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Electric Motors - updated October 18, 2015  
   

Some of us have or are considering re-powering our Dolphins. This is an effort to provide information on the electric power alternative, not an effort to promote it or to promote any specific system or manufacturer. We will keep adding interesting articles or comments

After some research, early in 2007 I contacted a small company in Indiana, Re-e-power, that seemed particularly helpful with information specific to sailboat powering. These motors are 'inboards' not unlike sail drives. Click to go to their website - http://re-e-power.com/aboutus.html

The following is an exchange of emails and products information in that your webmaster  had February 20, 2007 while considering power options for Passage - a decision not yet made.

Hi
I have 2 Dolphin 24 sailboats. They are about 4500lb displacement MORC boats designed and built in 1960. One is completely restored and powered by a 4hp OB inside a transom well. It weighs 32! lbs and is stored beneath the cockpit when racing or cruising. It has a power prop and will push the boat to 4.7 knots in a flat sea, no headwind - half that in a medium chop and headwind. With one filled 3 gal tank there is 5 hours of operation. There is a 60 lb, 97 amp gel battery to power electronics, auto pilot, lights, etc. Altogether about 120lbs. With an additional 6 gal tank, about 40 lbs, I get 15 hours of operation and have extensively cruised this boat up and down the NE coast. Total cost was around $1200/1300.

The second boat is undergoing restoration now and had a rebuilt Palmer 9 hp inboard gas engine. We are re-considering the power options. Simple and easy is the OB option but, even though it is light, there is the hassle of removing it from the well and storing below, especially in bad weather or single handing.

 Noise, emissions are issues. Some questions -

Have you done any development work with folding props? My pretty thin profile OB shaft and prop cost about .4/.5 knots in lost speed thru the water which is why it comes out when racing or longer distance sails. What does your pod/prop cost in terms of speed when sailing? How much does it weigh?

This particular boat will be used for day sailing and have a slip with power for recharging. I have estimated that its normal power use will be in and out of the slip and sailing within 15 minutes, sailing for a few hours and back. Run out of wind and maybe have a 2-3 hour motor back. I think 5/6 hours "normal use" running time would be sufficient. How much battery capacity/weight would be needed?

 Have you made any sales or have user references in the CT/RI area?

 Thanks

Ron Breault, Old Lyme, CT

Their reply follows:

Hi Ron,

Thanks for inquiring.  Our System 2500 would give you comparable performance to the 9 hp outboard. 

A folding prop will fit on the -PB model.  It has a 1 inch shaft with a standard taper, so most any standard inboard prop will fit.   Of course you will lose the advantage of re-charging the batteries under sail. 

The pod, with the prop in generator mode will cost .25-.5 knots depending on how the prop is adjusted.  With a folding prop you will see about .2 knots difference.  The other option would be to use what we call zero thrust feathering.  This is where you put just enough power (about 1/4th amp) to the unit to take away the drag without really adding to the thrust of the boat.  If you have a small solar panel it will take care of the extra power required to do this for days. The unit weighs 77 lbs.

 Three group 31, 12 volt batteries will handle your power needs and each of them weigh in at about 70 lbs.  So total weight of the whole system would be less than 300 lbs or if you have an onboard charger, just about 300 lbs even.  With a DC/DC converter, you can run your house needs (lights and such) off of the motor battery pack

We have sold a system 2000 to a fellow in CT.  The next closest to you that is in the water is in Norfolk, VA.  I can pass your contact information on to them and let them get in touch with you.  They've been pretty overwhelmed with questions. 

Thanks again for inquiring.

Kevin Plank
RE-E-POWER.com

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Erik Evens (Robin Lee) sent in the following email and link to a Swedish company that makes a true inboard with recharging through the prop. He sent in the following email.

Nice start on the section on electric power.  The Re-e-power units look powerful, but I can't imagine bolting something like that to the underside of a Dolphin.  I immediately thought that if you could mount the pod to a strut that had a clamp at the top, you could use it as an electric inboard, and mount it in the motor well of a Dolphin.  The thing weighs 50 lbs, though.

Here's a Swedish company I've been looking at for a while:

http://greenstarmarine.se/en/ (english language version)

They make a true inboard system that looks like it has all the features of the pod-people's product, including regenerative charging.  Expensive, but looks really viable.

- Erik Evens

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July 5, 2010 - Jim Ospy, WISP, a Lunn built Dolphin just relaunched on Lake George in New York after many years of hard life on the hard, has an interesting 'Field Trial' using a Minn Kota electric trolling motor. Click here to go his report.

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April 11, 2013. The following list of electric motor web sites has been updated to include an interesting referral from Jim Oppy about an Australian electric motor site

Click http://www.boatdesign.net/Directory/Propulsion/Electric for a collection of electric power websites for those that are into self education.

Click here for a still interesting 2007 article from Practical Boat Owners on electric motors

Click here for an interesting website by Jim Kerr with info on building your own system

Click here for the Solar Navigator index of electric motor website index

Click here for a Thoosa motors web site on electric motors

Click here for the Electric Yachts website

November 4, 2013. Al See, who has Elation, a Shaw 24, is a dealer for Electric Yachts, and has offered to help any Dolphin 24 owner with information and conversion advise. He has converted Elation to electric. Here is his contact info and you can see a picture there.

Al See, Electric Yachts of Texas, email - al@electricyachtoftexas.com, phone 214-828-4800

website http://www.electricyachtoftexas.com/

Click here for West Marine's Advisor article on electric power

Click here for Propulsion Marine's electric motor website

Click here for Electric Boat Motors of Australia

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August 11, 2014 - We got the following comments from Cliff Dasco, Maya Elena

Ron:

The Rockland Boat Show was great, as usual. I spent some time talking with the rep from Classic Boats that makes the Pisces 21. This is the daysailer you would want if you had nothing but money. It is powered by an electric motor that the yard is very happy with.

Here is the link to Master Volt: http://www.mastervolt.com/marine/products/e-propulsion. I am very seriously considering this for Maya Elena although I will have to have a solar or wind battery charger as I will not have shore power. The idea of not having an internal combustion motor is very appealing.

Cliff

Webmaster Note: I can empathize with soundless motoring having just spent 2 days motoring from Rockland to Blue Hill - no wind and lots of fog. Besides the assault on one's ears the noise invisible lobster boats maneuvering nearby was often masked by Marionette's outboard. Check out http://dolphin24.org/marionettes_log_summer_2014.html

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October 18, 2015 A few days ago Al See Elation, a Shaw 24 posted a comment on the Forum - excerpted here

"I replaced the Atomic 2 on my Shaw 24 with an Electric Yacht QT5 2 years ago and am more than pleased"

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