A sailing yacht could be said by definition to use hybrid propulsion, but making the engines hybrid demands technical know-how and a long-term vision of the market. During last spring there arrived in Viareggio from the Perini Navi yard in Tuzla, Turkey, the hull of SY 42 metre E-volution, the first in the new line created by Perini Navi designers in collaboration with the American studio Reichel/Pugh, one of the best-known high performance sailing yacht designers. Sloop rigged, the yacht is built in aluminium and will have mast, boom and rigging in carbon fibre with delivery expected for the summer of this year.
In terms of aesthetics, the exteriors designed by Franco Romani, Style & Design Director of Perini Navi, marking important change with respect to the classic lines of the yard’s fleet. The stern platform provides a large beach area, offers more room and makes access to the sea more comfortable. The naval architecture and sailplan designed by Reichel/Pugh offer an ideal compromise between comfort and performance. With a retractable keel, the yacht will have a powerful, easy to handle sailplan.
Confirming the Perini’s commitment to environmental sustainability and safeguarding the sea (it is a partner in the One Ocean Foundation founded by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda), the SY 42m E-volution is the first Perini Navi sailing yacht with hybrid propulsion, an eco-compatible electric motor to compensate the main diesel engine and a bank of lithium batteries developed in partnership with Diesel Center in La Spezia. In detail, the electric motor works directly on the shaft of the heat unit through friction. This configuration makes it possible to install a smaller diesel engine to which the electric motor is added making it possible to achieve maximum power with the boost function. To obtain 439 kW just with the diesel engine, both the weight and the bulk would have been greater compared with the two units installed.
However, a system of this kind is more complex to manage, but here the technology developed by Perini and its partners is there to help: for example, thanks to automatic setting the software brings in the electric motor only when greater power is required. At cruising speed, sailing with the diesel engine generates current and provides the extra electric power needed. Or, it is possible to move under sail with the generator working or just using the batteries for services and sail handling, without having to keep the generator on, saving emissions and hours of diesel, thus exploiting to the full the efficiency of hybrid power.
The diesel/electric transmission ensures maximum quiet while in diesel only mode the ranges 3000 miles at a speed of 9 kn, but during an ocean crossing there is always a chance to hoist the sails and thus increase the range. Although the 42m E-volution is the first Perini sailing yacht with hybrid engines, the road towards this configuration started back in 2016 with the delivery of the 70 m Sybaris (today Badis) followed by the 30 m Dahlak. Up until then, the generators installed were able to supply the maximum power needed, but in fact they were distinctly underused. And this under usage brought problems over time. They were resolved by installing a smaller generator with a larger battery pack that provided the reserve necessary to have both greater power and electric range. This solution made it possible to acquire the knowledge and experience to move into true electric propulsion.
On board the E-volution 42, in place of two generators only one of 180 kW is installed for services with a 195 kWh battery pack to provide a very useful energy reserve for greater autonomy with the boat hove to. For example, if staying in an anchorage where you cannot or do not want to have the generator running, the battery provides about six hours of power for the hotel services. In port, the batteries are recharged from the pedestal. A direct current bus makes it possible to obtain power from any source, with easier management. The batteries are high tension, 660 V marine lithium ion, giving a total accumulated power capacity of 195 kWh and they can be recharged in about an hour with the generator group.
The production plans of the yard are for seven ships, four sailing and three motor. In particular the 47 metre E-volution which will have a larger and more powerful hybrid configuration than the 42 m currently being built.