In 2009 expedition yacht Mochi Craft Long Range 23 won the World Yacht Trophy for innovation. Beneath its classic contours lies the latest hybrid drive system with zero exhaust mode. After our test drive, we only had one complaint - time went by too fast!
What kind of yacht does an oilman need these days? Hybrid drive, of course, because oilmen know that the future is behind such boats. The future in our case was an impressive, tightly knocked down expedition boat from the... Mochi Craft - a cute 23-meter "lobster" with a touch of retro design. The more surprising it was to find inside such a hull the newest diesel-electric propulsion system, allowing the boat to go for some time without any emissions, on one electric traction.
Work on reducing emissions from motor yachts has been going on for years in many areas. Some shipyards have developed and implemented combinations of diesel and electric motors, but many are still sceptical of the concept of "zero emissions motion" (or just electric propulsion). It must be admitted that the creators of these systems are now limited by the level of current technology. Many heavy, large batteries are needed to store the right amount of energy. The heroine of this article, for example, a full charge of batteries of energy is enough for 90 minutes at a speed of 8 knots.
It is clear that the hybrid system increases economy, but more importantly, it really makes the stay on the yacht more enjoyable. In this sense, the use of hybrid technology is already fully justified today. In zero emission mode (with diesel engines and generators switched off), the propulsion system of the yacht produces only barely audible humming. If the air-conditioners are also switched off, the boat is fully Zen - there is silence in most areas of the yacht. The advantages of such a drive are easy to imagine in a quiet parking lot, when you can berth quietly next to sailing boats without waking the neighbors.
Hybrid drive control is very clear. In front of us, the boat's captain gradually shifts from zero emission mode to a combination of diesel and electric propulsion, and then switches the system to energy saving mode. The touch screen in the captain's cabin shows how the diesel engines are switched off and the electric motors come into action. Switching from mode to mode takes less than a minute.
The power plant of the yacht consists of two 800 hp MAN diesel engines, four 70 kW ZF synchronous electric motors and two 35 kW generators. The energy is stored in lithium-ion batteries. Of course, the boat runs faster and further with diesel thrust, but the electrical part is as reliable as a watch and has many advantages, including the ability to run both screws when one of the diesel engines breaks down.
At nine knots, fuel consumption is between 38 and 54 litres per hour, and the power reserve is approximately 1250 nautical miles. At anchor, the batteries can power the on-board systems all night. From shore-based power, the system can be fully charged in just a few hours, at a cost of less than $30. In the absence of shore power outlets, the batteries are recharged by the on-board diesel engines. The suitability of the system for real life is well illustrated by the fact that... Long Range 23 is also available as a regular yacht, without electric motors and batteries, but no customer wanted to remove them.
Of course, the creators of the yacht paid as much attention to the comfort of passengers as to the environment. It would be a missed opportunity not to mention the beautiful interior decoration and warm, cozy atmosphere of the interior. The two-level salon with dining area is finished with oak veneer and natural fabrics. On the lower deck there is the owner's cabin, VIP cabin and guest cabin with its own shower. Seeing this combination of Italian style, eco-friendliness and practicality, we are ready to believe that in the person of Mochi Craft Long Range 23 the future of yachting is in the rainbow colors.
Published in YACHTS magazine #32.