Sailing, Drinking and Saving the World
Unknown to many, sailing boats, while being exciting places to get drunk, are occasionally used to, well, sail! Sailing is an eternally popular pastime filled with romantic notions of the salt, sea and sun. Today’s seafarers can choose from paddling dinghy’s to landing their helicopters on massive transatlantic maga-boats. Though there are many popular vessels, the staple vehicle of the maritime world remains the standard sailing yacht.
Yachts can vary in length, mast height and crucially how much booze can be stowed aboard. However each of them usually carries a dark passenger on every journey. It is an expensive, dirty, noisy and polluting diesel engine.
With the dawn of environmentally friendly initiatives and technological development, the maritime world has stood up and taken notice. Electric conversion options are being explored by many a private owner. Companies in the USA such as Mastervolt have started developing electric propulsion systems for the boating community. Systems such as the Sea-EV plug into the existing propshaft, making for an easy replacement. Similarly, entire boats are being designed from the hull up with green propulsion in mind. EcoBoats, in Australia have been importing electric canal and rivercraft since 2008 as well as being specialists in green alternatives for boats. They provide highly viable options to turn a sputtering, noisy journey into an efficient, tranquil cruise.
Available on the market today are three basic options to perform an electric conversion on your boat. The first is to install an electric motor such as the DriveMaster 3.5 Ultra with a basic battery pack. This would suit casual or weekend sailors looking to save on fuel and maintenance associated with diesel engines. Besides having near negligible maintenance costs, electric engines have many advantages such as taking up a fraction of the space and operating at a whisper. I should mention for clarity they do no harm to our precious waters.
The second option is the hybrid electric system. This features an electric motor which attaches to the existing diesel engine. Boats with an array of electronic systems or those required to perform over longer ranges can benefit from a hybrid setup.
The third and seemingly most natural option is the complete electric/solar configuration. It features an electric motor, bank of batteries for stored power, and solar panels to recharge while moored or on the water. This setup makes a boat completely self reliant, removing the need for on-shore recharge and even offers a possibility of limitless propulsion out at sea.
So next time you’re out the water, chat up the man behind the wheel about a cheaper, friendlier alternative. Considering boating’s remarkable connection to nature, a vessel powered entirely by sun, wind and waves is a beautiful thing.
By Max Miller