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Green Motion Retractable Electric Propulsion and Generation System for Sailing Yachts in Production

African Cats has begun production of its full-electric retractable propulsion and generation system Green Motion (earlier post) for sailing yachts. The first two yachts outfitted with the system—a 38 ft Mono hull racer and a 45-ft cruising catamaran—have been launched, says Gideon Goudsmit, one of the company’s principals.

Green Motion system installed in the 45-ft catamaran. Click to enlarge.

The Green Motion system is virtually fossil free and even cooking and hot water is made with the electricity produced by the motors/generators, solar panels and a wind generator.

The production of 3 different types of catamarans and a few mono hulled yachts is taking place and next year more than 10 yachts will be launched with this system in place, Goudsmit says.

African Cats uses four 4 different Motogens (motors/generators) in production ranging in size from 10 to 25 kW. The company has also developed a range of efficient diesel generators that range in power from 6 to 28 KW and produce both 24 volt and 180 volts DC. In 2010 we will start marketing these systems to other shipyards.

Video of the Green Motion system in operation.



I'm sorry - that system looks ridiculous. Somebody should be able to come up with a manual system that raises & lowers via lever or crank...that electric motor looks destined for problems.


And another thing I haven't been able to figure out is why no one has been able to integrate solar panels into the sails of sailboats yet. Obviously hard panels would be tough but you'd think thin film could still work someway somehow.


The prop and stow electric drives must (and can) both be sealed and electric power is obviously available.

An manual stow system would be cumbersome,difficult to protect against corrosion and probably more costly.

Bob Wallace

A good 15 years ago I ran across a cat while I was cruising Central America that had retractable electric drives. They were mounted on the sterns of the pods and rode up and down on a stainless track. Hand winch to pull them up, pin in place up or down.

Nice design, got the props up out of the water, kept them clean and eliminated drag problems. Made it easy to take the cat into shallow water/beach it for cleaning.

Power came from a diesel genset mounted further forward to balance things out.


I have to admit you guys are right - I watched that video of the actuation; Yikes! Each time would be a thrill (did it make it again? Is it broke yet? )

It would be nice, I guess, to just throw the switch and up/down it goes - but it's a sail boat! not a limousine.

It better be capable of manual actuation in case of malfunction.

Architeuthis Dux

Agreed this unit looks way too whimpy. Imagine water slamming against the unit while it is in motion, big waves pushing it up and down, that would be worst than a person jumping up and down and I doubt that motor or drivetrain would survive. Rather than an electric motor it would be better to use powerful hydraulic motors.

Otherwise the idea is tried and true, I'm sure they will get the bugs worked out in no time. It is already a better system in many ways, the only downside is still cost but I'm sure they are worth it with $5 a liter fuel.

Solar panels will not work as sails because they are too fragile if flexible and too difficult to retract or stow in a storm if hard.

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