Passage Maker - - Gear - BY DAG PIKE

A closer look at the new Greenline 36 Hy­brid


from Slove­nia has made a spe­cialty of of­fer­ing hy­brid yachts un­der the Greenline ban­ner and they have been pi­o­neers in the devel­op­ment of both electric and hy­brid ver­sions of their ad­vanced de­signs. With ex­pe­ri­ence taken from hun­dreds of hy­brid mo­tor cruis­ers, this new 36 is the lat­est man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Greenline electric power phi­los­o­phy, and it of­fers some very in­ter­est­ing cruis­ing solutions.

The 36 is avail­able in sev­eral vari­a­tions. You can have it as a fairly con­ven­tional diesel-pow­ered mo­tor cruiser equipped with a Volvo Penta or Yan­mar engine. The choice of Volvo power gives you the op­tion of a hy­brid ver­sion, which al­lows run­ning un­der ei­ther diesel or electric power but not both at the same time as hap­pens with some hy­brid con­cepts. The 370-horse­power Yan­mar diesel does not have the hy­brid op­tion but you do get higher per­for­mance with speeds up to 25 knots. The Volvo Penta 220-horse­power diesel pro­vides a top speed of 18 knots, but switch­ing to the electric power drops the top speed to 6.5 knots.


All these pow­er­ing op­tions forced Greenline to find a hull de­sign that would op­er­ate ef­fec­tively at both low dis­place­ment speeds and higher plan­ing speeds. Greenline says this is the fifth-gen­er­a­tion hull and is the re­sult of ex­ten­sive tank test­ing. Out on the wa­ter where it counts, the hull seems to live up to the claims, al­though it is quite sen­si­tive to trim. On the sea trial, the trim tabs were not work­ing, so ex­per­i­ment­ing with trim vari­a­tions was a bit lim­ited.

Start­ing at the bow, there is the now fash­ion­able ver­ti­cal stem matched to a low, dou­ble chine line. Be­low the wa­ter­line, the hull is quite flat with just a shal­low vee to cush­ion the ride. A wedge built into the tran­som helps with the trim, and a shal­low tun­nel ac­com­mo­dates the pro­pel­ler and re­duces the shaft an­gle. This is a sin­gle-engine cruiser, so the pro­pel­ler and its tun­nel are on the cen­ter­line of this semi-dis­place­ment hull.

Such a shal­low hull would not have much bite on the wa­ter, which could make for poor di­rec­tional sta­bil­ity. To com­pen­sate for this, the de­sign­ers have added a fin about a third of the way for­ward from the tran­som. At low speeds this cer­tainly gives the 36 good di­rec­tional sta­bil­ity, but at full speed, the steer­ing be­comes a bit twitchy as it tries to pivot around this fin. Low­er­ing the tabs would prob­a­bly have sorted this, but as men­tioned they were not op­er­a­tional dur­ing our trial. Greenline does not pro­vide the fin on the higher-pow­ered Yan­mar diesel mod­els, which un­der­lines its ef­fect on steer­ing at higher speeds.

The rel­a­tively flat shape of the hull makes the 36 ef­fi­cient, and the per­for­mance is good for the modest power avail­able. Un­der diesel power, she was re­spon­sive to the throt­tle and turned sharply and pre­cisely, as you might ex­pect with that fin pro­vid­ing a pivot point. There was a fresh breeze blow­ing on the sea trial and at speed the hull gen­er­ated a lot of spray, which is likely to be worse if the bow is trimmed down at speed. Ease back on the throt­tles to a 15-knot cruis­ing speed, and ev­ery­thing was much more com­fort­able.

Un­der electric power only, the ride is smooth and there is vir­tu­ally no wash, which makes it ideal for river and lake cruis­ing, or a per­fect Loop boat. The sound lev­els are not as low as I would have ex­pected, with a low rum­ble from the engine com­part­ment, but the bal­ance is made up from wind and hull noise which of

course are com­mon to all boats. I mea­sured 57 dB(A) un­der electric power com­pared with 71 dB(A) at cruis­ing speed with the diesel run­ning, both of which are rel­a­tively low fig­ures and make con­ver­sa­tion com­fort­able at the helm.


For­get about the propul­sion and the hull de­sign for a mo­ment, and the 36 presents a very com­fort­able cruis­ing boat. It is cer­tainly good-look­ing from the out­side, with low, sleek lines, an asym­met­ric su­per­struc­ture off­set to the port side, and slop­ing sup­ports give the boat a dy­namic look. Off­set­ting the su­per­struc­ture al­lows a wide, safe pas­sage to the fore­deck on the star­board side and easy ac­cess from the slid­ing door along­side the helm. Large so­lar pan­els on the top of the su­per­struc­ture can pump out in ex­cess of 1kW of electric power in bright sun­light, which helps to keep the bat­ter­ies charged. A short mast keeps the bridge height low but pro­vides a mount­ing point for the an­tenna. A nar­row side deck on the port­side is wide enough to set fend­ers and moor­ing lines when com­ing along­side. One small point with the fair­leads though: for­ward and af­ter fair­leads have sharp edges that could chafe the moor­ing line.

