Skip to main content

SAIL's Best Boats 2014: Gunboat

Gunboat catamarans are known for their sleek lines and speed. Owners take pride in sailing their boats, and the engines are used primarily for maneuvering and intermittent auxiliary propulsion-; they are rarely used for extended motoring.

Gunboat catamarans are known for their sleek lines and speed. Owners take pride in sailing their boats, and the engines are used primarily for maneuvering and intermittent auxiliary propulsion-; they are rarely used for extended motoring. The resulting combination of high sailing speeds and limited propulsion time provides the ideal scenario for a serial hybrid propulsion system in which a battery-powered electric motor drives the propellers.

Central to the PowerWave hybrid system aboard the Gunboat 60 is a pair of 20 kilowatt (kW) motors that can push the boat at speeds of up to 9 knots, with the initial energy provided by a 29 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack. In practice, this battery pack will support harbor maneuvering for hours at a time and full speed operation for around 30 minutes, after which one, or both of the boat’s two 20 kW Polar Power DC generators will kick in.

A sophisticated energy management system ensures that engine operation is always at, or close to, peak fuel efficiency, while operators maintain control through a touch screen in the navigation station. A generator is held in reserve for longer passages that the batteries cannot support.

Under sail, any time boatspeed is above 8 knots substantial amounts of energy can be harvested from the freewheeling propellers-—more than enough to run the house systems and recharge the batteries. Then, when the batteries are charged, the propellers are retracted into the hull for maximum sailing speed. Given the typical operating profile of these boats, it is not unreasonable to think that many owners will enjoy an extravagant lifestyle on board without having to crank any kind of an engine for days, or even weeks at a time. gunboat.com

Related

Rescue

Cruising: Safety Lessons Learned

It’s not often that sailors get a chance to put their rescue and MOB training to the test, rarer still that they do as quickly as newbie California sailor Khosrow “Koz” Khosravani did recently. If and when an emergency situation ever arises, though, it pays to be prepared. This ...read more

01-LEAD-'22.01.10_FALKEN-Maiden_Emma-Bow

At the Helm: Sailplans

The first thing you notice when you look at the sailplan for the Farr 65, Falken, which Mia and I recently added to the fleet here at 59-North, is the sheer number of headsails. Falken was built in 1999 as a racing boat to go around the world, and the crew would have carried the ...read more

01-PR-2-Throwing-it-Back-_©LaurensMorel

Racing Class Reunion

Where does an old VO70 go to retire? Right back to the racing circuit, apparently. This spring saw a remarkable contingent of Volvo Ocean Race one designs back on the water and duking it out on the Caribbean circuit. While it’s no surprise that some of the VO65 teams intending ...read more

05-Sailboats-moored-in-sheltered-waters-off-of-Kärrsön

Charter: Sweden

With 2,000 miles of coastline, 270,000 islands and seemingly countless bays and inlets, Sweden is truly a sailor’s paradise. One of the top sailing destinations here is the archipelago just outside the country’s second largest city Gothenburg (locally known as Göteborg), on the ...read more

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more