Nov 19, 2020
Traditional beauty – forward tech: the 44E is the first yacht built in the UK to be launched with solar panels integrated into the mainsail and deck.
Dr Vincent Argiro, a retired technology entrepreneur living, sailing, racing, and exploring in British Columbia has recently taken deliver of his 13.4m (44ft) Spirit 44CR(e). Based on the Spirit cruiser racer (CR) design, the 44CR (e) was commissioned for an eco-conscious customer who set Spirit Yachts the goal of near total energy self-sufficiency.
The project is the first fully electric yacht to be designed and built by Spirit Yachts in the UK. At the request of her owner, the yacht has zero hydrocarbons onboard. She is also the first yacht built in the UK to be launched with solar panels integrated into the main sail and deck.
Electric power and regenerating saildrive combine for all electric power
The 44ft (13.4m) sloop-rigged sailing yacht, named Avvento, has a lightweight (65kgs) Oceanvolt ServoProp15 sail drive, which is powered by Oceanvolt 48VDC batteries (total capacity 30.4kWh, made up of x16 1.9kWh batteries). The electric drive system uses hydro generation via the electronically controlled pitch propeller that regenerates the batteries while sailing. Regeneration is supplemented by solar panels on the mainsail and the aft deck.
There’s no large diesel engine replaced with a much smaller electric drive system, the owner is able to have more living space.
The proud new owner reflects on planning his new boat:
“Without a generator onboard, the owner will need to be mindful of energy consumption, but with careful management of battery power there will be no sacrifice on any luxuries. The yacht has air-conditioning, heating and electric toilets, all of which make life onboard very comfortable, ” Spirit Yachts managing director Nigel Stuart explains
Keeping the batteries charged
Regeneration depends on sailing speed, but Spirit Yachts has calculated it will be realistic to see 1.5kW at 8knots of speed. Weather dependent, the solar deck panels and the mainsail can regenerate a combined total of 1.47kW.
Two Solbian solar panels are integrated into the aft Lignia deck and support the drive system by recharging the batteries. The panels (that can be walked over) serve as the hatch covers for two large lazarettes below, one of which houses a tender with an electric motor.
John Parker from OneSails GBR (East) explained, “We have collaborated with Solar Cloth System to integrate thin cell PV panels into the mainsail as a source of electrical generation.”
OneSails’ 4T FORTE sails are currently the only sails made from a cloth that can be stripped of its hardware and recycled at commercial recycling plants.
Down below, a reversible heating/air-conditioning Webasto pump heats and cools the yacht using minimal power. All lighting is LED and a Webasto 4.2gallon 115v/750W heater provides hot water. At the owner’s request, there are no hydrocarbons onboard and any cooking will be done on a stove that uses alcohol for fuel.
Nigel Stuart adds, “Vincent (the owner) is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to eco-friendly technology and its capabilities. His unwavering ambition to live sustainably onboard has allowed us to be bold with innovation and push the boundaries of eco-friendly yachting.”