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Old 17-05-2022, 08:57   #1
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Going electric - change my mind

Alright, I have a 27' sailboat from 1984, with a Volvo Penta MD7B seawater cooled, Saildrive 120S.
The saildrive has multiple issues, and the engine is running without a thermostat, since no one has been able to figure out why it fluctuates wildly in temp with one installed.

I use it for weekend trips and summer holidays, almost always shore power at night, and max 25 nm per day.
I usually use around 20 litres of diesel in a season.

I love the boat, gonna keep it, but something has to be done - propulsion wise.

The boat was originally sold with an 8 HK diesel, even though mine was delivered with an upgrade: MD7B (14 HK). I have never been close to full throttle with it. Normally runs around 1500 rpm giving me 5 knots.

I've been quoted (albeit no one seems to give exact quotes anymore) around 20,000 USD for a new installation of a Volvo D1-13 with S130 drive.

On the other hand I'm looking at an electric propulsion system from ePropulsion. 6 KW pod motor with a 9KWh battery pack and charger. (Shore power remember).
That will be around 15,000 USD including the work done to close the saildrive hole in the bottom of the boat.

So I can save money, and have a what seems to me to a much less complicated system to maintain. Not a plethora of things that can go wrong: generator, pumps of different kinds, fuel contamination, cooling issues etc etc.
I also like the idea of hearing a lot less noise when motoring, and would be happy to trade 1-2 knots of cruise speed on that account.
With the 9KWh battery it will give me plenty of range for the very few becalmed days - as I said, if I am able to sail in almost silence, 3-4 knots is fine with me.

Sales value is not an issue for me, I will keep the boat, and I don't expect to get anything for it when I stop sailing.

So, I'm very close to "add to cart" on the electric system - but I want to hear if I am missing something in my thought process here?
So - go ahead - change my mind

Some info:
The boat: https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/nordship-808

The engine: (6.0 EVO) https://www.epropulsion.com/pod-drive/

The battery: (E175) https://www.epropulsion.com/e-series-batteries/
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Old 17-05-2022, 09:52   #2
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

It just doesn’t make sense to put the money into that boat. You may like the boat, but you’d be way ahead putting same motor into something newer and larger.

The technical challenges have been well covered in other threads.
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Old 17-05-2022, 09:58   #3
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

I don't want a larger boat - it's the perfect size for me, and the sailing I do.
How is "buy a larger boat" relevant to the question?
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Old 17-05-2022, 10:57   #4
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

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Originally Posted by SaylorMade View Post
I don't want a larger boat - it's the perfect size for me, and the sailing I do.
How is "buy a larger boat" relevant to the question?
ROI. Youíre putting $15k into something worth maybe $4k. But itís your boat, and your cash. People who throw good money into low value projects usually fall into two camps: those with poor money management skills, and those flush with cash and who can afford to burn it. Hope youíre the latter.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:02   #5
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

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Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
ROI. Youíre putting $15k into something worth maybe $4k. But itís your boat, and your cash. People who throw good money into low value projects usually fall into two camps: those with poor money management skills, and those flush with cash and who can afford to burn it. Hope youíre the latter.
Wow - just wow......

This is not about money. I could afford a larger boat, but I don't want one.
I want a well kept boat, that fit my sailing needs, and that I can rely on to be useful when I need it.

And I can assure you that you are not finding any boat of my type for 4K USD around here these days, but I will not even entertain that, since this is not about the size of the boat or what it will be worth. I think I covered that part in the question already.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:19   #6
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

You want it - do it.

Best way to learn is to get neck deep into it. Don't forget to come back and report on your experience so others can learn.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:29   #7
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

The only negative I can think of is that you'll be completely dependent on ePropulsion if anything goes wrong. And what if they go out of business?

Maybe that's not an issue - I don't know anything about the company.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:34   #8
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

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The only negative I can think of is that you'll be completely dependent on ePropulsion if anything goes wrong. And what if they go out of business?

Maybe that's not an issue - I don't know anything about the company.
It is a good point, but I think that the battery pack would still be useful if the drive goes bust, so it's not a total loss, or if the battery pack is dead, and the drive is working, it can still be powered by another battery.

