First electric racing yacht completes Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

J-Bird III is a TP-52 racing yacht (one of the first of that model ever built) that was rescued a few years ago by Ian & Annika Thomson. They trucked the dilapidated hull up to Brisbane and began a thorough restauration which involved (amongst many other things) removing the old deck, installing a new raised deck, a complete carbon interior fit-out and replacing the old water damaged diesel saildrive with a new Bellmarine DriveMaster 15kW electric shaft-drive motor and BlueLithium LiFePo4 battery bank. The whole restoration project was carried out with best environmental practices in mind.

The boat was re-launched only weeks before the start of the annual Rolex Sydney to Hobart ocean yacht race and their shakedown sail was moving the boat from Brisbane to the starting line in Sydney. Not only were they the first electric yacht to ever compete in the ‘famous Hobart’ but they competed in the 2-handed division as husband and wife team, and came first over the line in their division. Their incredible hard work over the years has paid off and J-Bird III will be competing in many races up & down the Australian East Coast in the next 12 months. 

The yacht is not only a capable racing yacht, but also a set up to cruise reasonably comfortable on long coastal and ocean voyages. The Bellmarine electric motor has the ability to regenerate under sail, slowly charging the batteries up when the boat is moved by wind power. The average rate of regeneration is about 200-250 watts with a 2 blade folding propeller. Higher regeneration figures can be achieved with a fixed or 3 blade propeller. The power source is complemented by 9 x Solbian SR124 flexible solar panels which are attached to the deck. The solar array powers the sizeable 12V house battery bank ensuring continuous power to all onboard systems such as the autopilot, navigation instruments, VHF, fridges and anchor winch. 

For more information on J-Bird III and the story which chronicles the rebirth of this special yacht see their page here 

For more information on the range of Bellmarine DriveMaster electric inboard motors, see here 

For more information on the range of Solbian SR flexible solar panels, see here

For more information on BlueLithium marine batteries, see here

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