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Old 10-01-2020, 11:03 PM
 
1,440 posts, read 1,348,845 times
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My wife has been getting into sailing and it seems like we might start a looking into creating a owner partnership with some friends and family for an affordable 30'-40' sailboat. Since I'm concerned about the emissions, maintenance, and weight of running a diesel motor, I thought it would be a good idea to strip out the existing system and replace it with an electric motor (with regen capabilities), inverter, and batteries.

I've seen a few legacy companies with electric retrofit kits, but I was wondering if it would be more beneficial (more power) to use a drive unit from a Tesla or other EV. I've seen low-miled motors from the SmartEV for as low as $800. Would there be any disadvantages to using an automotive EV motor such as increased corrosion?

As for batteries, traditionally marine batteries typically use deep-cycle lead-acid batteries that are joined in series or parallel connections. Is there a downside to using Li-ion battery modules from a Tesla, other EV, or NiMH battery from a hybrid car? I believe one Tesla battery module would be good for 5.2kWh (233Ah) @22.2V with a 58lb mass.

Ideally, the boat would sail under electric power through harbors/marinas, optional while traveling upwind to reduce the need for tacking/gybing, or to get maneuver to catch a current. Meanwhile, the boat would sail downwind by windpower alone while the propeller regenerates the batteries in conjunction with a corrosion-resistant solar array.

I'd love to get some input while I'm still in the planning phase.

Here are some random links and stories that I've been looking at lately:

Tesla Exec electrifies his sailboat:
Charged EVs | Tesla exec electrifies his sailboat with Torqeedo hybrid drive

Regenerative propulsion:
Regenerative Electric Propulsion - Call of the Sea

Sad story about CO death while boating:
Mom shares warning after son, 9, dies of carbon monoxide poisoning on lake trip
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Old 10-02-2020, 02:03 PM
 
Location: on the wind
12,928 posts, read 6,444,509 times
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You could also learn how to maneuver the boat under sail in each of those conditions. What do you think boaters did before the ICE? They used the wind. The freest, cleanest energy there is. Any engine, no matter the type, will add a lot of maintenance. Engines quit at the worst possible moments no matter how they're powered. My family always had some sort of sailboat including one as large as 40'. We never put any sort of auxiliary motor on any of them. We all learned to use the wind or deal with the lack of it. Those skills can be used at any time. A boat designed to sail is ten times as pleasant under sail as it is under power. Train yourself not to rely on a motor...that way you'll use it so seldom how it generates power may not matter.
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:51 AM
 
3,709 posts, read 1,182,793 times
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"Affordable" 30-40ft boat of any kind is an oxymoron,they don't exist. Got to have maneuvering power of some kind otherwise it's just bumper cars, electric sounds great but a custom install might take some cash. Buddy with 38ft and diesel says dock maneuvers are "relaxing" but I think he's crazy...........
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
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Personally a hybrid.... 3 cyc Yanmar diesel electric would be best. Torqeedo makes electric outboards (kickers) but likely to be too small. Maybe https://www.elcomotoryachts.com/ would work since they make larger power plants.

Sounds like and idea that will take good application skills or lots of time and money.
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo's North County
2,540 posts, read 833,779 times
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How about a sail boat with no motor/engine at all? (I dunno if that's even legal, anymore.)

Anyway, if you think a 30-40' vessel is going to be "affordable: then you may have enough resources to keep it afloat.

Croatia is a favorite destination for sailors...
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Old 10-04-2020, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
6,328 posts, read 5,476,985 times
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Most marina's these days require some form of power for maneuvering.
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Old 10-04-2020, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Coastal Mid-Atlantic
5,209 posts, read 3,010,310 times
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I use to work for Volvo Penta. We sold lots of small diesel motors used on sailboats, equipped with a small brass collapsible prop. For dock maneuvers etc. I live close to the Intracoastal waterway. It can go for miles and miles thats tree lined, no way to get the wind. They putter along on the auxiliary diesel until hitting open waters.

