August Blog by Graham Miller

If you had asked me about Hybrid 10 years ago, I would probably have not given it a second thought. I have worked and sailed in many countries around the world, the last being the Caribbean. All those yachts using diesel fuel when the free fuel source was above their head. Yes, the sun, that large shining thing in the sky that even the Egyptians regarded as a god.

The sea or water that also can be converted into energy, and finally the wind…. Ok, what’s going wrong? All this free power and nobody is using it…

This brings me to the hybrid yacht. So, take a standard sailing catamaran, remove the diesels, yes this is going to be expensive, I can hear you are saying it already.

Ok, we at Cerulean yachts, in collaboration with Schionning designs, have designed a light fast catamaran with electric power instead of diesel engines. The solar panels charge the batteries during the day, also giving power to the cooker, water maker, lights and yes, washing machine…

We are looking at using the next generation of solar panels. Yes these are hybrid too, Normal solar panels as they create the power, the heat disrupts the efficiency, this goes down to about 60%, so if we cool these panels we can get the efficiency back to 99% leaving us with lots of hot water which can then be used to heat the water for the shower and hot water taps throughout the boat.

The water or the sea. Many boats when sailing, must break or stop the propeller shaft to stop the overheating of the gearbox on the engine. We can use this to our benefit. As the shafts and propeller turn, they act as their own power source and through the engine which now acts like an alternator, charging the batteries.

Finally, the wind the old-style turbines are noisy, you must stop them in high winds, isn’t that stupid? We are looking at a newer concept for wind turbines that are positioned in the aerodynamic areas of the boat and will always charge when turning, even in light gusts….

So the next time you’re changing the oil in that hard to get to place under the companion way, here’s a thought, Electric motors don’t have to have oil changes…and the smell of the diesel that accidently got spilt when you last changed the fuel filters..

So why hybrid? The questions were asked when they tried to sell all electric cars, great for the environment but where do I charge them? How far can I go before I have to charge them? are they slow? So, you add a small engine that gives you the safety of not running out of power, so you don’t need to charge them all the time. And you will get home. So what about a boat ? the same applies, you use your batteries as normal, but if you intend to do long passages for the normal reason and the wind disappeared, you can always engage the generator and that powers the electric motors directly…

So, I don’t think there is a good reason to burn lots of diesel fuel when the three elements are free, it’s good for the sea, it’s good for the planet and its also good for your pocket….

Our saying in the company is Just add food and crew and sail the world for free…