Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Harbor Report: A new shine on the shore boat

NHYC refit shore boat

By Len Bose
October 3, 2014 | 2:37 p.m.

It was brought to my attention this week that the Newport Harbor Yacht Club had completed a major refit to its shore boat.
I'm sure most of you can give a flying burgee about NHYC's shore boat, but this story is kind of cool. Hearing the rumor of the refit and how it was powered brought me down to the club the day I caught wind of it.
I noticed the old shore boat had a new glow. The gel coat on the hull, deck and interior had all been redone, the fenders, rub rail, boot strip, bottom paint and CF numbers had been replaced, and everything was in its proper place. For being more than 50 years old, the shore boat is standing tall.
As I walked closer to the boat, one of the club's prominent members, Chip Donnelly, was waiting to be shuttled out to a boat when I inquired about the boat's power system and who had done the refit work. Donnelly is a straight-to-the-facts kind of guy and I am not a very good listener, so most of what he told me about the boat's drive system went in one ear and out the other.
Donnelly has known me now for more than five years and probably realized that I am more of a seat-of-the-pants sailor who needs to touch and feel. So he told me I needed to go for a ride and see how this vessel performs.
Donnelly told me that the refit was completed at Duffy Boats as he peeled back the engine hatch and started to explain all the features of this electrical motor. I started to understand that the motor has 150 horsepower, same as the previous diesel. The motor is driven by AC current, which is provided by an inverter located just in front of the engine. The drive is cooled by a heat exchanger, and all the batteries on the boat have a one-point filling system. The batteries looked a little taller than the ones I've seen on other Duffy boats, and I was noticing how much thought went into the installation.
I had reached my input limit when we closed the engine hatch and Donnelly requested the boatswain, the boat's operator, to punch it. The torque was immediately felt as the large wake moved through the mooring field, and we quickly reduced speed. I asked the boatswain if he had towed anything to the dock yet, and he explained that they had brought in a 65-footer the other day without any problem. I then asked if he had to recharge during the day, and he replied they have not even come close to that point.
Marshall "Duffy" Duffield, who has always been easy to talk to

I was taken back to the dock and grabbed a couple photos of the boat from the club's long dock. Next, I gave a call to Marshall "Duffy" Duffield, who has always been easy to talk to because I always end up laughing, then feel like I have done something to make the harbor better. Did I happen to mention that Duffy is running for City Council this election?
He explained that this has been a dream of his for over 40 years when he first brought the concept up to the club's board of directors. He pointed out that the annual fuel and maintenance cost savings for the shore boat would be $15,000. The batteries should last for more than 10 years, and one of the keys to all this coming about was that people are becoming more familiar with electrically powered vehicles.
Another big factor was that the technology became available to purchase and install. We need to give the NHYC a "well done" for leading our harbor into the future of yachting.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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