Kapowai, Catalina 30 powered by Electroprop Mariner
Kapowai has been a joy to own and sail between Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. She never runs out of energy and is completely solar powered. Kapowai proves the capability of solar powered sailboats. Every component has been completely optimized for maximum efficiency and as a result she has become energy independent. In full sun, on solar power alone, Kapowai can reach 3 knots, and will motor as long as the sun shines.
After installing the PM 20, 5 years ago, I have been completely relieved of any drive-train maintenance. She doesn’t need to be plugged into the shorepower and is always ready to go at a moments notice. This is sailing at its finest – easy, quiet, clean and completely relaxing.
The solar pole mounted on the back of Kapowai puts out 450 watts. The pole can rotate 360 degrees and the arm lifts the panel allowing the solar panels to aim directly at the sun. The panel is controlled by a dual axis joystick. At dawn and dusk, this increases solar power output by up to 10 times. Once at dusk the panels were horizontal and putting out 20 watts. I focused on the setting sun and the panels started producing 200 watts. While sailing, I periodically change there alignment to maximize output.
Kapowai is our model sailboat and we regularly take interested electric sailors out to for an electric cruise to showcase her leading edge technologies.