(No) Renewable Energy for my Boat

I have a boat and I love it. It is an old rescue sloop which I have had for some years now. In the years that I have had it, it has been seriously changed and re-worked. It looked so different when we first saw it, that we didn’t even realize that the original hull was that of a sloop. The superstructure was, well, weird for a boat. This boat was, so we realized later, clearly built by someone who did not have much boating experience. The wood work was technically ok, it did include some very nice details. It would be a very nice construction, if it was a closet or a walk in wardrobe.

The Lokeend


But a boat is under constant influence of nature. Water, sun, rain and more water. Especially in the Netherlands where it rains regularly. Or daily, as is unfortunately the case this summer. That means that a boat, any boat, needs to be constructed in such a way that the rain water can easily run off to prevent weak spots.

Well, on this boat, every construction aspect of the upper structure had been done wrong. By the time we bought my boat, I could take a screw driver and push it through the wood, without any serious resistance. Unfortunately I did not realize this in the beginning, so I tried to fix it. This turned out to be a never ending story.

Overheard on a wharf:

“How does one end up with a small fortune while working on your boats?
Start with a large fortune.”

As a result, I decided to get rid of the rotten upper structure, and we ended up with an amazing aluminum sloop. We lost some small beds and a lot of weight, but the overall looks improved dramatically. She looked better from the moment I had removed the wooden upper structure.

At the moment De Lokeend is a fancy sloop that we can be very proud of.

Comfortable to sail around with over 10 people, and you even sleep in the front under the little deck I made with a friend.

Further improvements

The next step is to do something about the engine. The current engine is too big, about 50 years old and smokes like a chimney. Reliability is another issue. Lets just say that no major disasters have happened when the engine stopped in the middle of the lake. Or channel. Stress levels on the other hand have risen on those occasions. I would love to install a reliable and energy-efficient hybrid system. Preferably with some real renewable inputs, wind and sun. At the moment there are various reasons why this is not realistic.
1. costs
2. efficiency
3. space
Cost is an obvious one. Efficiency, in a country like the Netherlands without abundant sun, is a problem too if you like to go for a couple of hours and don’t want to row home.
But most importantly, remember that this is a sloop? Where would I find the space to put some solar panels? Or a small wind turbine? I could make a massive roof over the whole length of the boat, like they did for this little inflatable boat. But it would look, well, bad!

So for now, I am going to start with a more efficient engine. Later I hope to add an electrical engine too, preferably something that is easy to attach to the current propulsion system.