Dasher: The Un-revolution in Electric Boats.

When it comes to boats, the revolutions seem to happen when they’re not that revolutionary. Take all-electric runabouts. Our shop has spent nearly 10 years exploring electric propulsion in smaller craft. And earlier this year, the once impossible quietly happened: A major, high-quality American production boat builder began shipping an all-electric powerboat. Branded as the “world’s first all electric luxury yacht,” the svelte 28-foot Hinckley Dasher features twin 80hp inboard Torqeedo all-electric motors, BMW’s i3 waterproof lithium-ion batteries, and high capacity, dual 50-amp charging cables that can repower this boat in less than 4 hours. We’re sure that electrical pioneers, […]

On Powering Anna

Sailboats are just that: Boats that move because they have sails. So while we spend lots of our time figuring how out how slick mechanical systems operate winches and cool the air below, at the end of the day a boat like our new 66-footer Anna, just finishing up at Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, is a sailboat: Her central role is to provide her owners and crew the delightful experience of cajoling the wind into pushing or pulling all through the water — in more or less the direction the crew wants to go. Since Anna’s chief propulsive force is the […]

Paul Pounds Sails: Why Handicapping Sail Materials Is a Material Mistake.

Sailing is not golf. Handicapping a sailboat race is a silly, silly idea: Length, weight, sail area, wetted surface are difficult to compare fairly. Nothing comes close to a simple “three-stroke handicap” that captures the subtle mix of tools that make a boat fast or slow. But, still, we sailors want to have fun, we don’t want confusing rules and penalties that are faulty in basis.  Mostly we want to collect our friends and all our different boats, together at the same party, and race. It’s what we do. Today, we’re going to rant about the especially gnarly problem of […]

Question of the Month: Should I Varnish My Boat in the Caribbean?

We love boats of all materials– okay, except MAYBE go easy on the ferro-cement. But we’ve drawn a lot of cool boats, boutique boats, and modern classics. Many have been built as custom one-offs in composite wood construction. We’re often tapped for our expertise in building fancy things out of different wood species. And we recently had a reader and a customer pose a question we get a lot: Can I keep my modern wooden boat in the Caribbean year-round? What challenges will I see? To be honest, the brutal conditions of the sun and salt air of the sweeping […]

On Making a 50-knot Electric Speedboat:

It’s been a long and winding electric road. We first got involved in using batteries to drive a boat on our hybrid Zogo back in 2009. Still — almost ten years later — the electric revolution is still “just over the horizon.” We continue to consult for practical cross-platform propulsion systems in our client’s boats. We have a custom lobster boat coming that will feature just such a system. We’re following the hybrid power wave in European harbors. And we keep tinkering with ideas to see if the calculus of electrons in boats is changing. So we wanted to see […]

Paul Waring on “Alternative Boating Facts”

I’m an engineer. I live to reduce things down to basics. I love to break complex components into smaller pieces that make them easier to explain. Last week, we compared the price of different boats by measuring the cost of each pound of those boats. What did that simple price-to-displacement tool teach us? That comparing the price of boats is almost never apples-to-apples. The Bad News On Shopping for Luxury Goods. Comparing custom-made high-end products is tricky. The quality of the build and the cost of the labor are factors. Timeline and schedule also play a role. if you’re looking […]

Marine Engineering 105: Why My Boat Costs What It Costs?

Pricing dreams is the no-win gig in yacht design. No matter how hard we try, we never seem to be able to get away from the hard fact that the magic of enjoying a boat only displaces a fraction more than the frustration that comes with pricing that boat. It’s not rocket science as to why new boats are hard to cost out: The only thing posing more variables when building a yacht, is the owner’s evolving expectations in creating that yacht. Assisting clients in pricing their priorities is tricky. We have evolved two methods to get at an early approximation for […]

The 3D Boat Designer In Your Pocket.

Designing boats is about to go mobile. One of our most interesting side gigs is collaborating with the next generation of younger yacht designers. Two of our most promising Web student collaborators are Cassio Neres, a teaching assistant up at The Landings School in Southern Maine. And a naval surveyor named Matthew Knoll who has a terrific idea for a 30-foot swamp racer/chill boat he’s self-designing down in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.   While both are working on their designs that we will be sharing in full detail when they are ready, we got an excellent question from […]