July 17th, 2012

Electric and Hybrid Boats

See the full article by John Adey on

The electric/hybrid boat market is heating up with new models as well as repower options. Should your next boat be a hybrid?

Nuts & Bolts — Voltage & Charging

The common elements with all these installations are large, expensive battery banks. In many cases these are not the 12-, 24-, or even 48-volt systems we’re used to. While several manufacturers are designing to 48 volts, others are using 120, 250, and even 400 volts or more. These are not systems you’d want anyone other than a trained technician to diagnose and repair.

Charging can be accomplished in many ways, but the important thing is battery management. Parallel systems can be fitted with smaller banks because the combustion motor can drive the boat as necessary, while the serial method needs enough juice to get you the entire distance. In order to optimize the performance and lifespan of these large DC power plants, the charge method is of utmost importance. The charging characteristics are custom programmed for the banks they’re serving. High-end charge controllers have the ability to take almost any source of energy (shorepower, alternator, solar, or wind) and turn it into the correct output for the battery bank.

Information Management And Safety

By design, these systems connect many components that need to work together, which generates a wealth of information. Some gear-head boaters, like yours truly, would like as much information as possible; some just want the silence. Make sure the option you choose has the ability to hide or display the information you want.

Part and parcel of the responsibility of these new systems is safety. The user must never come into contact with these voltages. The key is to build it right in the first place and never need to utilize the built-in safety protocols. The world of standards is catching up with the technology. The American Boat & Yacht Council published a document titled “TE-30 Electrical Propulsion Systems” in 2009 and the ISO and IEC international standards groups are working on a document as you read this. When researching one of these innovative products, ask, “To what standard was this product designed and built?” Some builders are ahead of the marine standards curve and building to an electric train/light-rail specification, others pay close attention to the automotive market.

The hybrid boat market is gaining traction. At the Marine Equipment and Trade Show (METS) this year, more and more companies were displaying systems, system components, and battery technologies that were suited to the propulsion market. The decision to invest in a hybrid boat must take into account your boating preferences as well as the technical advantages and maintenance issues. The market is substantially supplying and backing this exciting technology. The more time passes, the more players will enter the arena, the more the prices will come down, and the more choices you’ll have.

May 5th, 2012

Open House – Shop Talk

Lake George, New York – Hall’s Boat Corporation is hosting an Open House on Saturday, May 12 from 11-1PM.

Join Mr. Joe Fleming, one of the founders of ACBS, past owner of Elco Electric Launch and now design engineer at Elco Motor Yachts for the new modern Elco motors. Joe will discuss the history of Elco and will have on display the new AC motors sold by Elco today.

On the shop floor with restoration nearly complete is Wenona, the famed 1899 Elco Electric launch. Attendees will be able to view her original electric motor, as well as many old photos and information about this historic boat.

Wenona was built in 1899 and delivered to the F.R. Smith yard on Lake George where she was used to demonstrate the qualities of electric boats. In 1903 she was purchased by Bishop Stires, who owned a camp at Shelving Rock and who was a prominent figure in New York as well as on the lake.

Wenona became a Lake George icon in the 20the century, as the favorite boat of the popular bishop and his family.

Participating in the open shop will be members of the Hall’s restoration team that made her re-birth possible.

Hall’s will also have on display a variety of classic boats currently in their improved boat shop for restoration and repair.

April 18th, 2012

More Mojo in Miami

Great article on the Miami International Boat show from Soundings Trade Only, “the Daily news for Marine Industry Professionals”.

 Elco Motor Yachts, the Athens, N.Y., electric motor manufacturer, showcased its EP4000 AC on the Hunter e36 Hybrid sailboat. “There’s no smoke, no noise, no vibration,” Elco senior vice president Kevin Kearns says. The AC motor is 93 percent efficient, compared with 45 percent for most diesel motors and 25 percent for 2-stroke gasoline motors, he says. Kearns says that at $8,500, the cost is comparable to a diesel system. The lithium batteries last six to eight years, and the motor, which is sealed and has just one moving part, requires servicing once every 50,000 hours to repack the thrust bearing, he says. “Range is 46nm at 5 knots on batteriesonly” and “A range of 812nm at 5 knots using batteries and generator as a hybrid with 50 gal of fuel. Operating cost is about 8 cents a nautical mile. The 12-volt batteries are rechargeable from shore power, solar panels, a wind turbine or a 14-kW generator. “You can get to hull speed instantly with a generator running and dead batteries,” he says.

