar ! )

Yesterday, The Moorings held a press conference on the boat and about 20-25 press showed up. Lex Raas (The Moorings), John Robertson (Robertson & Caine), Kevin Alston (Glacier Bay) and I each spoke briefly, and there were a bunch of questions about the boat, its systems, etc.

Two articles have made it out so far that I've seen, one in International Boat Industry (IBI) - see here - and a preliminary article in Cruising World - see here. I think we'll see more.

A Glacier Bay photographer was wondering around, and I asked him to grab some better photos of the boat, systems, etc. than I had. I'll ask him to put a selection on a CD/ROM, along with some other stuff of interest. If anyone would like a CD, just send me an email or a private message with your address and I'll ask GB to mail one to you.

The main question that keeps coming up when people come on the boat is some variant of "How long does it take to actually regenerate/recharge the batteries when you're sailing?" (Perhaps they've just come from the Lagoon L420 booth?).

My answer is: "We don't have a (propulsion) battery bank on this boat, so you don't/can't regenerate. This is not a hybrid/regen configuration like the L420".

This gives people pause, so then I go on and explain that we took a conscious design decision not to configure the system for regen operation.

The typical usage mode for my boat is charter operation. This means that, typically, sails are shortish (1-4 hours) before the grandkids want to go snorkeling, so you won't pick up enough regen/recharge power during such a short run to be really worth the hassles of a large battery bank. We decided that Electric Leopards needed to be designed for operational simplicity, higher reliability, lower maintenance and lighter weight, since my boat, and, I expect, most of her R&C-built sisterships to come, will be heading towards the charter fleet of The Moorings.

There are some private buyers who are cruisers/liveaboards, and I tell them that, if they're expecting their use to involve longer passages under sail, then regen/battery banks might be worth considering, but even there, it's by no means a foregone conclusion - I'm not sure that I'd opt for that approach on my own boat.

By the way, the GB/OSSA system was designed for and can be configured with battery bank storage for propulsion and regen - the design was done to support this - we just didn't deploy it on my boat because it's the wrong design center for the expected mode of use.

Well, that's where we are so far. Continuing the saga of the good, the bad and the ugly, I just heard that there were two more items of experience "news" on my boat on the way here.
  • The good: Glacier Bay decided to drop in a brand new, shiny gen in Fort Lauderdale before the boat came to the show. The original gen was a pre-production unit that was not quite developing full power and was looking a little tired after a year of use, so they decided to put their best foot forward and replace the gen with a new one. (Hurt me, hurt me!) The new unit develops the full 25KW and, reportedly, the extra few KW make a perceptible difference to the feel of the boat under power (as experienced on the way down here from Fort Lauderdale). The switchout was simple and the new gen worked immediately. The weather coming down here was quite rough, and the gang said they were grateful for the extra power. I'm looking foward to checking this out myself shortly.
  • The bad: Something happened on the way down and the charger/inverter failed. I wasn't on the boat at the time, so I'm not sure what the exact story is yet - I'll debrief after the show. They switched out the unit with a new one. We know (see my previous posts) that we've got the thing mounted in the wrong location on my boat - it needs to be moved to a more-protected place inside the boat or inside one of the hulls, which, I suspect, would have prevented the problem, whatever it was. Anyway, more later once I gather the facts. I'm pretty sure this is not a Victron product problem or a systems design issue, but simply a wrong decision on where to mount the device on the boat. An "improvement opportunity".
By the way, if anyone wants to experience the boat first hand, The Moorings announced a $1,000 cashback offer to people who want to charter Electric Leopard in BVI to evaluate the electric side of things. They'll send you the check after you charter the boat for a week if you'll take the trouble to write up some detailed feedback. If any of you were thinking of doing this to check things out, this might take some of the pain out of it. Just thought I'd mention it. (Some limitations apply, and I think it's limited to first 15, but it's a serious offer).

Well, I think that's it so far and it's time to catch some zzzz's,

Tony
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Old 17-02-2007, 01:40   #36
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Miami boat show - so far...

(Hmmm. Frustrating - I typed this all in once, then at the last minute, poof. Oh well, here we are again!)

It's cold in Miami - where's the sun?

