Saturday, July 16, 2011

First outing - commissioning

I was getting anxious and finding someone who was willing to go out and help me with this was proving more difficult than I thought. May have been the way I posed it: "Hey, I just put a new motor in my boat, would you like to go out with me and test it out to see if it works? No, not sure how long it will take--probably depends how it works. Could be 45 minutes if it works great. Could be half a day if I have to tow it back. Why wouldn't it work? Oh I don't know. Because it's a boat. With an electric motor. Yes, electric. Um, 4 batteries. Yes, people have been using electricity to power boats for years--granted those people probably know a lot more about this sort of thing than I do."

Also, many of my friends' experiences on the boat have been tainted by outings on the boat when the old motor was in place (and semi-operational). Not many quite enjoy the smell of gasoline and exhaust from 2-cycle engines as I do. Something I may miss with the electric.

My wife and 6-year old son like things to go as planned when at sea. My son has very high expectations for the new motor after hearing about it for the last 9 months, and will probably be disappointed the new motor still won't make the boat go as fast as a Cigarette boat. So I thought I'd try the commissioning myself. 

I wasn't overly thrilled--but mostly due to the nail-biting experience of trying to make it through a shallow channel to get to open water. It takes me a few times to get to know where the channel is each year since the placement of the marker buoys isn't based on science or with any accuracy.

There was a 5-8 mph headwind heading out. Here are some readings I took:

w/ 5-8 MPH headwind

3.75 knots / .9hrs / 69A / 47V / 1770 RPM
3.5 knots / 1.2hrs / 54A / 47V / 1750 RPM
2.5 knots / 1.7hrs / 40A / 48V / 1530 RPM
2 knots / 6.4hrs / 12A / 49V / 1000 RPM

with tailwind
3.75 knots / .9hrs / 69A / 47V / 1750 RPM
2.5 knots / 1.6hrs / 43A / 48V / 1500 RPM
2 knots / 5.7hrs / 13A / 49V / 960 RPM

I made a slight adjustment then took these readings (still with tailwind)
2.5 knots / 2hrs / 35A / 48V / 1330 RPM

Overall, the motor ran smooth but seemed to be a little erratic at lower speeds (motor would rev up and down). Seems overly sensitive at certain spans. Upon return, battery level was reading 77%. In hindsight, I probably should have double checked my knotmeter with a GPS prior to the test.

I haven't been able to bounce these off Electric Yacht yet. I'll plan to share these with Scott next week to get his opinion. This one of the first few EY installations with the Sillette saildrive. The OEM engine was a 15hp, with effective hp probably closer to 10. I seem to be in that range with the new motor.

I still need to arrange my shore power connection. I have an outlet about 75 ft away from my slip, and due to nearby slips I may need to jog the boat down a few pilings to get the cord to reach. I'm really hoping the length doesn't affect the charger. It would be ironic to have to pull up to the gas dock to use the outlet there.


  1. Do you still own this boat? I'm looking at the following at Lake Lanier, Georgia, and am interested in more photos and also impressions you continue to have of the boat:

  2. Still hoping to hear from you :)