In a bid to add renewable-power generation as an option for vacation sailors, Voyage Charters offers a 48-foot multihull powered by electric drives; a 57-foot model is also on the drawing board.
That makes Voyage among the first, if not the first, to offer electric marine propulsion for charter. One other builder, Maine Cat, of Bremen, Maine, launched its first electric MC 38 LS-E sailing catamaran in September 2018, but as of yet, has no plans to add the model to its charter operation in Hope Town, Abaco, in the Bahamas.
The Voyage 480, of which one is now available for charter in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, will also serve as a demo for future electric Voyage Yacht sales, to the private market and to charter yacht owners. Like the 480, the Voyage 575 is under contract to also be equipped with electric propulsion, solar charging, hydrogeneration and a standby DC generator running off diesel fuel. Inclusion of a DC generator gives the vessel a motoring range comparable to a similar boat with a diesel engine.
Practical benefits of these cats, according to the company, include silent, cool motoring, as well as the ability to run reverse osmosis water systems without having to constantly run the generator and burn diesel.
“We believe that these electric boats will play a significant role in rebuilding the charter fleets and indeed the tourism industry in the British Virgin Islands, as more and more residents and visitors consider the environmental implications of everything they do and rely on,” says Voyage broker Peter Jones.
How does this new technology translate for bareboaters ready to book?
David Beavis, Voyage’s managing director of charter reservations, took time to answer a few questions. Worth noting is that midseason pricing for a bareboat charter aboard this cat is approximately 12 percent more than a standard diesel-powered Voyage 480. Sailors with the standard resume are qualified to take the electric cat out on charter.
Once at the base, charterers are taken through a comprehensive checkout. Specific to the electric model are tutorials on location and operation of the Oceanvolt SEA (Silent Electric Autonomy) system controls and displays and how to operate the vessel under power. Battery bank charge levels are also explained. Operating the electric cat is no more complicated than taking out a diesel-powered sailboat, says Beavis.
Perhaps even more innovative than the power supply is the support Voyage can provide during the charter. The Remote Service Interface that’s part of the Oceanvolt SEA system aboard the Voyage 480 enables the boat to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. This in turn allows the base staff, as well as Oceanvolt technicians, to remotely monitor, diagnose and troubleshoot system issues on the boat.
Voyage, which took a significant hit to its fleet during the record-breaking hurricanes of 2017, has rebounded. The company’s Soper’s Hole Marina office and reception area on Tortola are fully operational. For details contact the company.