For the last two days I've been sitting on Electric Leopard at the show yakking with people about the journey to electric. I've met large numbers of people and press and it's actually been fun - there's a LOT of interest in electric power. If you're here, come on down! (A hot coffee would be welcome - black, no sugar ! )

Yesterday, The Moorings held a press conference on the boat and about 20-25 press showed up. Lex Raas (The Moorings), John Robertson (Robertson & Caine), Kevin Alston (Glacier Bay) and I each spoke briefly, and there were a bunch of questions about the boat, its systems, etc.

Two articles have made it out so far that I've seen, one in International Boat Industry (IBI) - see here - and a preliminary article in Cruising World - see here. I think we'll see more.

A Glacier Bay photographer was wondering around, and I asked him to grab some better photos of the boat, systems, etc. than I had. I'll ask him to put a selection on a CD/ROM, along with some other stuff of interest. If anyone would like a CD, just send me an email or a private message with your address and I'll ask GB to mail one to you.

The main question that keeps coming up when people come on the boat is some variant of "How long does it take to actually regenerate/recharge the batteries when you're sailing?" (Perhaps they've just come from the Lagoon L420 booth?).

My answer is: "We don't have a (propulsion) battery bank on this boat, so you don't/can't regenerate. This is not a hybrid/regen configuration like the L420".

This gives people pause, so then I go on and explain that we took a conscious design decision not to configure the system for regen operation.

The typical usage mode for my boat is charter operation. This means that, typically, sails are shortish (1-4 hours) before the grandkids want to go snorkeling, so you won't pick up enough regen/recharge power during such a short run to be really worth the hassles of a large battery bank. We decided that Electric Leopards needed to be designed for operational simplicity, higher reliability, lower maintenance and lighter weight, since my boat, and, I expect, most of her R&C-built sisterships to come, will be heading towards the charter fleet of The Moorings.

There are some private buyers who are cruisers/liveaboards, and I tell them that, if they're expecting their use to involve longer passages under sail, then regen/battery banks might be worth considering, but even there, it's by no means a foregone conclusion - I'm not sure that I'd opt for that approach on my own boat.

By the way, the GB/OSSA system was designed for and can be configured with battery bank storage for propulsion and regen - the design was done to support this - we just didn't deploy it on my boat because it's the wrong design center for the expected mode of use.

Well, that's where we are so far. Continuing the saga of the good, the bad and the ugly, I just heard that there were two more items of experience "news" on my boat on the way here.
  • The good: Glacier Bay decided to drop in a brand new, shiny gen in Fort Lauderdale before the boat came to the show. The original gen was a pre-production unit that was not quite developing full power and was looking a little tired after a year of use, so they decided to put their best foot forward and replace the gen with a new one. (Hurt me, hurt me!) The new unit develops the full 25KW and, reportedly, the extra few KW make a perceptible difference to the feel of the boat under power (as experienced on the way down here from Fort Lauderdale). The switchout was simple and the new gen worked immediately. The weather coming down here was quite rough, and the gang said they were grateful for the extra power. I'm looking foward to checking this out myself shortly.
  • Something happened on the way down and the charger/inverter failed. I wasn't on the boat at the time, so I'm not sure what the exact story is yet - I'll debrief after the show. They switched out the unit with a new one. We know (see my previous posts) that we've got the thing mounted in the wrong location on my boat - it needs to be moved to a more-protected place inside the boat or inside one of the hulls, which, I suspect, would have prevented the problem, whatever it was. Anyway, more later once I gather the facts. I'm pretty sure this is not a Victron product problem or a systems design issue, but simply a wrong decision on where to mount the device on the boat. An "improvement opportunity".
By the way, if anyone wants to experience the boat first hand, The Moorings announced a $1,000 cashback offer to people who want to charter Electric Leopard in BVI to evaluate the electric side of things. They'll send you the check after you charter the boat for a week if you'll take the trouble to write up some detailed feedback. If any of you were thinking of doing this to check things out, this might take some of the pain out of it. Just thought I'd mention it. (Some limitations apply, and I think it's limited to first 15, but it's a serious offer).

Well, I think that's it so far and it's time to catch some zzzz's,

Tony
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Old 17-02-2007, 03:05   #37
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Diesel/electric fuel efficiency issues

I just found a pretty interesting paper Glacier Bay wrote discussing fuel efficiency issues in diesel/electric boat setups. Thought you might like to see it - click here.

