Case Study
5 min read

GN Espace in tune with all-electric goals of Sail Electric

Published on
June 15, 2023

GN Espace is pleased to be collaborating with Wayne Peters, founder of Sail Electric and The North Devon Marine Project, who, together with a pioneering team and the best green tech suppliers, are creating solutions for sustainable sailing practice whilst fostering a mindset to protect ocean health.

Wayne is a passionate ocean advocate.  It is only natural, therefore, that Wayne should be using the most energy efficient method possible to cook when he set off on Southerly 47 Doris on 3rd June on the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club’s MailASail Azores and Back Race.  Doris is an electric yacht and the cooker, an OceanChef 3 from GN Espace, is being put fully to the test.

In fact Wayne is an Ambassador for GN Espace.  He owns another all-electric yacht, the 34ft Nazca, which is 100% electric and holds some of the longest running hours for electric cruising, and with Wayne currently looking to adopt hydrogen into the mix, she is a shining example of a marine pathway towards net zero.

Wayne and David arrived in the Azores nine days later and reported enjoying lots of homemade meals they’d taken with them including lasagne and shepherd’s pie!

As a specialist consultancy, supply and design service for the transformation of large sailing vessels, Wayne’s company Sail Electric collaboratively works with a wide network of partners including GN Espace to develop and enhance boatbuilding and technologies that will rapidly decarbonise and improve processes across the marine industry. With dozens of realisations for high power demands, both with electric and hybrid propulsion, from racing yachts to cruisers, the Sail Electric name is renowned as a leading industry figure in this sector.

Not only is Sail Electric an authority in electric propulsion, but the company has a clear and vested interest in protecting our fragile marine environment whilst accelerating change. “The idea is that of collective ambition,” says Wayne. “There is so very much to do and in such a short time, we have to continue to actively endorse and rapidly evolve the ethos, technology and crucially the methodology for sustainable sailing”.  He adds “The campaign explores the limits, and seeks a deeper connection with the ocean and her nature, for all of us. Supporting the process and developing green tech that is safe, durable, easy to use and efficient, so that many can adopt it quickly, is our primary objective”.

GN Espace strives towards the same goals. “Our role in electrification of yachts is all about getting great cooking results whilst using as little electricity as possible,” says Ralph Olingschlaeger of GN Espace.  “We achieve this through extensive R&D, cooking performance tests and working with leading component manufacturers to design and specifiy the optimal components for our products.”

Another cooker from GN Espace which illustrates the levels of efficiency that have emerged in recent years is the Levante 2, the smallest gimballed electric cooker in the GN Espace range, so it’s the perfect cooking solution for smaller yachts moving to an electric galley. It has two large induction hobs and a space efficient multifunction oven which is fully insulated and combines with the hob’s energy management system to ensure a maximum load for the cooker of only 3.8kW, in fact 30 mins hob use and two hours of oven uses 1.88KWH with 24V battery = 78Ah and with 12V battery = 156 Ah.

On the subject of power Wayne asks if only using a litre or two of diesel per hour sailing, how a lithium battery and electric motor can be a more sustainable alternative? Wayne clarifies, “Currently it is the only alternative to diesel for the everyday boater. You need good quality equipment, as with anything subjected to the harsh environment at sea. With product development come standards and accountability, actions to combat the carbon, to recycle and find better ways to deliver power for when we need it at no cost to the earth”.

“Electric motor lifespan is far greater than a combustion engine”, Wayne continues. “The motors in our projects have a 50,000 hrs life expectancy, compared to 5,000 to 8,000 for common inboard diesels. Plus, if we are to rely on diesel during the transition, it should be used optimally and for as little time as possible. Lithium technologies – properly accounted for – can be recycled. With hydrogen concepts now in action, and more programs developing globally to better the energy storage, we can expect interesting times ahead. Given their typical use on an electric or hybrid electric sailing yacht, many manage with solar where they can, so we are looking at 20+ years for a LiFePO4 energy storage system”.

Collaboration is clearly a main motivator and key partnerships continually prove that combined strength delivers results. The Sail Electric network offers some of the most advanced credentials in standards and certification, and working with global partners means designs can be tailored to a particular system architecture. Considered advice and fitting the right system is for that boat and for the owner is paramount.

Encouraging others to appreciate, understand and trust in the electric journey whilst also spreading awareness about the impact boating has on the marine environment is where Sail Electric has a powerful influence. Nazca is touring a number of ports and harbours on the UK coastline during 2023. “We run training, workshops, live demonstrations and research and development on all of the methods and products we use to inspire confidence and also confidence in next generation technologies” details Wayne. “There’s nothing like first-hand experience, so to demonstrate the capabilities and positives of green tech, so Nazca runs an Oceanvolt Servoprop. As a 100% electric cruiser/racer, we use her to showcase the technologies and our methods. There is a plethora of tech on board to monitor the boats’ performance, her hull has a non-biocide foul release system, and we analyse our cumulative impact through microplastic trawling and benthic sampling that helps raise awareness”.

He continues, “The system is fully integrated, multiple screens show performance, time to go and status, all in unison with the ships navigation and monitoring. The boat runs from a CANbus network for all the information needed and more, directly at our fingertips. With regeneration under sail and above 6 knots we can reliably pull 400–500 Watts, when we are fully powered up a constant 800W is achieved. Adding in some exuberant sailing with a lot of canvas up, Nazca can hit 1kW in regeneration mode, which is not bad for a waterline of 8.8m. Combined with 1,000W of bifacial solar on the stern and our range, managed well, is theoretically unlimited given planning and patience. The solar can push the boat along at 3-3.5knt and more with the main up. We collect data minute by minute for all the connected systems on board, tweaking the method so we can better train others to adopt a self-sustaining approach to sailing, powered by nature”.

2023 is the year of collective ambition for Wayne and Sail Electric, working to inspire important changes and develop a better understanding of our relationship with nature, “Looking ahead there will be more of the same and more beyond that. We have a full order book and will streamline and optimise the process with a focus on spreading consultancy expertise. Some on-the-water testing with hydrogen will be a real insight into how this technology can evolve, alongside working with more like-minded designers and developers in order to achieve the ultimate leave-no-trace yacht”. As so many boats are leisure items, maintaining these to the highest environmental standards is indeed a duty that needs to be fulfilled.

An exciting summer sail is also on the cards with Wayne and a client taking part in the Azores and Back Race on the only net zero yacht to compete. This newly converted hybrid electric yacht was a customer-led objective, where early knowledge of the fundamentals when switching from diesel to electric was a key factor in building the low impact model to meet the needs of skipper and crew.

Looking at how the marine industry can fully assist an effective and swift transition to decarbonisation, Wayne is clear. “Policy standards and training will be critical elements to accelerating the transition,” he says.  “Knowledge is key, and there are great options out there that should be a common place in the industry by now. The everyday marine engineer needs to have a clear and informed means to access the design and placement of cleaner technology. As well as keeping people safe at sea, we need to keep the sea safe. I am continually inspired with the passion demonstrated by our network and partners, as they pioneer this new age of power at sea, working together to rapidly transition to a zero-carbon world”.

A cooker is one of the heaviest consumers of electricity onboard a yacht so it is good to recognise that GN Espace has pioneered in producing models that are really helping to make full capability electric cooking possible.

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