Sailing from Nova Scotia to Toronto
John Wilson Oct 26, 2014
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Sailing log for the trip from Nova Scotia to Toronto, via the southern route on our recently purchased Gemini catamaran. This trip took place from June 1, 2014 to July 1, 2014.
Nova Scotia to Toronto
John Wilson May 28, 2014
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Starting on June 1st 2014 the catamaran Licence to Chill, a 34 foot, 14 foot beam, 1999 Gemini will sail from Chester Nova Scotia south to Boston, then New York, up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal, and then across Lake Ontario to Toronto. Ian and Lynn Wilson will arrive in Chester Nova Scotia approximately 2 weeks before departure in order arrange to have the boat readied for sailing and taken from dry dock to be put in the water. John Wilson, the current owner, will arrive in Chester on June 1st in the morning. The previous owner will spend the day, likely June 2nd reviewing the operation of the sail boat on the water in preparation for our voyage.
Welcome to the new Sun Challenge
John Wilson May 26, 2014
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We are building a new web site that will document the journey of a family, their sailboat, and a dream. We plan to retrofit a 1999 Gemini Catamaran sailboat to make it 100% powered by renewable energy, in addition to the sailing capabilities of the boat. This means replacing the diesel motor, gasoline generator, and propane stove and fridge. This web site will be updated with each step of our journey. Stay tuned as we are about to set off on the first leg. We must pick up the boat, Licence to Chill, from Mahone Bay Nova Scotia.
Fourth Season with Electric Engine
John Wilson Apr 15, 2013
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Fourth season of next to no maintenance proves electric motor was the right choice for our sailboat.
Electric Engine Conversion at the Toronto Boat Show
John Wilson Jan 23, 2012
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John Wilson explains how to convert your gasoline or diesel boat to electric at the Toronto Boat Show.
Sailboat goes electric
John Wilson Oct 18, 2010
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A number of people have said I should write to you about our experience converting our 1974 C&C 35 from the old Atomic 4 gasoline engine to an electric motor. A number of mechanics and sailors thought we were crazy as nobody seemed to know anyone else who had done the same. Would it have enough power? Wouldn't you run out of battery juice? Wouldn't it weigh too much?
How to convert your sailboat to electric
John Wilson Sep 16, 2010
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How to convert your gasoline or diesel powered sailboat or powerboat to electrict.
Electric conversion of our sailboat
John Wilson Aug 16, 2010
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Switching to electric, electrical diagrams, learnings and more.
Electric motor conversion
John Wilson Jun 16, 2010
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Electric conversion stories that convinced us that electric would work well.
Switch to electric
John Wilson May 22, 2010
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Switching from gasoline to electric motor
Guadeloupe sailing trip
John Wilson Feb 24, 2010
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Guadeloupe sailing trip: intermediate sailing course
Basic sailing course
John Wilson Feb 21, 2010
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First blog entry ever for the Sun Challenge project.
About Sun Challenge
John Wilson Feb 17, 2010
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John Wilson and his son Ian will sail around the world in a 39-foot catamaran to raise awareness everywhere about the most pressing issue in the world today: the urgent need to shift to renewable resources. This ambitious circumnavigation is the first component of the Sun Challenge.
Now comes the hard but exciting part. Replacing the forty year old Atomic 4 gasoline engine. We are replacing it with an electric motor to be provided by Electric Yacht. The plan is to haul the Atomic 4 out with the clubs crane, along with the fuel tank and other elements related to the gasoline engine.
Once removed we'll clean up the space, prepare it for the electric motor and batteries. While at it we'll be upgrading the electrical systems on the boat in order to comply with requirements for insurance. In order to do this our survey suggests several areas that need work including re-wiring the AC shore power systems, adding a GFI outlet, updated wiring that complies with marine code, a new electrical panel, updated DC systems wiring, and electrical wiring and systems to support the new electric motor, battery system and house DC power systems.
