GENTL E In hybrid cars, an internal-combustion engine is complemented by an electric motor. The same concept creates more energy-efficient, environment-friendly boats.
Hybrid technology makes the Greenline 39 an energyefficient, environment-friendly cruiser.
Slovenian boatbuilder Greenline has taken up the challenge, producing a range of hybrid launches. And going one step further than hybrid cars, where the battery’s charged by the fuel-burning engine, these boats also collect and store energy from the sun.
Greenline currently produces four hybrid models – a 33, 39, 40 and 48 – with a new 44 coming off the production line next year. All combine a new-generation Volvo diesel with a generator/electric motor unit, sitting within a ‘superdisplacement’ low-drag hull design for efficient motoring. They use traditional diesel power for passage-making, and switch to the electric motor for slow cruising, manoeuvring and docking.
The lithium-ion battery pack can be charged by shore power, the diesel’s alternator or via four large solar panels on the roof. The advantages echo those of a hybrid car – fuel saving and environment-kindly – as well as quiet operation and no smelly fumes.
Hybrid Boats is Greenline’s New Zealand agent, and owner Richard Wardenberg says ex-yachties wanting to convert to a launch are attracted to hybrids for this very reason.
The latest model to arrive here is the Greenline 39, a tad under 12m LOA. She was named Boat of the Show in the launch category at the 2017 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show, on top of other honours scored overseas.
Greenline began building hybrids a decade ago. The concept belongs to two brothers, Jernej and Japec Jakopin, whose design company J&J (founded in 1983) has designed for Elan, Bavaria, Beneteau and Jeanneau. It’s also worked with America’s Cup designers Guillaume Verdier and Doug Peterson on the Shipman 59 full-carbon race boat.
Seaway, the Slovenian company which builds the boats, got into financial trouble during the GFC, and was bought by a Russian businessman who has interests in alternative fuels. Since his investment the company, rebranded as SVP Yachts, has stepped up production, building a new solar-powered factory which aims to churn out one new boat a day to meet worldwide demand.
We took out a pair of Greenline 39s on a glorious late-winter day: a hybrid, part-owned by Hamish Neal, and Wardenburg’s own conventionally-powered diesel model. The two boats look identical from the outside but have different interior colourways: Neal’s boat, Dragonfly, has a warm teak interior, while Wardenburg’s has the lighter white oak.
The Greenline is a sedan-style launch with a touch of Euro
styling in the low-level, angular porthole panel which makes a statement forward. The boat’s hard chines and spray rails also give it a modern, European look.
Neal’s group had previously owned a dieselpowered 10m Greenline 33, but wanted to move up to a larger model – and embrace the green technology.
The transom folds right down (operated by a remotecontrol fob, like a garage-door opener) and forms a large boarding platform. There’s a bench seat to port and a smaller single seat to starboard, and easy access to storage lockers under the teak flooring.
Under the port seat is the reverse-cycle air conditioning/heat pump – the Greenline Hybrid is the first production boat internationally to offer the unit as a standard feature, thanks to the high availability of electricity.
The rear of the cabin is closed off with highly-reflective, one-way glass, to provide privacy when moored stern-on as they do in the Mediterranean. The large door slides open and a window above the galley bench lifts up on a hydraulic ram, opening the cabin right up to the cockpit. A section of bench can then be extended to create a servery.
This makes for a light and bright galley connected directly to the cockpit. But what might raise an eyebrow are the appliances within it: no gas burners and oven or under-bench chiller. Instead, there’s an induction cooktop, electric convection oven (both produced by Slovenian manufacturer Gorenje) and full-domestic-size integrated fridge-freezer unit. Once
again, if your boat’s producing electricity while it runs, why not use home comforts?
Forward of the galley is the slightly raised saloon, with u-shaped seating around a table which can be lowered to create another berth. To starboard is a credenza which conceals a pop-up flat-screen TV. This can be replaced with an extra bench seat if required.
The elevated helm station is forward of this again, providing excellent visibility when seated or, with the hatch above opened, standing. A sliding door from the helm position leads out onto the side-deck and forward onto the bow. The deck layout is asymmetrical: there is a walkaround only on the starboard side.
“New Zealanders like one-level living – they get sick of sitting upstairs on the flybridge in the wind, and don’t
want to be going up and down ladders,” says Wardenburg. “With the big windows in the saloon you don’t feel like you’re stuck in the cabin.”
Mounted above the teak steering wheel is a large Raymarine chartplotter. Alongside are controls for the Volvo diesel and bow thruster, and the hybrid-diesel switch. The Simarine battery monitoring system shows generator power and battery storage levels.
Dropping down forward, there is a twin cabin on the port side (the two beds can be pushed together to make a double) and the master suite in the bow. This can also be configured as a
review Greenline Hybrid SARAH ELL BRYCE TAYLOR WORDS BY PHOTOGRAPHY
She was named Boat of the Show in the launch categorygy at the 2017 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show.
LEFT AND FAR LEFT Various interior decor options are available, including the more traditional teak finish. BOTTOM LEFT
Versatility in the forepeak. The beds can pivot apart, or be configured as a double bed.
With the bigg windows in the saloon yyou don’t feel like yyou’re stuck in the cabin.
FAR LEFT The interior’s a pleasing contrast of light and dark tones. MIDDLE If you need to get to your destination in a hurry, fire up the diesel. LEFT Creative lighting enhances the Greenline’s interior.