Chang­ing the Game

THE DIESEL-POW­ERED 36 FROM GREENLINE HY­BRID OPENED JA­SON Y. WOOD’S EYES TO THE EVER-EX­PAND­ING PO­TEN­TIAL OF TECH­NOL­OGY.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Tech­nol­ogy is at the very heart of dis­cov­er­ing new ways to cruise on the Greenline 36, de­signed with en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and sus­tain­abil­ity in mind. By Ja­son Y. Wood

BBoat­ing al­lows us to cap­ture the best of all worlds, let­ting us ex­pe­ri­ence na­ture through a pleas­ing com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy and free will. If you want a sim­pli­fied way to think about how this works, con­sider that there seems to be an in­verse re­la­tion­ship be­tween tech­nol­ogy’s com­plex­ity and the ease of the user ex­pe­ri­ence. Think about it: Since our mo­bile de­vices have got­ten more and more user friendly over time (and cell phones have be­come smart phones), the tech­nol­ogy in­side has be­come sub­stan­tially more so­phis­ti­cated.

To a de­gree, the same goes for boats. Whether it’s the safety of the sys­tems, or the ef­fi­ciency of the craft, or the com­fort she of­fers, the tech­nol­ogy bears the brunt of the work. It’s what we do with it that can make the real dif­fer­ence in the ex­pe­ri­ence.

When I sea-tri­aled the Greenline 36, my eyes opened to new ben­e­fits of em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy, and I think im­mer­sion in the nov­elty of it can serve to in­spire. The Greenline 36 is the first new model in­tro­duced by a new own­er­ship group of Greenline Hy­brid, SVP Yachts, and the com­pany seems to want to make the most of fit­ting to­gether peo­ple and tech­nol­ogy.

Full dis­clo­sure: I am in­trigued by the idea of a hy­brid-pow­ered boat, and have long been a fan of the con­cept be­hind Greenline boats since the prin­ci­pals at J&J De­sign founded the brand in 2009. But the ap­peal for me is not be­cause of the “green” im­pli­ca­tions, though that cer­tainly doesn’t hurt. What I like most are dif­fer­ent op­er­at­ing modes (in­clud­ing silent, emis­sion-free, elec­tricpow­ered run­ning) that give a boater choices. There’s a back-to-na­ture feel to it that could be a real gamechanger.

Greenline Hy­brid, un­der its new own­ers, is now full steam ahead, with a full line un­der 50 feet LOA, in­clud­ing the new 36 and re­freshed “legacy” mod­els: 48, 40, and 33. For larger yachts, SVP has four mod­els planned, rang­ing from 57 to 90 feet un­der a di­vi­sion called Ocean Class Yachts. The com­pany phi­los­o­phy is to use smart de­sign and tech­nol­ogy to im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency on board, from the hull to the hard­top so­lar pan­els.

Tech­nol­ogy seems to have three ef­fects on the user. First, it ap­peals to us as the next big thing and may get us to try some­thing new. Much of what we have at our dis­posal now wouldn’t ex­ist with­out early adopters and in­flu­encers of­fer­ing their sup­port. Think of your first boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence (if you can re­mem­ber it), when a friend or par­ent in­tro­duced you to the sport. This was some­thing new, and you im­me­di­ately started build­ing your knowl­edge and adding to it.

Sec­ond, tech­nol­ogy ex­erts its in­flu­ence on the user, bend­ing our will to its re­quire­ments un­til it be­comes in­grained. Think of vis­it­ing the fuel dock or switch­ing on bat­ter­ies, or con­duct­ing a ra­dio check be­fore head­ing out. That diesel in the en­gine room, or on­board elec­tri­cal sys­tem, or fixed-mount VHF changed be­hav­iors—though they’re not new tech­nolo­gies, they were once new to you.

The third, and per­haps most im­por­tant thing, is that users in­no­vate their think­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of tech­nol­ogy, and the re­sult is a win win win. The user gets more from his pur­chase and ex­pe­ri­ence, the tech­nol­ogy func­tions the way it was in­tended, and, down the road, the com­pany that is ap­ply­ing and sell­ing the tech­nol­ogy gets a new evan­ge­list on the docks and a good re­sult.

The Greenline 36 I sea-tri­aled was not hy­brid-pow­ered, in­stead re­ly­ing on a sin­gle 370-horse­power diesel. Since the phi­los­o­phy of the com­pany speaks to ef­fi­ciency, it makes per­fect sense: Diesel is pop­u­lar not just be­cause Ru­dolf was a great guy. It’s still the most ef­fi­cient way to power a recre­ational boat over any dis­tance. Rather than let the hy­brid propul­sion steal the show (more on that in a minute), this 36 shows off other kinds of ef­fi­ciency.

