Pioneering 1990s yacht relaunched with hybrid propulsion

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The 44m Royal Huisman built world-cruising ketch, Juliet, first launched in 1993 and at the time an example of pioneering custom-built yacht technologies, has been relaunched with a new hybrid propulsion system.

With the refit undertaken at the builder’s facility in Amsterdam, Royal Huisman notes that benefits to the owner now include silent operation, zero-emission operation, peak-shaving, shaft-generated power under sail and reduced fuel consumption, combined with enhanced operational flexibility and redundancy. The company has been building hybrid vessels for over a decade. Its 58m ketch, Ethereal, was the world’s first hybrid superyacht, delivered in 2009, and it says it has continued to refine its technology since then.

The centerpiece of Juliet’s hybrid conversion is a new gearbox coupled with an electric motor/generator. This facilitates direct electric propulsion, with energy drawn from either the main engine, the newly fitted battery bank or the onboard generator. Conventional shaft drive directly from the engine remains an option as well. With the main engine becoming the primary source of power generation, the system is configured to deliver peak shaving from the battery bank – during sail hoisting and maneuvering operations, for example. Furthermore, the yacht’s maneuvering thrusters are now electric rather than hydraulic powered.

Under sail, hydrogeneration from the propellers is available, and rapid charging of the battery bank is provided by either an electric motor/generator driven by the main engine or a standalone generator. At anchor, battery power replaces the gensets as the main power supply, eliminating the noise and atmospheric pollution that previously occurred from the boat’s generators.

“Huisfit is offering a number of smart green solutions to reduce the use of energy on board superyachts with 20th  century technology. A conversion by Huisfit in Amsterdam – from conventional to hybrid – is the ultimate systems upgrade with leading-edge propulsion and power generation,” said Jan Timmerman, CEO of Royal Huisman. “The Huisfit approach brings together our exceptional infrastructure, technology and skills with leading industry specialists to provide a bespoke solution for every refit, rebuild and renewal project in one tailored package.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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