Wind is Free, a 1974 Gulfstar 41 Ketch displacing 20,000 lbs. powered by a 72 Volt Voyager
I purchased my 41 ft 1974 Gulfstar ketch nine years ago at a marina in Va on the Patomac river.We renamed her Windisfree and found her to be a comfortable cruiser. Although we`ve only gone on day sails and overnighters we plan to travel on longer voyages when I retire in the near future. Windisfree was powered by the original perkins 108 diesel which had seen better days. After seven years of problem after problem with the propulsion system I decided it was time for a change. Although a new diesel would be one way to go we would still have to tolerate the noise, smell and vibration that bothered my wife and I. It seems to be so adverse to the serenity we find in sailing.
I talked to various people and researched on the internet about electric propulsion and I decided that was the way to go. There were quite a few systems for smaller boats but I didn`t see one I trusted for the 20,000 lbs of Windisfree. I wanted to work with someone on the eastcoast for convenience sake but after James Lambden`s name came up several times by people that knew more about electric propulsion than I did I decided to give him a call.
James put together a system that was beyond my expectations. Installation was easier than I expected although I did have to call James a few times before it was finished. The 72 volt motor pushes the 10 ton sailboat around with ease. The adjustable motor mounts and flex coupling eliminate all vibrations making cruising under power a quiet, odorless and smooth experience the second you leave the dock. The max speed at this point is 5.5 knots but with a new prop with a better pitch she’ll have no problem reaching the seven knot hull speed and be even more efficient at slower cruising speeds.
I plan on adding generator to the system making her a true hybrid and capable of running as long as needed when there’s no wind . The DC distribution system that James designed and built makes adding a generator a plug and play type installation , With no drivetrain maintenance needed ending this season and starting the next will be as easy as checking the charge on the batteries.
We thank James for all the knowledge, enthusiasm and patience in building a system that makes our boating experiences more enjoyable.