Electric Propulsion

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  • April 19, 2014 4:45 PM
    Reply # 1540903 on 1537722
    Mike Gunning asked me to post this here on his behalf.

    Jay asked me to remind you that WOA never endorses any products.

    We have installed at least three Westsails. 

    ·         One is Mortens Westsail 32, a QuietTorque 20 with a DC genset to be installed later this year.   

    ·         Another was an H-Drive 8.0 diesel/electric hybrid installed in a Westsail 42 that left for Hawaii over a year ago.  I am sure he is doing well but have not kept up with his activity. 

    ·         A third H-Drive 8.0 was installed in February in San Diego in a Westsail 32.  Mike sailed off to Mexico the day after the install.  He was programing the settings with me over the phone while he was leaving San Diego harbor.


    The comments on power regeneration are correct.  The Westsail is impacted mostly by the size of the propeller, the fact that it is in an aperture and speed.  The Electric Yacht system gives the helm the ability to tune the regeneration of the boat to obtain the maximum amount of regeneration.  Even with that, it is speed of the boat and diameter of the propeller that influence the level of regeneration.


    After working with so many clients this is what I see as the advantage of electric for the Westsail.  One of the best features of electric propulsion is the ability to improve point of sail or increase the speed under full sail by up to 2kts.  This is accomplished with the application of the following. 

    ·         Apply almost no power to the prop, giving it about 100rpm, and the propeller disappears from the boat as it matches the speed of the water column.

    ·         Apply about 300watts (a modest battery bank is about 15000 watt hours) and you will increase speed by about 1kt.  Another 300watts you increase another .5kts.  This is not the traditional motor sailing but what one vendor calls “blended sailing”.  You are especially reducing the drag of the hull by removing some of the displacement drag as the boat is under full sail.  The Westsail sails as if it were several thousand pounds lighter.  You can share the “reduced drag” as an increase in speed of an improved point of sail.    I do this with my 11000lbs Columbia and am able to blend sail in many cases when others just motor.

    ·         With the diesel/electric hybrid, of which I am a proponent, you keep your diesel.  If your diesel is underpowered, you can support emergency operations by running both to drive the boat.  The smaller motor gives the heavy displacement Westsail harbor speeds and great slow control.  You can also put the electric into generator mode and it will provide from 1.2 to 4kW of power as a generator.  We have seen this system installed both at the transmission coupling (traditionally replacing the coupling) and also aft of the motor along the shaft at a convenient location in the engine compartment.

    In my opinion, today there are two proven companies that have systems that have the capacity to drive a Westsail, Elco and the Electric Yacht.  Both have pushed boats significantly larger and heavier than the Westsail 32s an 42s.  I see the electric as just a tool and if the sailor is looking for this type of tool it is a good solution.  It is not for everyone and it will not remove the need of a diesel from the Westsail as the diesel is needed to create power for the batteries. 

    When there are power storage systems that have the power density of liquid fuel, no one would consider anything but electric.  When that may happen is in the hands of the scientist and researchers. 

    Thanks, Mike

    Michael Gunning

    Director of Sales Electric Yacht

    Owner Electric Yachts of Southern California


    626 298 2262

    Toll free 855 339 2248 ext 109

    (Skype) michael.gunning72

  • October 13, 2014 3:27 PM
    Reply # 3122686 on 1537722
    Deleted user

    Thanks so much for all the information.  Just realized, I didn't respond.  

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