But yes, that is a consideration in this market for sure.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:34   #9
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

Well, I see no reason why you shouldn't make the change. However, the prices are a bit steep. Thunderstruck do a range of motors and kits which may turn out to be much cheaper than your current quote.

More of a kit with all the bits are Electric Yacht. They are quite approachable and will give you a quote based on your yacht if you give them the details.

https://electricyacht.com/electric-sailboat-motors/

They offered $1000 off the purchase price during the last winter which might be tempting and give you time this season to have a good think about it.

That leaves the batteries. Have a look at powerwall or server rack 48v batteries on You Tube by Will Prowse.

Good luck and keep in touch, be interesting to hear how you get on.

Pete
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:47   #10
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

Under the circumstances this makes sense to me. For $15k you are getting a boat that you like and that meets your needs. With shore power itís like a golf cart that gets plugged in every night. You donít care about resale value so any limitations (range, speed, recharge time, etc.) arenít relevant. If some day you wanted to mitigate these you could add batteries, solar, regen, etc. at additional cost if it becomes worthwhile for you. I canít address the reliability and expected life of the particular electronic drive system being considered however.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:48   #11
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Well, I see no reason why you shouldn't make the change. However, the prices are a bit steep. Thunderstruck do a range of motors and kits which may turn out to be much cheaper than your current quote.

More of a kit with all the bits are Electric Yacht. They are quite approachable and will give you a quote based on your yacht if you give them the details.

https://electricyacht.com/electric-sailboat-motors/

They offered $1000 off the purchase price during the last winter which might be tempting and give you time this season to have a good think about it.

That leaves the batteries. Have a look at powerwall or server rack 48v batteries on You Tube by Will Prowse.

Good luck and keep in touch, be interesting to hear how you get on.

Pete
Thank you - great input.

Problem with the thrunder-struck solution is, that it will require a shaft, and is not easy to do on this boat (according to a yard).
Electric yachts do some with a saildrive, but I've learned from people that has that kind of solution that quite a lot of power is lost in the drive gears, which may not mean too much on a diesel, but it is expensive on the range when going electric.

Lots of variables in all of this

I have binged on the videos from Will Prowse, he is great !
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:48   #12
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

Just do it
I intend to do the same on my boat in the near future. It doesn't increase the value of my boat and it will cost me a lot of money, but it will give me a lot of joy, and that is the whole point.
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Old 17-05-2022, 11:51   #13
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

So a friend of mine just got a new Free sailboat a Cape Dory 25 and put a 3 hp Epropulsion outboard on it.

Have you every considered that. An outboard. They have Epropulsion 6 hp Outboards also.

I have a 5hp outboard on my boat and it does fine but the Epropulsion 6hp (or 9.9 hp) sure would be nice, clean, and quite replacement for it.

https://www.epropulsion.com/navy/

https://liquidsurfandsail.com/epropu...SABEgKg9vD_BwE

They have like a 75 mile range or so
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Old 17-05-2022, 12:05   #14
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
So a friend of mine just got a new Free sailboat a Cape Dory 25 and put a 3 hp Epropulsion outboard on it.

Have you every considered that. An outboard. They have Epropulsion 6 hp Outboards also.

I have a 5hp outboard on my boat and it does fine but the Epropulsion 6hp (or 9.9 hp) sure would be nice, clean, and quite replacement for it.

https://www.epropulsion.com/navy/

https://liquidsurfandsail.com/epropu...SABEgKg9vD_BwE

They have like a 75 mile range or so
Yes I believe the outboards are more or less the same motors as their pod drives, just packaged differently

I am fortunate to live only 400 meters away from my boat, so I often go for just a quick ride in the evening. I therefor try to optimize the time from leaving my home until I am on the water. And with an outboard it would be too much of a hazzle for me to get going. (Putting it on the transom, install the battery etc.) My brother has an outboard (Torqeedo), and he is happy with it though
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Old 17-05-2022, 12:13   #15
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Re: Going electric - change my mind

Way easy to take care of and a cinch to put to bed for the winter if you have to do that. I love mine and accept the limitations of the range by buying a suitcase generator for the one time I have needed it!
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