A great fea­ture of the cock­pit is the electric tran­som door, which folds down to pro­vide easy deck-level ac­cess to the cock­pit from a stan­dard-height ma­rina pon­toon. You sim­ply step on­board with­out any of the ac­ro­bat­ics of­ten as­so­ci­ated with board­ing. This easy ac­cess could prob­a­bly work for a wheelchair, be­cause it is level with the af­ter­deck. When you leave the boat, sim­ply press the but­ton on the re­mote con­trol and the door closes, al­though one snag with this door is that its top is too low for safety when it is closed at sea.

The cock­pit has been kept sim­ple with seat­ing only down each side. Por­ta­ble ta­bles could be used to sup­ple­ment this seat­ing and there is sun pro­tec­tion from the su­per­struc­ture ex­ten­sion above. One op­tion would be to have en­clos­ing screens fit­ted around the cock­pit so it could still be used in poor weather. A sin­gle slid­ing door gives ac­cess to the saloon and the af­ter win­dow on the port side can be hinged up to help link the gal­ley di­rectly to the cock­pit area.

The gal­ley oc­cu­pies most of the af­ter area of the saloon. It has a two-ring in­duc­tion cook­top, let into the coun­ter­top, and a tiny sink, which is barely big enough to fit a din­ner plate. Greenline plans to in­crease the sink’s size on pro­duc­tion mod­els. On the star­board side, there is a huge do­mes­tic up­right fridge and freezer, hold­ing enough for a long cruise. The mi­crowave oven is on this side as well. As it stands, the gal­ley is pretty ba­sic and in my opin­ion, up­grad­ing is called for.

Far­ther for­ward on the port­side lies a large, U-shape set­tee that sur­rounds a ta­ble, and this is the main re­lax­ing area when the cock­pit is out of use. It looks com­fort­able enough and it sort of faces the op­tional ris­ing TV let into the lock­ers on the star­board side. This tele­vi­sion takes away a lot of stowage space when low­ered. Large win­dows of­fer a great view of the out­side world, which is also a ben­e­fit for the per­son at the helm, al­though the high gal­ley lock­ers and the fridge aft can make it hard to spot any­thing com­ing up astern.

The dou­ble cabin in the bow has two sin­gle berths that you can push to­gether to form a dou­ble or keep them split as V-berths. On the port­side there is an­other dou­ble, but this one has min­i­mal head­room over much of the berths, and there is stand­ing head­room only in the en­trance area. This could be a cabin for a cou­ple, and the gen­eral ar­range­ment plan shows the least amount of head­room at the af­ter end. Claus­tro­pho­bic guests may want to sleep with their heads to­ward the bow.

These two cab­ins share a sin­gle head, with an en­trance to the for­ward cabin and ac­cess from the short pas­sage­way that serves the two cab­ins. For a 36-footer, the shower is sur­pris­ingly large and an electric toi­let is one of the op­tions. This ac­com­mo­da­tion is per­haps a bit more ba­sic than one you might find on com­pet­ing cruis­ers of this size, but the shal­low depth of the hull lim­its the space.


Greenline has given good pri­or­ity to the helm sta­tion and in gen­eral it works. The helm seat of­fers both stand­ing and sit­ting op­tions and there is a com­plex footrest that can con­vert to a plat­form for those who pre­fer to stand. The throt­tle/gear lever is a stan­dard Volvo Penta unit and works for both diesel and electric propul­sion, with a se­lec­tor switch al­low­ing you to con­vert from one to the other so the power changeover is very sim­ple.

I didn’t love the shiny black fin­ish to the dash pan­els, which could cause nasty re­flec­tions when the sun shines

through the two glass hatches over­head. There is space for a large com­bined chart plot­ter and radar dis­play and other equip­ment here with the lower panel given over mainly to the con­trols. There is a dis­play that shows both the bat­tery sta­tus and how much charge is left, as well as the time be­fore the bat­tery ex­pires. All that to give peace of mind to the cap­tain when run­ning on electric power. The knobs on the VHF ra­dio in­stalled at steer­ing-wheel level can catch your fin­gers and more thought needs to be given to the whole helm lay­out, al­though the sight­lines are ex­cel­lent, ex­cept for that partially blocked view astern.

In stan­dard form, the 36 comes well-equipped and even air con­di­tion­ing forms part of the stan­dard spec. The bow thruster is also stan­dard and im­proves han­dling in mari­nas, but a stern thruster is an op­tion—I would call it a ne­ces­sity—with the sin­gle engine in­stal­la­tion if you want easy berthing. Even in the fresh wind of the sea trial, dock­ing was con­trolled and ac­cu­rate with the dual thrusters.


Now for the fas­ci­nat­ing part of the Greenline 36: ma­chin­ery in­stal­la­tion. De­vel­oped by Volvo Penta along with electric spe­cial­ist Siemens, the diesel sits un­der the saloon sole, and a gen­er­ous ac­cess hatch al­lows you to eas­ily reach all of the main­te­nance bits, most with­out even go­ing down into the com­part­ment. The electric mo­tor for propul­sion sits in line with the diesel crank­shaft and is sep­a­rated by a clutch so that the diesel can be iso­lated when the electric mo­tor is pow­er­ing the boat. With this ar­range­ment, both the diesel engine and the electric mo­tor op­er­ate the pro­pel­ler shaft via the con­ven­tional gear­box, but they do so in­di­vid­u­ally.

