Pacific Ocean

Samba : An Electric Leopard !

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I bought Samba from Moorings in Nice in 2008 and left it under their management. In 2013 I took her to Turkey to have her adapted for travelling. Once there I met a Frenchman who was based over there and who was a boat refit specialist. Thanks to his patience, pugnacity and his local knowledge, we managed to get the project finalised, and in particular the electric motors, which were still not the finished article. The electric motors had been chosen for their silence, efficiency, low energy consumption and therefore their autonomy, which is essential when you're sailing to the other side of the world. I chose Oceanvolt, a young finnish company. There are two 15kW motors (or 10 when running continuously), which are powered by a bank of 12 lithium-ion 48V batteries, with a 21kWh capacity. On a calm sea and without too much wind, there is about four hours' autonomy at 5 knots. Three different energy sources are used to charge the batteries. The main one is a 15kW generator. It's actually a 40 horsepower Volvo engine equipped with a generator which can produce 15kW at 48V. It uses approximately 4.6 litres of fuel per hour.   The system also includes a sail generation system, whereby the propellers which when under sail would normally be folded, can rotate and produce around 500W at 7 knots. Finally, there are the more traditional solar panels which in sunny conditions can produce 2.5kWh/day.  On the deckhouse, there are more solar panels which recharge the three original 12V circuit batteries with a total capacity of 440Ah. These are used for starting the generator and can also be recharged by an alternator hooked up to the generator, and by a 48V/220V convertor. Everything is of course run by electronic systems, but I am a qualified electronic engineer. Having left Turkey in 2014, I reached the Marquesas the following year. Since then I have been sailing around Polynesia, and I am very happy with the choice that I made.  

Who : Louis-Noël

Where : Tahiti, Polynésie Française.

Boat : Leopard 40 ‘electric’

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