The future systems making our sailboat a truly "green" transportation option and vision for the future of electric powered boating include:
Future Add Ons:
All of these systems are designed to test and learn how well electric motor systems work for sailing. What we learn will be used to design, plan and eventually build a system for a future 36-40 foot catamaran sailboat we'll be upgrading to sail around the world on 100% renewable energy from solar and wind (gasoline generator will be for emergency use only). Catamaran upgrade to electric motors will require the use of two motors mounted in replacement of two diesel motors.
Here is a video showing an Electric Yacht conversion story:
It was a fortunate day in February 2008. Fortunate because hull number 82 of the legendary Cal 40 came my way and fortunate too because she came without an auxiliary. The diesel had expired and lay ashore somewhere waiting for yet another rebuild and more. Having had a couple of less than pleasant experiences with diesel motors in previous boats I had developed a phobia, an allergy even, to those belching complications. Normally I would go engineless or clamp an outboard on the stern but the Cal 40 was somewhat large and I did not want to remove a very useful Monitor vane to make way for an OMC. What to do?
I had heard of electric motors for sailboats but the task seemed daunting because I am a mechanical klutz and also with the boat in Malaysia and the electric units available only overseas, it appeared a mission impossible. Anyway, I plugged away on the Internet and on an off chance, sent an email to Electric Yacht and as they say, "the rest is history."
Scott McMillan immediately came to grips with the complication of installing an electric motor in the Cal 40. The motor needed to sit backwards and down into the pan which housed the v-drive. It would be tight. Measurements and details went back and forth for a while. Amazingly all my concerns were addressed, all emails were answered and I knew this guy was several steps ahead of me. But was it doable? Scott thought the dimensions might work but was concerned the 48 volt system was too small for my boat, being 15500 lbs displacement on a 30'04" waterline length. The decision was mine. I knew I was in good hands and put trepidations aside and mailed a check for the deposit. It was done.
There was a delivery backlog which gave me time to remove the old tank and its 110 litres(29galls) of diesel, get rid of forty years of crud and grime and cut out the v-drive with an angle grinder. White paint followed and the bilge shone. Scott sent me a photo of my unit with the super short shaft and pretty soon a hefty parcel arrived at RLYC Langkawi. Duty free, of course.
Custom built motor, throttle, percent meter, master switch, 48 to 12 volt converter, custom cableing for the batteries and the controller which Scott had built separately so it would'nt get wet at the companionway foot, detailed instructions ; it was all there. He'd even upgraded me to a dual 48/72 volt system, in case I should need it.
Often times things just fall in place. My South African friend, Faith offered to help. A piece of 2 by 4 drifted by and made a stong back from which to hang the motor on a handy billy and within a week it was all hooked up. No engineering, no dry dock.
Fortunately Trojan T105 batteries are available in Langkawi and with the help of a two young and strong Burmese workers we placed them in the space where the diesel used to sit. Not exactly level but secure and unable to come adrift at sea.
Now for the results:
Conditions; no wind, flat calm, runs up and down tide and averaged. GPS speed.
1.1 knots @ 4 amps,
1.93 knots @ 11 amps,
4.0 knots @ 72 amps.
LOA ----------------------- 39'04"
LWL ---------------------- 30'04"
Long fin, spade rudder, flat sections.
The motor limit comes on at 75 amps. The pitch is not quite right. It should go to 100 amps which may deliver another half knot and give a little more torque. The extra pulley Scott sent along for the 72 volt system may do the trick and I will swap it around soon. Otherwise I will have to adjust the Max Prop (self feathering) at next dry docking. Manoeuvering with the electric motor is a snap. Plenty of torque and of course no noise, no smoke. I charge up the batteries from shorepower at the marina via a battery charger. It's only pennies.
I have been in and out of the marina twice and the batteries are down 10%. When I extrapolate the data I come up with an endurance of 20 miles to a 50% discharge level and 30 miles to a 75% discharge level. Underway I will charge the batteries from the Air Marine wind mill; solar panels via Zahn's 12 to 48 volt optimizer. Another option is to change to a fixed propeller which would let the regen work on passage but the price is high; 15% loss could add up to a 30 mile a day deficit. There is a good chance I can do it all without buying a generator.which like the diesel is a step in the wrong direction.
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