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-   -   A Cruising Dream Turned Sour (http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/f12/a-cruising-dream-turned-sour-4985.html)

JeanneP 02-13-2011 04:29 AM

I didn't learn to sail by taking any courses. Although I know several people who would benefit mightily from a few sailing courses, I have felt that practice and sailing with friends or acquaintances would be enough to get a person well on his way to a cruising life.

A recent conversation, though, has made me rethink this.

About two and a half years ago a couple decided to retire and go cruising. Although they had never owned a boat or sailed before, they bought a new 42-foot catamaran, and took a sailing course while they were waiting to take delivery of the new boat in the US.

The boat is equipped with electric motors and a generator for propulsion, and therein lies their problem, it seems.

From their blogs it seems that they did quite well with their half a million dollar boat, spending the first year of ownership coastal cruising in the US; the second year they spent 4 months in the Bahamas.

In their blog they talk about the problems with the generator failing but the fellow told me that he believes that it is the "control" system that affects the electrical system running the motors and thus puts them "at risk". He told me that he plans to initiate a lawsuit to compel Lagoon to take the boat back and give him his money back. I think it is unrealistic to expect to be able to return this boat and get all their money back after having lived and cruised on it for 2-1/2 years.

To us, a sailboat is a sailboat first and foremost, and though losing one's engines can be a nuisance the loss of the engine(s) should not put the boat and crew in danger (I know, our problems in Papua New Guinea had the potential for danger, but that was not the engine's or the boat's fault - it was ours).

Having had our own problems with our generator this past year due to our inexperience with it, I have become even more sensitive to the difficulties that can occur when one is not intimately familiar with their boat's systems. The owner is inexperienced with boats and so it is reasonable to assume that he might have insufficient knowledge to address his generator problems successfully.

I am sorry to hear their story and the transformation of their dream into a nightmare. But I wonder if they would have had so much trouble if they had more experience with boats and sailing. And if they had chosen sailing because they loved to sail.

redbopeep 02-13-2011 05:35 AM

JeanneP,

As you know, David and I agree that one shouldn't have a system aboard a boat that one doesn't understand nor know how to work on. It is our philosophy to be as knowledgeable and prepared as is reasonable for the situation. I don't think that's the situation you're talking about though.

Unfortunately, even very experienced sailors, from the US, can be downright silly about product liability and trying to get someone to cover the costs of a problem--even if there was no way for the vendor/mfr to reasonably know about it. Too many Americans are litigious whiners, IMHO. Our regulatory and legal system protect and "baby" people into thinking the the mfr/vendor has the responsibility to keep the consumer "safe" no matter what. Then, the customer extends any lack of durability, maintainability, or quality (which there may or may not be with any giving product) to an issue of "safety" so they can complain and whine about it to other American boaters who also think, silly them, that someone else besides the skipper is responsible for the safety and operation of the skipper's boat. Silly, again. Harsh reality, but that's the truth. I don't know if these folks are American that you're talking about, but the chase after someone to "pay for" the problem is a big American problem.

Having said that, I am not enough of a "sailing snob/boat snob" or whatever one might wish to call it to say that the people you refer to would have less troubles with their electric drive control system or generator control system if they'd happened to have more experience with boats and sailing. No, not necessarily. If they'd happened to be technically inclined people--mechanics, engineers, etc (as we are) OR if they'd happened to be experienced sailors who'd learned from their experiences how to become technically skilled people, yes, then perhaps they might have figured things out themselves or perhaps not. I've met some pretty clueless cruisers who have sailed around the world (some more than once!) and still don't know a smidgen of what I personally think they should know about their boats and about sailing. However, they've been lucky and all has worked out for them. Luck is an important thing. That cannot be overstated.

