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Aequus7.0 solar-powered motor launch
7-meter day launch can cruise for up to 8 hours on its battery bank alone.

Aequus 7.0: Solar-Electric Family Launch

Rochefort, France boatbuilder introduces all-electric family day cruiser.

By Benjamin Bleiwiess with Bill Moore

After a lifetime of sailing, champion sailor Bruno Hervouet decided he wanted to develop a family pleasure boat that didn't pollute and wasn't subserviant to the whims of the wind or waves. The answer was, of course, a solar-powered electric motor launch and the Aequus 7.0 was born.

The former manager of Philéas, builders of racing dinghies, where he successfully launched the Open 5.0 and 5.7 boats, Hervouet turned to naval architects FINOT-CONQ, who designed four of the five winning yachts in the latest Vendée Globe race around the world, to design the hull for an comfortable family day cruiser, one that would be entirely solar powered. After testing some 18 hull designs in a digital wave tank, the 7-meter long boat emerged, one that could house a galley equipped with refrigerator and running fresh water. With double berths, it can accomodate up to seven and includes a shower and fully functional toilet with waste water tank.

Propelled by a combination of solar panels embedded in the retractable canopy and enough on-board AGM lead acide batteries to provide up to 8 hours of cruising even without solar assist, the Aequus 7.0 can accelerate to 7 kts (13 km/hr). When the 4kW synchronous brushless propulsion motor is not in use, the solar panels begin to recharge the battery bank automatically. Recharging also can be done while docked using a standard outlet.

The Rochefort, France-based company notes that the solar-electric launch offers the following features:

As he began to explore the concept of solar electric propulsion, in large part to free his family of the smell, vibration and noise of a conventional diesel or petrol powerplant -- and their air and water pollution -- Hervouet tested various electric solutions with friends on his own CG Pettersson, a Swedish day boat from 1930. Those tests demonstrated an all-electric marine drive system was feasible. The basic configuration of the Aequus 7.0 is before VAT is 57,692.30 € or (US$70,607) FOB from Rochefort, France. The boat can be customized, including adding a teak cockpit floor and additional batteries, as well as an electric windlass, and custom-made trailer.

The Aequus joins a growing list of electrically-propelled pleasure craft from solar-powered pontoon boats to ocean-going catamarans. The goal is to offer the convience and safety of mechanical propulsion without the attendent pollution. Whether the fuel comes from the sun or the wind, the sport of marine recreation is beginning on a new tack more in harmony with nature. Aequus 7.0 is another wonderful example of the trend.

Times Article Viewed: 9802
Published: 30-Jun-2010

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