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March 3rd - Solar Powered "Electric Paddle" Outboard - Minutes Attached

posted Feb 12, 2020, 1:08 PM by Mark Olsoe   [ updated Mar 13, 2020, 12:01 PM ]

Joe Grez from Electric Paddle ( will present his experiences cruising in a small boat using solar power to drive an electric outboard motor. Given all the deck space multihulls have, solar power is a natural source of power; plus multihulls sensitivity to weight means the very light weight Electric Paddle is a natural driver for multihull dinghies. This means us multihullers will find much to appreciate in Joe's talk which is outlined below:    

“Low Anxiety Electric Propulsion for Long Distance Cruising”  -- Because we use manufactured liquid fuels for propulsion, we've become fixated on capacity and range.  However, by combining solar with electric, it's now practical to use the energy nature provides in real time, making range anxiety irrelevant.  We will show how Solar propulsion works for practical cruising, present solar electric design rules, and show examples of successfully demonstrated designs.  We will also preview a tool for predicting your own system performance that can later be used for plotting and planning your own solar cruises.

NWMA March 3, 2020 Meeting Minutes & Notes

 Our traditional pot luck was well supplied and we had a nice time chatting with new and old friends and a few new faces.  At ~7pm Commodore Scott rang the bell for us the circle up and introduce ourselves.  We had a full plate for our presentation so there was really no business meeting except that treasurer Mark reported a balance of $7000.  This is about where its been the last several years.  He encouraged everyone to support the club by paying dues.  New members are half price at $30.  Besides paying for the meeting room rental we use the money to support our Everett rendezvous and fun rally.  Club benefits include discount at Fisheries Supply, tool and equipment loaning library (boat scale, huge storage rack/boat tent frame, boat stands, etc.), discount at Ballard Sails, free sail measuring for new PHRF racers, free boat show tickets, and I think Amelia Yacht Charters will give us a 15% discount on day/sunset charters of their nearly new 38’ Seawind catamaran.


During our introductions members mentioned:

.  Cruising plans to Desolation Sound and Alaska

.  That several boats may be for sale:  Chris White Hammerhead 34, Corsair F31R, Farrier 33, Mainecat 38, Horstman 44 and a Weta.  Wow I hope the boats and members stay active in the club.  Contact the club secretary for contacts

.  A captain to run day or week charters for a local Seawind 1160 is being sought

PHRF NW is offering a rebate to a member’s club for first time PHRF registration for the next month so act fast if you are thinking this

.  Jeff O. is doing the R2AK on his F9 trimaran with some old friends

.  Another fellow I didn’t get full details of named Duncan is also doing the R2AK in an F24 and they need help getting up to multihull speed.  


It was significantly larger turn out this evening.  Probably because of our 2 programs mentioned below.  Usually we have 15 or 20 but tonight I counted 30.  Good to see you all.  C’mon back next month.  We don’t charge and we don’t bite.  We love to spread the word and share the multihull world.


Special tonight was a tribute to popular club charter member Larry Christiansen who died a year ago.  His good friend and crew, Rick S said some words about his life and told a few crazy sailing stories about him.  Others did too.  Larry’s ground breaking 41’ trimaran Invictus was designed by him in the 1960’s as a masters thesis and he built it himself working all nighters.  I understand it was the fastest boat on Puget Sound for a decade or more.  As it happens he also helped start and build (in 1962) a ski club lodge that I’m a member of.  I’ve seen old pictures of Larry in the ski club photo album.  He was also a high school teacher, champion dancer and roller skater.  Quite a guy and an inspiration to us all.  After Ricks tribute he said to take a look at the hundreds of photographs of Larry, his boat, friends and other boats and take what ever you want.  Larry loved to take pictures.  I took several as I used to spend lunch hours walking Shilshole and always oogled his boat Invictus.  Rick will toss them out in the next month sometime so contact him if you want to take a look at them, he may have a picture you or your boat!  There will be another celebration of his life but Rick requested you contact him directly for the details, or contact the club secretary.


