Mailport July 2014 Issue

Mailport: July 2014

Electric Conversion

Photo by Kay Goode and courtesy of Ken Jacks

Impressed with the quiet power of the Torqeedo Cruise electric outboard, reader Ken Jacks is investigating a conversion to electric propulsion aboard his 1985 Aloha 8.2, Alexis Marie (above).

I have sailed a Tartan Fantail powered with a Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 a few times. I fell in love with the silence and the power of the engine, and as a result, I have my diesel for sale. I plan to replace it with an inboard, electric 48-volt powerplant. I have investigated quite a few.

The Torqeedo is as quiet as sailing, and you don’t even know that the engine is engaged until the boat starts moving. Getting rid of all the liquids required to run a diesel, water filters, fuel filters, oil filters, impellers, and the hassle of winterization really appeals to me. However, there are so many different kinds of motors and drive systems, a PS survey of the field and maybe a recommendation would be terrific.

Ken Jacks
Alexis Marie, 1985 Aloha 8.2
Annapolis, Md.

A reader survey is in the works, but in the mean time, be sure to visit our online archive and check out these past articles: “Electric and Hybrid Propulsion for Sailboats” (PS, September 2008), which discusses the various drive system options and products, and “Lithium-ion Batteries for Powering Sailboats” (PS, May 2011), which talks about powering these systems.

Because your boat is pocket-cruiser size with a 5,200-pound displacement, your options include and electric outboard as well as an electric alternative to your diesel engine. Be sure to educate yourself on the practical pros and cons of the outboard-style electric engines like the Torqeedo before making your decision.

We first looked at Torqeedo’s offerings in the January 2010 issue, and that article highlights the pros and cons of electric power for sailboats. Our January 2011 report compared three electric outboards, including two Torqeedo models and an Electric Paddle. And in our most recent review of gas-engine alternatives, we compared—and recommended—the propane-powered Lehr with the Torqeedo T-1003S and Yamaha’s 9.9F gas OB.

For those who own inboard auxiliary sailboats in the 5,000- to 15,000-pounds displacement range and are looking to convert to electric propulsion, the range of alternatives is growing. However, if you’re looking for something more than propulsion in and out of the slip, be sure to factor in the cost of producing/storing energy and the installation, which can be considerable.

We are gearing up to test 6-horsepower outboards on our Catalina 22 test boat soon, and these will include the Torqeedo Travel 1003L and propane-powered Lehr LP5.0L. Stay tuned for those results.

Next: Bottom Paint

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