It really highlights why we need to do the prop testing work on my boat - I know we've got the wrong props on at the moment. This could make a big, big difference, not so much to max speed (which I expect to be about the same: 8-8.5 knots), but to burning much less fuel at max speed.

So the next steps in the Electric Leopard project are prop testing (in about a week in Fort Lauderdale, if we can set it up in time) to settle on a better prop setup, followed by careful fuel consumption measurements with those right props on.

Enjoy the paper,

Tony
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Old 17-02-2007, 06:18   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyWest
The main question that keeps coming up when people come on the boat is some variant of "How long does it take to actually regenerate/recharge the batteries when you're sailing?" (Perhaps they've just come from the Lagoon L420 booth?).

My answer is: "We don't have a (propulsion) battery bank on this boat, so you don't/can't regenerate. This is not a hybrid/regen configuration like the L420".

This gives people pause, so then I go on and explain that we took a conscious design decision not to configure the system for regen operation.

The typical usage mode for my boat is charter operation. This means that, typically, sails are shortish (1-4 hours) before the grandkids want to go snorkeling, so you won't pick up enough regen/recharge power during such a short run to be really worth the hassles of a large battery bank. We decided that Electric Leopards needed to be designed for operational simplicity, higher reliability, lower maintenance and lighter weight, since my boat, and, I expect, most of her R&C-built sisterships to come, will be heading towards the charter fleet of The Moorings.

There are some private buyers who are cruisers/liveaboards, and I tell them that, if they're expecting their use to involve longer passages under sail, then regen/battery banks might be worth considering, but even there, it's by no means a foregone conclusion - I'm not sure that I'd opt for that approach on my own boat.
The implication here that hybrid systems are less suitable for charter is incorrect. True - for short hops, the amount of energy recovered through regeneration may not, on every day, recover that used to get on and off moorings - particularly if the charterer motors for longer before putting up the sails and/or is a high consumer when not sailing.

But this misses the bigger picture. Your typical charterer is going to be running the genset for the hot showers, the aircon, their hairdryers, etc. The hybrid cats (those existing and no doubt those to come) have the benefit of being able to recharge the propulsion banks while all this is going on. Next day, they'll be slipping off nice and quiet. I believe this will genuinely appeal to charterers as well as those who will be attracted to the challenge of minimising the use of fuel over the course of their charter.

Of course, the hybrid cats also have the advantage of regeneration on the longer sails so they become very attractive for owners who have aspirations to liveaboard full time or even part time while their cat is in charter.

I still think the Diesel Electric approach is a step up from diesel and will certainly attract people looking for something different and greener. However, for the reasons stated above, I don't agree with the implications that the straight diesel-electric is better for charter than the diesel-electric-hybrid. Time, of course, will tell.
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Old 17-02-2007, 06:51   #39
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Have to say I agree with Ess on this (see my previous post) But it is encouraging to see that the Leopard is able to be set up with a re-gen mode.

Tony West - How difficult would this mod be?

Tony
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Old 18-02-2007, 02:03   #40
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OSSA Powerlite in a "hybrid" configuration

I'll see if I can't get someone from GB to join in here.

To clarify my earlier post, I meant that you can configure an OSSA Powerlite system with batteries, rather than you can configure an E-Leopard with the propulsion battery bank.

Personally, I'm not sure how big a deal it is to add batteries in an OSSA configuration. My sense is it would probably not be a big deal, since the system is DC already, so you could hook 'em up to the power bus. The issue will be careful charger management, I suspect - let's see.

As for where to put batteries on the Leopard 43, that'd take a serious design look. There is a fair amount of unused space in various places around the boat, but it'd be key to plan where you want to locate the weight. As far as I know, The Moorings/Robertson & Caine are not considering this.

Tony

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Originally Posted by bvimatelot
Have to say I agree with Ess on this (see my previous post) But it is encouraging to see that the Leopard is able to be set up with a re-gen mode.

Tony West - How difficult would this mod be?