Read the article in it’s entirety

April 15th, 2012

Portland Boatbuilders Show

by Eugene Story

ELCO, Maine Electric Boats and the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard participated together at the Maine Boatbuilders show this year. The Boat Builders Show is a very special show in that it brings together boatbuilders, those that professionally maintain boats and serious boaters. There are very few at the show who do not have a serious interest in boating.

Although ELCO had a booth at last years show, having a boat with an Elco motor installed certainly attracted more people. The show attracts many Mainers but there are also many attendees from Nova Scotia,  Massachusettes, and New Hampshire and others from afar. It is a time of serious boat talk between boaters and builders.

The attraction this year was the Electric Downeaster.  The Downeaster lobster boat of Maine is looked on by boaters as one of the most seaworthy boat designs in existence having evolved over many years of lobster fishing on the coast. While the latest versions have mostly followed the trend to large high powered diesel motors for maximum speed, this has been at the expense of high fuel costs and pollution of water, air, and sound. There is a growing interest is zero emission boats that operate silently at hull speed at a fraction of the horsepower and without pollution.

Maine Electric Boats, the ELCO dealer for Maine, and the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, in searching for a classic lobster boat hull to demonstrate a downeaster hull with electric propulsion  found a 50 year old wooden lobster boat in Boothbay Harbor Maine built for a smaller hull speed motor. We installed the motor last fall and ran trials. The boat performed well reaching hull speed (6.5 knots) with a 20HP ELCO motor. Although the boat has not had its final finish there was a steady stream of visitors over the 3 days of the show and a real interest in electric propulsion. There were also many sailboaters who are looking to repower with an electric motor.

It is still an educational process for most boat builders and boaters and seeing an ELCO motor in a classic lobster boat has given them a good boost. It is those pursuing classic boat building and restoration who will be the leaders.y


March 12th, 2012

Portland Boatbuilders Show

A gathering of the finest fiberglass and wooden custom boat builders on the East Coast. Also exhibiting numerous manufacturers of boating equipment. Sailboats, powerboats, canoes, kayaks, and rowing boats with the builders there to discuss and sell their work.

Portland Company Complex
58 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101

March 11th, 2012

Strictly Sail Pacific

Strictly Sail Pacific returns to Jack London Square, Oakland, CA from April 12-15, 2012. The Show will be bigger and better than ever, with an improved show layout, a new exhibit hall, more special events, an expanded seminar program, and many attractions and special events leading up to the America’s Cup.

Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94607

March 8th, 2012

United States Sailboat Show

U.S. Sailboat Show – October 4-8, 2012

Dock A, exhibiting with Hunter Marine

At the U.S. Sailboat show Elco will be showcasing the EP-4000 along side the Hunter e36 hybrid powered by the same propulsion system.

Now in its 43nd year, the United States Sailboat Show, October 4 8, 2012, attracts more than 50,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world to the waterfront of historic Annapolis, Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay town is also home of U.S. Naval Academy. Recognized worldwide as the premier sailing showcase, this is the place to buy, sell or dream.

GPS Address: 550 Farragut Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401

March 7th, 2012


METS, the worlds largest trade exhibition of equipment, materials and systems for the international marine leisure industry, is organised by Amsterdam RAI in association with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA).

The shows target groups are yacht builders, naval architects, repair yards, distributors, dealers, wholesalers, captains, marina operators and equipment manufacturers from around the world. The SuperYacht Pavilion is the central platform for the worldwide super yacht industry and a show within a show at METS.

Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre
1078 GZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands

January 18th, 2012

Miami International Boat Show

Business in Motion:

More than 2,300 of the world’s leading marine industry manufacturers will display the newest powerboats, motors and accessories on more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space.

Read More

January 17th, 2012

Strictly Sail Chicago

Strictly Sail Shows are the premiere all-sail boat shows in the U.S. Exhibitors from around the world feature their latest products for showgoers to see and buy. Strictly Sail is held 4 times a year in the following cities: Chicago, Miami, Oakland and St. Petersburg. Read More