I would prefer it if only people who loved sailing actually cruised in sailboats. But, that is not the case. People choose sailboats for all sorts of reasons that suit their needs/dreams of cruising. It is my impression that lots of new sailors (with money) do happen to choose catamarans because the new sailor has the idea that he/she needs lots of space (which the cat provides) and the mis-perception that the high initial stability (no heel) of the cat means something positive about safety (ha!). Or, they get seasick or frightened by a heeling boat and think they'll get 'round it by having a multihull. Silly. And there, I'd think having experience sailing before buying the 13M cat would be somewhat helpful.

People who buy cats are also (IMHO) a little more of technophiles than the average sailor. People who love technology end up getting a lot of leading edge tech-y things. Sometimes those things aren't durable or reliable and we only learn that with the experience of the early adopters of the technologies. If the particular boaters were interested in very robust and reliable systems, they'd be looking to more traditional things across the board. It is almost a different philosophy, really.

There will always be people out cruising on boats they don't understand the workings of. However, that's the way of things. I do respect the people who act on their dreams--make some goals and go out there and sail--even if they are doing it in a way that I wouldn't or if I don't like the boat they chose or whatever. Again, I don't know what boat you're talking about but it's "their dream" to do what they're doing so therefore, it's OK by me and I don't think sailing lessons would have helped in this technology issue.

Fair winds,

MMNETSEA 02-13-2011 06:48 AM

When this 42 ft Catamaran hit the market some 3 or 4 years ago with a hybred propulsion system - the boat displacing 25,000 lb (unloaded) The Hybred Specs boasted an 8KW generator charging batteries that drove 2 8KW motors (8kw equivalent to 10.72HP)

On full charge the batteries alone would drive the boat for 2 hours. At 60% of full charge, the 8KW generator would kick in to charge the batteries so that they could drive the 8KW motors AND any other equipment that was using electricity.

-----------------

Another 42ft Catamaran developed for the same market some 10 years ago (still in production) with 2 conventional diesel motors - the boat displacing 19,000 lb (unloaded). The specs boasted 2 x 30Kw diesel engines (30kw equivalent to 40.2HP) plus

an 8HP generator.

-----------------

It did not take very long for sceptics to question the above Hybred's ability to drive a catamaran into the wind or sea when displacing a minimum of 25,000 lbs with 2 small motors, especially when considering the windage presented by this specific design

redbopeep 02-13-2011 05:03 PM

That does sound a little wimpy for driving extended hours in rough conditions without the sails, yes. However, it might not be. When you look at an electric drive motor, you cannot compare it directly to HP (or kW) of an internal combustion engine because of the efficiency losses between combustion to transmission and prop that happen with a traditional motor. Our very old boat has the distinction of being the FIRST electric drive sailing yacht to have ever been built (1931). There was an electric drive motor yacht built in the UK before that, but no sailing yachts.

Much of that system was evaluated as the boat was first used and much was written about it in Yachting magazine in the early 1930's. The extensive information about the boat and her electric drive system now resides in a maritime museum in MA. The design of the propulsion system was such that it was expected to drive the boat as a "motor yacht" without sailing--and it was successful in that. When our (design 29 T) boat was built it had a 25 kW electric drive motor that was supplied by a large battery bank which would support propulsion for a couple hours if one wished to motor without running a generator. The boat had two 10 kW generators to charge. The boat would run at zero float on the batteries at a bit over 6 knots on one 10kW generator and would run at zero float on the batteries at a bit over 7 knots if both generators were in use (so at 20kW on the combined generators max). The electric drive system was much liked by the owner and it was considered a great success by everyone. However, when the boat was sold it was about time to replace the batteries and the new owner could more cost effectively put a diesel engine in place than replace the battery bank. Therefore, the boat has had a traditional diesel engine since 1939. The 25 kW electric drive motor (actually less than 20 kW because of the limitations of the two generators) was replaced by a 50 HP diesel engine that was used for many years. It was replaced by a 75 HP diesel and then the owner before us purchased the 125 HP motor we now have.

We presently use a 125 HP diesel motor which is well suited to motoring indefinitely at (from our experiences) a bit over 7 knots in most conditions and motor sailing beating into the wind at over 8.5 knots. So the much larger 125 HP diesel does only achieve the same speed as the 25 kW electric drive motor did.

