Electric or Diesel-Electric Drives for Voyaging Boats

Solar Panels charging batteries aboard sail boat

Until a few years ago, I thought that diesel-electric would become a viable alternative for voyaging sailboats that would solve the age-old problem of matching the output of an engine to the power requirements of a propeller across a wide range of RPM settings.

But it turns out that this is a more complex subject than it appears at first look.

Let’s examine the viability of electric and diesel-electric drives for voyaging sailboats.

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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