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A refit to a hybrid sailing yacht: why should you do it?

February 7, 2021
The interest and demand for hybrid propulsion for sailing yachts is growing enormously. The solutions for this are in development, curious about what is involved? In a series of articles, we share the latest developments in making the Hoek 56ft truly classic hybrid. In this 1st edition: the pros and cons of a hybrid sailboat.
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Hybrid sailing yacht: why?

What is the reason for making a sailing yacht hybrid? It is an expensive solution to save a little bit of diesel. In addition, it is complex to make a sailing yacht hybrid, for example, an electric motor, battery bank and generator are now required instead of just a diesel engine. Because it is a complex system for most people, it is difficult to repair if it breaks and as a sailor you do not want to give up your freedom of course.

However, for more and more sailors, these disadvantages do not weigh up to all the advantages that hybrid sailing can offer. Likewise, the owner of the 56ft Truly Classic "Elysium" is convinced that a hybrid propulsion system is a great addition to his sailing yacht and that it prepares the yacht even better for the work and travel life he envisions with his wife.

The system is being designed by STOK Electric and installed in Makkum in collaboration with Hutting Yachts. STOK Electric is a company that develops custom hybrid systems for sailing yachts between 50ft and 80ft. Behind STOK Electric are two brothers, Antonie and Berend Stokman, driven by their shared passion for sailing and technology.

The benefits of hybrid sailing

But what are the benefits of hybrid sailing? According to the guys from STOK Electric these are as follows:

  • More comfort and safety: a hybrid system provides much more comfort and safety. You are no longer bothered by the smell of chemicals of a diesel engine. In addition, electric energy is readily available to be able to work on board and to cook electrically, so the gas installation can go.
  • Constant power: an electric motor provides constant power and is always on standby. There is direct propulsion available, whenever you want. You no longer have to wait until the diesel engine has started.
  • Much quieter: with a hybrid system, the boat becomes a lot quieter, because there is no noisy diesel engine on board… what a peace of mind!
  • Better action radius: a generator in combination with solar energy makes the range of a hybrid sailboat larger than a sailboat with only a diesel engine. This is because the batteries can be charged while sailing; endless sailing guaranteed.
  • More freedom: access to environmental zones and nature reserves: a ban on diesel engines is being introduced in more and more locations, such as in nature reserves and in cities. Many sailors want complete freedom and as few restrictions as possible. With hybrid propulsion you have access to these environmental zones on the water and you can continue where others are stopped!

‘What if the batteries are empty?’ In emergency situations or for long distances on the engine, there is the diesel generator that can step in to provide the electric motor with the necessary energy, so you will never be without propulsion. In addition, the solar panels and Hydro generators always do their job to recharge the batteries.

Status of the project

At the moment the system is still under development, but the concept is already known as can be seen in the top image.

At this moment STOK Electric is busy with giving all parts a location in the ship, as well as doing research on enabling hydrogeneration in their system. Steps are being taken in the right direction.

Hutting Yachts is responsible for the installation of the energy system. By combining the knowledge of STOK Electric and Hutting Yachts, a qualitative and safe hybrid system is developed and installed.

Would you like more information about the refit project at Hutting Yachts? Please click here.