Food for thought.

MMNETSEA 02-14-2011 01:05 AM

Actually Many of the specifications given for diesel engines in the marine environment quote the KW and the HP delivered at the prop.

redbopeep 02-14-2011 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MMNETSEA (Post 1297645508)

Actually Many of the specifications given for diesel engines in the marine environment quote the KW and the HP delivered at the prop.

That is true, but not for our particular diesel engine.

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/pub...IR#>/smile.gif

MMNETSEA 02-14-2011 06:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redbopeep (Post 1297656921)

That is true, but not for our particular diesel engine.

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/pub...IR#>/smile.gif

Accepted, but what gear box is connected to the engine and what ratio of reduction?

redbopeep 02-16-2011 05:07 AM

Hey there, just noticed your question.

The gearbox is overkill for the engine, btw. It is a Hurth HSW 800 (that model is now the ZF80) that would normally be married up to an engine with twice or more the HP of our engine. The gear ratios are 2.85 and 2.79 (forward and reverse).

redbopeep 02-16-2011 04:59 PM

I just read a note from a fellow I know who used to work for Palmer Johnson. He states that the general rule (for displacement hull sailboats) was 1 British HP per 1000 lbs of boat weight to get the boat up to hull speed. Thus, in the case of a 25,000 lb displacement hull, you'd be looking at 25 HP engine. Anything extra is "extra" so in our case of 30T (say 60,000 lbs) we'd be "needing" only 60 HP. I don't have the torque curve in front of me so I don't know what our engine's continuous HP rating is since that is different than the peak rating of 125 HP. Now, our hull speed is over 10 knots and I've only seen hull speed while sailing, never while motoring--because we're not willing to use the fuel to achieve hull speed motoring, rather we'll stick with between 7 and 8 knots thank you.

Steady Hand 06-30-2014 02:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redbopeep (Post 29007)
That does sound a little wimpy for driving extended hours in rough conditions without the sails, yes. However, it might not be. When you look at an electric drive motor, you cannot compare it directly to HP (or kW) of an internal combustion engine because of the efficiency losses between combustion to transmission and prop that happen with a traditional motor. Our very old boat has the distinction of being the FIRST electric drive sailing yacht to have ever been built (1931). There was an electric drive motor yacht built in the UK before that, but no sailing yachts.

Much of that system was evaluated as the boat was first used and much was written about it in Yachting magazine in the early 1930's. The extensive information about the boat and her electric drive system now resides in a maritime museum in MA. The design of the propulsion system was such that it was expected to drive the boat as a "motor yacht" without sailing--and it was successful in that. When our (design 29 T) boat was built it had a 25 kW electric drive motor that was supplied by a large battery bank which would support propulsion for a couple hours if one wished to motor without running a generator. The boat had two 10 kW generators to charge. The boat would run at zero float on the batteries at a bit over 6 knots on one 10kW generator and would run at zero float on the batteries at a bit over 7 knots if both generators were in use (so at 20kW on the combined generators max). The electric drive system was much liked by the owner and it was considered a great success by everyone. However, when the boat was sold it was about time to replace the batteries and the new owner could more cost effectively put a diesel engine in place than replace the battery bank. Therefore, the boat has had a traditional diesel engine since 1939. The 25 kW electric drive motor (actually less than 20 kW because of the limitations of the two generators) was replaced by a 50 HP diesel engine that was used for many years. It was replaced by a 75 HP diesel and then the owner before us purchased the 125 HP motor we now have.

We presently use a 125 HP diesel motor which is well suited to motoring indefinitely at (from our experiences) a bit over 7 knots in most conditions and motor sailing beating into the wind at over 8.5 knots. So the much larger 125 HP diesel does only achieve the same speed as the 25 kW electric drive motor did.

Food for thought.

Good food at that! A very impressive old boat considering the use of electric motor, etc. thanks for sharing the details.


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