When the diesel is op­er­at­ing, the electric mo­tor is turn­ing and be­comes a gen­er­a­tor that pro­duces 7kW that is ap­plied to­ward charg­ing the boat’s 48-volt lithium-poly­mer bat­tery bank. This can also be charged from the so­lar pan­els, and, of course, by shore power. There are sep­a­rate con­ven­tional bat­tery banks for the engine start, the bow and stern thrusters, and for do­mes­tic sup­ply. An in­verter con­verts the 48 volts of lithium bat­ter­ies up to 110 of 220 volts AC for pow­er­ing the do­mes­tic equip­ment and the air con­di­tion­ing. Greenline reck­ons that the bat­ter­ies have enough power to re­move the need for a gen­er­a­tor.

Hatches in the af­ter­deck open onto a gen­er­ous stor­age area, which is suit­able for bikes, fend­ers, and a de­flated ten­der. How­ever, the steer­ing gear and the gear­box/pro­pel­ler shaft are not pro­tected so any­thing stowed here needs se­cur­ing to pre­vent it from in­ter­fer­ing with these im­por­tant parts of the boat. A stor­age box might make good sense in this com­part­ment.

The Greenline 36 makes an in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent mo­tor­cruiser con­cept. For those who want a qui­eter and sup­pos­edly greener ap­proach to boat­ing, it of­fers vi­able op­tions while not com­pro­mis­ing the ca­pa­bil­ity of go­ing faster or ex­tend­ing the range in open-sea cruis­ing. It is a great-look­ing cruiser and has many in­no­va­tive fea­tures, and while there were some faults with

this pro­to­type, it is likely that these will be ironed out of the pro­duc­tion ver­sions. There is a long list of op­tional equip­ment that can be added, many of which most own­ers are likely to con­sider es­sen­tial.


There are sev­eral types of hy­brid power de­signs for boats and Greenline has come up with an in­ter­est­ing so­lu­tion that can meet many of the re­quire­ments of the cruis­ing sailor. How­ever, don’t be mis­led into think­ing that you are sav­ing the planet with this type of hy­brid. It’s not like an au­to­mo­bile where you can re­cover en­ergy when brak­ing or go­ing down­hill. Boats don’t brake and only go down­hill when sink­ing.

Apart from the so­lar panel, you don’t get any electric power for noth­ing. In­deed when the mo­tor be­comes a gen­er­a­tor you are los­ing about 10% of the power ev­ery time it goes into the bat­tery and a fur­ther 10% when it comes out again—and this is power be­ing gen­er­ated by the diesel engine. You can recharge the bat­ter­ies from shore power in har­bor, which can be a cheap op­tion, but that shore power still has to be gen­er­ated some­where, so it is not en­tirely green.

Then you have a lim­ited amount of power in the bat­ter­ies and you have to make choices. You have about 20 miles of run­ning from a fully charged bat­tery which could be enough for a short day cruise be­fore you need to switch on the diesel. You could run the air con­di­tion­ing for six hours be­fore the bat­ter­ies run out, so overnight you might find you have to start the diesel to get enough bat­tery power to boil the ket­tle for break­fast. You have to think about how and when you are go­ing to use the power that is avail­able in the bat­tery bank. A hy­brid sys­tem gives you op­tions and it is up to you to choose which op­tions to use, which cer­tainly adds a new di­men­sion to cruis­ing.


The new­est it­er­a­tion of the Greenline 36 Hy­brid strikes a modern pose, in­side and out. 42 pas­sage­ May/June 2017

May/June 2017 pas­sage­ 43

Large light ingress is en­hanced by a seam­less for­ward wind­shield, and sky­lights and light ve­neers help add to the feel­ing of re­fine­ment.

Left: Ac­cess to the Volvo-Penta diesel- electric propul­sion is un­der the saloon cabin sole.

LOA: 39’ 3” Beam: 12’ 3’ Draft: 2’ 9” Disp: 15,432 lb. Fuel: 153 gal. Wa­ter: 88 gal. Engine: 220-hp Volvo Penta D3; Op­tional engine, sin­gle 370-hp Yan­mar 8LV Electric Mo­tor: 10 hp De­sign: J & J De­sign Builder: SVP Yachts­line­hy­

Above: The tran­som com­pletely opens up—handy for board­ing or tak­ing a run­ning leap into the wa­ter. The flush deck through to the pilothouse is a nice touch, par­tic­u­larly with the gal­ley aft.

Con­tem­po­rary ap­point­ments abound, like this split- con­vert­ible for­ward berth that also echoes the main deck, with loads of nat­u­ral light.

The Greenline 36’s bench seat helm al­lows easy ac­cess to the side decks for fend­ers and lines, as well as the safety of high bul­warks.

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