Small recreational electric catamaran

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by solarsailor, Nov 16, 2021.

  1. solarsailor
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: San Diego, CA

    solarsailor Junior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I'm interested in building a small inexpensive 12ft electric-powered catamaran with solar panels. It will be primarily for hotels and small boat rentals to provide an alternative to Hobie Cats and similar for people, who want to have fun on water and be ecofriendly, but don't want to learn sailing. This is actually my first time building any type of boat from scratch (although I owned a sailboat before), so any input is appreciated.

    First and foremost, I'm looking for someone to help me with design, estimate the weight, water resistance, required power, and do the 3d modeling of the parts. Preferably, someone who likes the idea.

    Also, any building advice would be helpful. I'm thinking of building the prototype in plywood to get it done quickly. I'm based in SoCal. Any boat builders around here that could do something like this?
     
  2. SolGato
    Joined: May 2019
    Posts: 152
    Likes: 87, Points: 28
    Location: Kauai

    SolGato Senior Member

    Why build from scratch?

    Just put an electric motor and solar panels on a HobiCat or any other beach cat and you’ll be way ahead of the game.
     
    Skyak likes this.
  3. solarsailor
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: San Diego, CA

    solarsailor Junior Member

    Good point, SolGato. I considered it, but couldn't find anything I could easily modify. First, those Hobie Cats aren't cheap. You pay for the rig, etc. The other reason is comfort. Sailing is more of a sport. I'm envisioning a vessel with comfortable seats that can cruise at slow speed.
     
  4. SolGato
    Joined: May 2019
    Posts: 152
    Likes: 87, Points: 28
    Location: Kauai

    SolGato Senior Member

    Craigslist is often littered with Beach Cats looking for good homes, and it’s usually the rigging and sails that are in need of replacing, the trampoline too sometimes, with the hulls and frame structure in usable condition.

    It’s typically much easier to register a production built boat than homemade, and I would be further concerned about liability if you are renting it out.

    A new rotomolded plastic Hobie like a Wave would be the best option as they are indestructible and very buoyant, but a Classic Hobie or Prindle, etc.. would work as well.

    Once you lose the sail rig and rudders, you can replace that weight with a trolling motor, battery, and a bimini with flexible solar on top.

    Comfort-wise, it’s hard to beat lounging on a trampoline!
     
    fallguy, Skyak and bajansailor like this.
  5. SolGato
    Joined: May 2019
    Posts: 152
    Likes: 87, Points: 28
    Location: Kauai

    SolGato Senior Member

  6. solarsailor
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: San Diego, CA

    solarsailor Junior Member

    Very cool! Have you tried adding solar panels?

    What I had in mind was a boat that can take 2 - 4 people seating comfortably in the upright position with helm steering. The seat backs can lower to convert the whole thing into one big sun bed. It should also have an anchor and some storage compartments. A typical usage would be to take it out somewhere, anchor it, and then just lounge on it, do swimming, snorkeling etc.

    I got this idea by observing what people do on larger boats. 99% of the time is spent at anchor. But one doesn't really need a large boat to do that. This boat is designed to create a similar experience at low cost. So, I guess it should have more amenities than a typical beach cat. None have an anchor or a place to put it that I know of. Also, need a helm and some seats.
     
  7. SolGato
    Joined: May 2019
    Posts: 152
    Likes: 87, Points: 28
    Location: Kauai

    SolGato Senior Member

    Please take a close look at the photos. You can see a solar panel mounted on the front that was adjustable, as well as seat backs, cup holders, a cooler, etc.. You don’t need to store an anchor, they sell brackets that hold them so you could mount it and leave it out.

    Adding a helm with steering and throttle complicates things, adds weight and is a considerable cost versus mounting a trolling motor, and the higher people sit the more unstable. If you must, motor companies like Caroute, Torqeedo, and EPropulsion offer remote throttle and Caroute even offers steering for their motors.

    Keep in mind adding a solid deck will add considerable weight as well.

    No one has ever complained about being uncomfortable on any of my conversions. Laying on the trampoline with seat backs is like sitting on a poolside lounge chair.

    As far as storage, mounting a waterproof storage box for safety equipment and dry goods would be easy enough. Could even double as a console with cup holders, charge ports, etc.. and house the battery.

    Just google beach catamaran conversions and you’ll see what others have done using old sailboat hulls.

    FYI, there are quite a few companies now making production Catamarans that provide the very experience you are seeking.
     
  8. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 1,805
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 304
    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    ^^^this
    many will be "needs to go today" and trailer will have rotted flat tires.

    if on Craiglist as "Free" respond with promise of gift of case of beer etc if they hold it for you for a couple hours.
     
  9. kerosene
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 1,210
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 358
    Location: finland

    kerosene Senior Member

    and it is a bit much to ask someone to do the calculations and a 3d model.
    I know you don't mean I'll will but it is not that from "I need a roof and looking for people who could build me one".

    people are happy to help etc.

    on a more productive note there used to be a multi hull company in Venice/MDR. probably moved with real estate prices being what they are.
    I'll look for name later.

    also 12" is too short imo.
     
  10. solarsailor
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: San Diego, CA

    solarsailor Junior Member

    I meant I'm looking for someone who'd be interested in doing this job for a fee or on a partnership basis (or maybe a combination of both). I should've probably made it more clear. I heard that typically a design would cost a percentage of the cost of the build, but not sure what the going rate is.

    I think this design is not super complex. If someone is good with FreeShip and Rhino, or Orca3D, let's talk.
     
  11. solarsailor
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: San Diego, CA

    solarsailor Junior Member

    Could you send some link of which ones may be similar?
     
  12. kerosene
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 1,210
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 358
    Location: finland

    kerosene Senior Member

    here is multimarine.

    Home - Multi Marine http://multimarine.com/

    one can find their ecocat in old epoxy works, or whatever it was, publication.

    Seems to be still next to the gas station right at the start of Abbot Kinney. This would be the professional choice. A real builder/designer with multi hull experience.
     
  13. kerosene
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 1,210
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 358
    Location: finland

    kerosene Senior Member

  14. SolGato
    Joined: May 2019
    Posts: 152
    Likes: 87, Points: 28
    Location: Kauai

    SolGato Senior Member

    Mike (Multimarine) mentioned to me in a recent phone conversation that he has pretty much retired.

    In fact he also just happens to be converting a beach cat into a solar electric cruiser for fun as well, using a bunch of second hand parts people gave him.

    Maybe I missed it, but is this something you want to design and build for production?

    If so, do your homework and research. It’s really not hard to find examples of small conversion and production electric catamarans. Google image is your friend.

    If that isn’t your intention, then just buy the one I posted the Craigslist listing for. It has all the things you want, and is already on the water and working, looks to be well executed, and is reasonably priced.

    Sell off the gas outboard, replace with electric, add some solar and you are in biz.
     
    kerosene likes this.

  15. solarsailor
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: San Diego, CA

    solarsailor Junior Member

Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.