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Tally-Ho Hybrid Propulsion

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3 hours ago, 2flit said:

How often (if ever) do you miss the range that diesel storage used to provide (could you describe your experience about the range shift)? What design is the boat?  Do you ever miss having an engine driven alternator?

You wrote: "For the cost of a diesel plus installation (and the installation is as much as the engine), its very easy to have electric motor with tens of KWH of batteries.".... Are you counting the labor to install the electric propulsion system when you made this comparison?  and what about the cost of the diesel when only 'just' re-powering  (when the fuel/electric/exhaust/cooling is already there to hook up to)... but you have all the electrics to integrate/install on the electric conversion?

Once per year I wish we had range under power.

I never have liked to use an engine, and I still don't like the NVH of an engine. In fact, I probably use the electric more than I would use a diesel, because its not horrible to get on or off anchor under electric, whereas I'd work hard to sail on and off to avoid using the diesel.

The boat is an Olson 40 ULDB, so it sails at wind speed from about 3 or 4 knots of breeze up to about 10 knots of breeze. We generally average 8+ knots under sail in 10knot breeze, whereas under full throttle, full noise and vibration of the diesel we would go 6.3 knots, which is the exact same speed as I achieve flat out, 5KW, under electric using the same prop, shaft, strut, and stuffing box (so identical losses). In other words, there is not much reason to use an engine of any kind on this boat.

Of course, we don't have big currents and tidal gates like in the PNW. We do have plenty of islands and harbors to visit within a good day's sail, and the wind is easy to forecast in Southern California.

In my case, I have direct experience with installing the diesel, as we stripped the boat completely during the refit, so we did the complete diesel installation, all new everything. Then, I removed that diesel engine and everything related to it. Then, I personally did the complete install of the electric motor, control, and the entire battery bank, wiring, fuses, shunts, etc.

The electric install is about the same work as just the diesel fuel system and nothing else. In other words: TREMENDOUSLY simpler, easier, quicker, and cheaper. The heaviest part is about 40 lbs, the motor itself. Each battery is a bit lighter, and all the other stuff is very light. The total install, including motor and batteries, is about the same weight as 30 gallons of fuel. I can adjust the electric motor mounts with my fingers to align it. I'm 63, old, rickety, nerve damage, all that old age shit. And I only needed help getting the motor down the companionway ladder, but I did by myself everything else in a few days total work.

A friend just did a re-power from an old Westebeke to a brand new Beta, including transmission. The labor to remove and replace, including several little tweaks to wood work, motor mounts, etc., cost the same as the engine, for a total of nearly $30K.

LiFePO4 batteries are currently about $1000 per KWh. My 5KWh bank cost about $4800 including shipping and tax. Install was by me, and took an afternoon, probably $200 in cable etc, so $5K. The motor and controller was about the same, so a total of about $10K.

If I added another $20K in batteries, a 20KWh battery bank, I would be able to use my boat as I like for a month continuously, easily, without charging in any way. There are darn few times when more than a couple of hours of powering has ever been required in my long life of sailing 85K nautical miles: the wind does not evaporate for long, there is almost always enough wind to sail well in a boat that sails well. Of course, I only sail boats that are nice to sail.

And of course, I don't need to deal with strong current and tidal gates. If I did, I'd reluctantly go diesel.


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On 12/16/2020 at 7:39 AM, LB 15 said:

I have an Battery powered outboard that came with a dingy I bought second hand. Ironically it is called a trolling motor. The Battery weighs more than my dog, takes all night to charge, runs out after about 30 mins and it wouldn’t pull a chinaman off your sister.

the correct nomenclature is Asian-Australian,  as in "it wouldn’t pull an Asian-Australian off your sister."

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2 hours ago, toad said:

the correct nomenclature is Asian-Australian,  as in "it wouldn’t pull an Asian-Australian off your sister."

If he is an Aussie he can stay there.

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