Tony
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Old 18-02-2007, 02:24   #41
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Hybrids for Charter

You're right, if you have a battery bank and you run the gen at all, for any purpose, then it'd gain charge from the gen, so using aircon, for example, would also charge up the bank. Lesser things like hair dryers are supported off a 1.5KW inverter off the (3x160AH) house bank on my boat.

Charterers do, I think, care about using less fuel. Caveat: We still have to actually measure consumption on my boat, but... it seems to be very light on fuel use. Last time I was in BVI, for example. I was down there for about a week running the gen and motoring around a lot (trying to break the system), and I got through about half a tank in that time (i.e. about 20-25 gals, perhaps). This is not data, but it is encouraging.

The GB design approaches fuel efficiency by taking a different systems design approach: Work on the gen motor fuel efficiency first (next-gen motor design with common rail injection, etc.), use a variable speed DC approach so the gen doesn;t run at constant speed, even when you're lightly loading it, avoid voltage conversions/rectification losses, higher volts, less current loss, etc. These investments add up.

The fleet operator (The Moorings, in my case), will care about less cost, complexity, maintenance, and higher reliability. Here, it looks to me that the benefit of a battery-less OSSA config is that it's pretty simple -- I think the KISS principle applies.

The weak link on my boat is wrong props at the mo, and we need to just fix that.

Tony

Quote:
Originally Posted by ess105
The implication here that hybrid systems are less suitable for charter is incorrect. True - for short hops, the amount of energy recovered through regeneration may not, on every day, recover that used to get on and off moorings - particularly if the charterer motors for longer before putting up the sails and/or is a high consumer when not sailing.

But this misses the bigger picture. Your typical charterer is going to be running the genset for the hot showers, the aircon, their hairdryers, etc. The hybrid cats (those existing and no doubt those to come) have the benefit of being able to recharge the propulsion banks while all this is going on. Next day, they'll be slipping off nice and quiet. I believe this will genuinely appeal to charterers as well as those who will be attracted to the challenge of minimising the use of fuel over the course of their charter.

Of course, the hybrid cats also have the advantage of regeneration on the longer sails so they become very attractive for owners who have aspirations to liveaboard full time or even part time while their cat is in charter.

I still think the Diesel Electric approach is a step up from diesel and will certainly attract people looking for something different and greener. However, for the reasons stated above, I don't agree with the implications that the straight diesel-electric is better for charter than the diesel-electric-hybrid. Time, of course, will tell.
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Old 18-02-2007, 02:29   #42
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Miami show today

Miami show (at Bayside) was a zoo today (I mean, yesterday). The weather was sunny but cold. I met a few cruisersforum readers, which was fun. Stop on by! We're doing test rides after the show on my boat, by the way...

Tony
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Old 18-02-2007, 02:45   #43
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Solar/OSSA Hybrid Cat

Wouldn't you know - just after my previous post, I saw a google ad and when I clicked on it, look what came up.

Click here - a power cat with solar/OSSA/batteries...a nice system config diagram is here

I like their tagline - "Let the sun set you free!"

Tony
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Old 18-02-2007, 04:55   #44
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Tony,

You are right about your point on simplicity - there may well be a lower maintenance edge that the deisel electric design has.

A couple of points you have made which I still don't understand.

1) You associate variable speed with variable fuel consumption. This is also true for constant speed generation. Onan publishes a table for their constant speed generators that shows different fuel consumption depending on load.

2) You mention lack of a need for rectification with the GB. In terms of my understanding of electrical generation I get about as far as understanding the basic principals of a dynamo. These generate AC. Are you saying the GB genset generates DC directly without a need for rectification / smoothing, etc? Or is the same circuitry just embedded within the genset?
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Old 18-02-2007, 06:40   #45
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Tony, I am wondering how you feel about the Moorings ability to maintain the system. I am a long time Moorings owner. They have big problems at the Tortola base with electrics. Just getting them to fix simple items like a broken tach is like pulling teeth. When they do fix electrics it is more often then not jury rigged in some way or improper parts are used. The more complex the boat the bigger the problem seems to be. The 4700 with the genset and air is an excellent example. The Moorings has had to replace many of the gensets because they don't do proper oil changes and jury rig repairs. They also don't have any records of when they do oil changes ect.. Do you believe they can keep this system up in charter?
George
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