Learning From Experience

In preparation for the building and designing of Whio II, we have been closely observing the experiences of people with electric sailing vessels. One such experience is documented in a YouTube channel; Sailing Uma.

Sailing Uma has invested in renewable energy systems and an electric boat. They have an electric drive system however, they do have a diesel heater and a normal petrol-powered two-stroke tender. We we’re very interested in their journey and highly impressed with their documentation as well as their approach to dealing with the issues they face in terms of extreme range anxiety; very careful not to get themselves in a dangerous situation, highlighted in one of their most recent videos traversing Norwegian fjords. They pay particular attention to the weather as well as the tides when they were on low power. It seems to us as if most sailors go through the same amount of preparation when thinking about making a passage, even if it is just a short one.

Sailing Uma in Norway

The CMG system will integrate quite nicely into this planning and preparation because the algorithm will look at your intended course and will let you know precisely what your battery state will be at the end of your journey.

When there was little wind, we found it interesting that they got going by ‘drift’ sailing slowly out of the fjord, not using the engine because they wanted to keep a reserve. They made a comment that having an electric system pushes you to sail more often, and that this is one of the fundamental parts of our design approach. Whio II will raise sails and motorsail even when there’s no wind and try to lower power consumption with apparent wind and save from just the smallest breezes. We calculate that the regeneration from trickle-charging is available up to 500% more often than conventional systems as the speed is preset and the charging/propulsion automatically switches.

They were quite excited to be charging at 200 watts from their solar panels. Aboard Whio II, we will have 6.5 kilowatts upon our roof, and so in those conditions we would expect up to 15 kilowatt-hours, equivalent to about 20-30nm range on a nice sunny day.

There is lovely drone footage showing them sailing along in 5-8kn winds. In these conditions, by comparison, Whio II would reach across the outer fjord in full supercharging mode. In three hours it would be simple to attain 50-100kWh into the batteries and five more than enough for a week of comfortable living, including tender rides and use of the sauna at the end of the colder days. This brave couple admit to not having showered for over two weeks, and this is the reality for most who take the electric option; it is paid for by the loss of amenities.

In last week’s blog, we introduced the smart energy system’s approach in which we increase the amenities provided. You can shower every day aboard Whio II, and thus, we need to generate a lot of power and generate it often to make that work. This means we are rarely unable to generate something and often able to generate more than enough, with no need for external power.

They do make it to a harbour, but then they have to rewire a plug and lay cable to plug in. Whio II could just anchor out, and will be ready for whatever you want to do, without any worry or range anxiety.

It’s great to see people out there striving to go fully electric. We want to enable this for everyone, without the need for much hassle, and far more comfort!