Last edited by RcHydro; 10-04-2020 at 08:02 AM..
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Old 10-05-2020, 11:55 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
4,729 posts, read 1,339,443 times
Reputation: 2896
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwong7 View Post
My wife has been getting into sailing and it seems like we might start a looking into creating a owner partnership with some friends and family for an affordable 30'-40' sailboat. Since I'm concerned about the emissions, maintenance, and weight of running a diesel motor, I thought it would be a good idea to strip out the existing system and replace it with an electric motor (with regen capabilities), inverter, and batteries.
'We might start looking' (with other people, no less) while simultaneously planning to replace the diesel engine (on a sailboat you don't yet co-own, lol) is clearly beyond ahead of yourself (and your potential 'partners') - particularly relative to sailing i.e. 'off the beaten track' (for most) vs. motorsailing/yachting. How will it primarily be used - not just by you, but by your friends/family as well? What do you enjoy about sailing, in and of itself?

That said, although I know you didn't ask, I receive notifications on a few sailing apps which are (somewhat) filled with people (and drama/legal issues) who invested in a sailboat with a partner(s); I don't advise it. What about a bareboat charter (similar to leasing a vehicle) or shared leasing? It would give you opportunity to assess whether you 'might want to' purchase - or not. Additionally, by actually sailing/trying different options (as in shared leasing), you'd have a better feel/understanding for type/ease of maneuverability (and how often you even utilize an engine, motor or regenerating hybrid); you may find you rarely do (or at least not enough to make it an issue to 'replace'). You'd be able to acquire invaluable skill/experience sans the investment/headache that which is entwined with other people.

Would you even think about purchasing a car with other people; and then, plan to replace anything (before you know what's on it) or before actually driving it, lol? It's certainly a bizarre approach.
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Old 12-15-2020, 12:34 AM
 
11,370 posts, read 47,103,231 times
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It sounds like you're very new to sailing, perhaps with very little sailing experience.

If so, a 30-40' sailboat is a daunting proposition to learn to sail on and deal with seas/weather and boat handling in many locales.

I would suggest that you look into a more modest sailboat in the 22'-25' range by yourselves and not in a partnership.

There are many boats in this size with a wide range of sailing capabilities, utility, and performance to be had at modest cost. Many good boats have dropped to their lowest values already and you'll likely be able to resell it when the time comes to move on ... if you do ... without taking a loss. These boats tend to be easier to launch/retrieve, rig, maintain than bigger craft, sail, and are handier around marina's or docks or launching facilities. They are seaworthy across a wide range of conditions and offer reasonable accommodations for weekend cruising if that's your intended use.

As well, most of the boats of this size are handily powered with a small outboard motor. Realistically, you'll find yourself using it very minimally for most sailing days as these boats are generally well capable of maneuvering in light breezes as well as heavier winds. I've many friends that don't use a couple of gallons of gas each year's sailing season on such boats.

Popular boats in this category range from Catalina 22 (cruiser) to J-24's (cruiser/racer), along with many other boats of quality construction. Boats in this group in good condition are many many thousands less to buy and maintain than boats in the 30-40' range. I see Catalina 22's and J-24's in good condition available for a couple thousand through 7,000 range with many years of service left in them at modest cost.

You'll be able to learn to sail and boat handling in these boats, and figure out if sailing is your "cup 'o tea". Better to do so, IMO, than to make a big commitment with a group of people and then discover that it may not be something you want to do.

As mentioned above by another poster, there's no such thing as an inexpensive/cheap 30-40' sailboat, especially when it comes to maintenance, rigging, sails, repairs, and gear. They're orders of magnitude bigger than the small production boats. Many new folk in the boating game don't appreciate the huge difference that comes about with only a couple of feet longer hull ... and how much more it costs.
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Old 01-23-2021, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA USA
335 posts, read 125,392 times
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I learned to sail on a Windmill 16, a small wooden racer, with no engine. One thing it taught me was to plan ahead. Don't go down that channel 'cause it will be very difficult to sail out of it. Then came a Catalina 22, with a Honda 7hp outboard. That was a kick, the first boat I sailed to Catalina Island. It was like I'd sailed to a foreign port. Then came a Catalina 30, with a little two-banger diesel, then we bought the boat we planned to sail off to someplace on, a Beneteau 40. Made it to Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, but what with work and the economic downturn, couldn't justify the $10k nut, and sold it cheap. I've looked for a partnership here in SoCal for years and couldn't find one. They're common in PNW and Bay Area, but not here. My advice is to start small, it will make you a better sailor.
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