Home' Afloat : AFLOAT June 2014 Contents Take monthly with water June 2014 49
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
Going green with Greenline
Worried about your boating footprint? Sick of being
chained to the one-armed bandit aka marina bowser?
Looking to go places without the roar of engines? Such
thoughts are not lost on today’s marine architects in the ever-
greening waterborne world. Even the filthy rich commissioning
new custom superyachts are demonstrating a social conscience
Conversely, at the bottom of the boating tree, are those
water lovers who adopt the less-is-more approach. Buy a kayak
and paddle places using baked-bean power instead. If you shop
around, you will find roto-moulded kayaks made using recycled
polyethylene. Hobie Cat offers a process for disposing of you old
craft. Chop it up and mail it in.
Predictably, sailors will tell you the wind is free, casting
the lines and hoisting the main on, err, a yacht built from
petrochemicals aka fibreglass. Most yachts also have a kicker
and many of those kicking around sport a clunky diesel engine.
Then there is the matter of oil, bilge water and batteries.
But in the boat-building world there is progress towards
more sustainable forms of boating. Aside from less-polluting
combustion engines, the big leap forward in recent times is to
diesel/electric/solar hybrid propulsion systems in off-the-shelf
production cruisers and yachts. Err, made from fibreglass and
with lots of batteries.
Enter the Greenlines from Slovenia. The 33 driven by yours
truly some years ago started the ball rolling after which arrived a
40 upon which this boating scribe toured Pittwater one, thankfully,
sunny day. This was only the second test in the world of the
Greenline 40, the first to be written in English, and the first to
be conducted in the Southern Hemisphere.
Teaming solar recharging with electric motors, Lithium
batteries and frugal common-rail Volkswagen-made diesel
engines, the European-made Greenline 40 Hybrid motor cruiser
is touted as a game changer.
We gad about at 18.1 knots (18.6 knots according to the
factory) at full throttle with twin 150hp diesel engines with
conventional shaft drives, before putting the feet up and idling
using silent electric motors. This is something you can do virtually
imperceptibly at four knots for five hour.
Recharging the 48V Lithium batteries is done any one of
four ways: quickly by plugging into Shorepower; over the period
of a few days using the 1300W solar panels integrated into the
rooftop; or by starting the diesel engines and using its alternators.
The final option is what Greenline calls anchor-charge mode
where you start the diesel engine to drive the electric motor that
doubles as 5kW generator. This might sound confusing to the
Luddite, but fear not. It’s all taken care of automatically.
An impressive power management system from Victron,
the diesel-electric switching from Phoenix, and VW/Cummins
diagnostic panels on the dash pretty much take care of themselves,
leaving you to enjoy the eerily silent electric boating experience
without fear of, phtttt, running flat.
Built by the Slovenian-based Seaway Group, the Greenline
40 is a collaborative effort. It’s one of those rare boats where
the sum of the collective R&D from various sources is greater
than the whole.
The interesting yacht-like hull hails from brothers Jernej and
Japac Jakopin, better know simply as J&J, who are revered for their
performance yachts. The twin diesel engines are from Volkswagen
but rebadged Cummins as part of a worldwide after-sales servicing
and warranty arrangement.
The electric hybrid propulsion system hails from a company
called Iskra that’s renowned for such things, while Bisol is behind
the solar roof, and Kokam takes the credit for the impressive
Lithium batteries. Yep, it’s a different world of boating bits,
brands and brains.
Tank testing, computational fluid dynamic forecasting, and
extensive field testing underscore the Greenline fleet that’s on
the move, including by stealth in Australian waters. Thanks to
Europe, where there’s increasing focus on emissions in enclosed
waterways, and a rising social conscience, green boats are go.
The 40 Hybrid costs from $616,500 and the non-hybrid from
$533,000. A special will be offered on the 40 at Sydney Boat
Show, where the headline news is a new Greenline 48 on debut
(unless the ship is late). Meantime, there’s a Greenline 57 due
out next year followed by an 88. The hybrid fleet caters for the
boater looking to go places with a cleaner conscience. More
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