The main event was a presentation by Joe Grez of EPcarry, the small ~1 hp electric outboard.  I hope I don’t sound like an ad but its a beautifully thought out product made right here in our back yard, North Bend.  That is no mystery as Joe has a science background and formerly worked with solar panels and electronic consumer products.  Joe participates with his Epcarry in the Salish 100, a cruise from Olympia to Pt Townsend for small boats. He has a 26’ monohull in the San Juans and has raced small boats including Thistles & International 14s.  In fact his test boat is an old I-14 that had a rotten transom so he cut it off and made a nice little I-13 motor cruiser.  He refines and measures performance of the EPcarry on this little craft.  He hopes to get some feed back on multihulls in the future.  Your can tell Joe is a true believer.  He thinks gas outboards under 10 hp will be a thing of the past in the not to distant future.  He and his wife started EPcarry after viewing the wafting blue (not purple) haze of exhaust just off the water in a crowded anchorage and thought this has to be changed.  He gave a fair overview of the industry; Torqueedo, trolling motors and a few other manufacturers I hadn’t heard of, giving kudu’s to those efforts.  He then differentiated where his product fit in.  Specifically as a dingy motor or low impact camp cruiser like his own I-13.   Everything is designed to give good speed and max range to small displacement vessels; from the battery size to the motor size to the prop design.  He had several interesting and easily understood graphs and descriptions of the range and performance at various levels of power and types of boats.  He mentioned that he could scale it up to predict performance on our bigger multihulls, (he said to call him at the factory).  Admittedly the motor is too small as a main auxiliary.  It shines as a dingy motor.  The weight and horse power is minimized to be just enough to get most 13’ and under boats to hull speed, ~4 knots.  Full throttle lasts an hour, half throttle, 2 hours at ~3 knots.  Perfect.  He didn’t say but I think, in a pinch, it could probably chug most < 30 footers out of a harbor at 2 or 3 knots in calm water.  


I found the most interesting part of his presentation was the integration of solar power into his system.  You can buy solar panels, controllers, extra batteries and the motor as a complete system, or any part of that separately.  His own boat has two 100 watt solar panels.  His graphs and explanations show how surprisingly well the panels can extend the cruising range of his motor.  Up to 40 miles if you go slow, and its real sunny.  They also foretell to me how the future for larger electric propulsion motors might make sense for bigger vessels.  Of course some of that is already happening.


Other interesting EPcarry bullet points:  


It charges from the main house battery in your boat via any old cheapo 200 watt cigarette lighter plug inverter


It has reverse on the tiller and the reverse lock is automatically released when you pull the tiller arm to raise the drive leg.  Its a unique and easy system, check out the video on the website;


Only 14 lbs and the separate battery is 6.5 lbs so easy for my wife


The battery in its soft case floats


Everything is water proof.  If you flip the boat in the surf just bail it out and carry on


Obviously its much quieter than an outboard.  I’ve never heard it but I did find the Torqueedo has an annoying whine.  I don’t know if this has some of that too.


Another interesting subject he covered a bit was the debate about how an electric motor will out perform the same hp gas motor.  He explained it quite well but I couldn’t take notes fast enough to get it down and repeat it; something about shaft horse power and actual thrust from the prop, using only the minimum size motor to do the job for displacement speeds vs the smallest outboard has double the power needed for this and it needs to turn at high RPMs to make that hp, the design of the prop, etc.…  I didn’t find this explanation in the website but I’m sure he would repeat it for you if asked.


Ok enough gushing,  It would be a great dingy motor if you are in the market.  


So the meeting ended with the usual Q&A with Joe and separate conversations among others.  Then all hands chipped in to put the room back in order.  


Next month April 7 we will hear Joe and Sue Dazy tell of adventures in their 48’ Chris White Catamaran from the east coast US to the Caribbean, thru Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Mexico, out into Pacific, Alaska, Seattle. (Postponed to October)  Also be thinking about our Everett rally coming up in May.
Eric Lindahl