This diesel-only Greenline, gave us an easy­go­ing ride with a 17-knot cruise speed at 3100 rpm. This soft-rid­ing hull (they call it “su­perdis­place­ment” be­cause it works well at any speed, but also planes at 14 knots) ma­neu­vered well in gen­tle con­di­tions. To be frank, she’s not a speed­ster, but she felt sta­ble on our day of light winds and kindly seas, and she was re­spon­sive to both wheel and throt­tle.

“She runs like she’s on rails,” says Dennis Rhodes of At­lantic Yacht & Ship, a U.S. dealer for Greenline Hy­brid. “She’s a nim­ble lit­tle boat. She doesn’t lean out­board or in­board, prob­a­bly due to her sta­bi­lizer fin on cen­ter­line.” I cer­tainly liked the way she ran dur­ing my time at the helm.

I also re­ally like the huge, slide-open win­dow by the helm sta­tion, which be­comes a step-through door that can sim­plify line-han­dling for sin­gle-han­ders—smart. If this were my boat, that win­dow/door would be open any time I’m on board. In con­trast there was a piece of over­bear­ing wood trim right above it that wor­ried me—I thought I might bump my head when stand­ing at the helm. I’m sure I’d get used to it even­tu­ally if it were my boat.

Greenline Hy­brid uses tech­nol­ogy and power man­age­ment to give the boater and guests the com­forts of home on board. The lay­out on the 36 has two state­rooms and a sin­gle head with one door for pri­vate ac­cess from the mas­ter for­ward, and one door for day-head or shared use. The mas­ter has a 6-foot-1 ½ -inch over­head at the stand­ing area at the foot of the berth. Or should I say berths, since the dou­ble di­vides and scis­sors out­board to cre­ate sep­a­rate berths. There’s hang­ing-locker space to both port and star­board, and handy stowage in light wood cab­i­netry all around. Greenline has con­tin­ued to use nu­mer­ous win­dows in the de­sign, with nar­row rec­tan­gles in the hull­sides and high win­dows around the trunk on the fore­deck—a treat­ment that al­lows plenty of light in while head­ing off the cave­like qual­ity. That nat­u­ral light speaks to ef­fi­ciency: I wouldn’t need to turn on elec­tric lights in the day­time. The sec­ond cabin has 6 feet 1 inch of head­room in the en­try­way, but the in­board berth is a crawl-in af­fair with a low over­head. It seems to be a worth­while sac­ri­fice for the level deck above, from the com­pan­ion­way to the tran­som.

And that main-deck in­te­rior does a lot with the space, from the one-step-up-el­e­vated helm to star­board and dinette to port that pro­vide ex­cel­lent views from comfy seats, to a gal­ley with lots of stowage and counter space to port op­po­site a con­sole with a popup flatscreen. Be­neath the sole of the gal­ley is the en­gine hatch, which opened wide for fairly easy ac­cess to ser­vice points. And there in the star­board aft cor­ner, a full-size house­hold fridge on a 36-footer (Gorenje brand on our boat). While it af­fects panoramic sightlines,

the cold stowage is surely a worth­while trade­off—and no need for cock­pit re­frig­er­a­tion, it’s right there in­side the door.

The aft glass bulk­head has a mir­ror fin­ish on the out­side, with a slid­ing door in the mid­dle. To port the win­dow flips up and latches to the cock­pit over­head, and then a small back­splash on the gal­ley’s aft counter folds down to ex­tend the counter into the cock­pit. It’s a cool ef­fect as this counter will be­come a hub for serv­ing guests, in­side and out. It’s in the cock­pit that I no­ticed the house on this boat is cheated to port, cre­at­ing more in­te­rior space while al­low­ing the star­board side deck to of­fer wide and easy pas­sage to the fore­deck, where there’s a sun­pad atop the cabin trunk, or to that helm-side win­dow/door.

The tran­som can fold down, con­trolled with a pow­ered re­mote, to cre­ate a twofold ef­fect: The tran­som be­comes a swim plat­form, and, sec­ond, it makes the cock­pit wide open and more roomy—bet­ter to al­low more room for guests to spread out, en­joy the air, and use the port-side set­tee. All of this is con­tin­gent on a calmish day at an­chor of course. The tran­som re­tracts with a mo­tor­ized sys­tem that winches a ny­lon line. It’s a solution that is not un­nec­es­sar­ily com­pli­cated or re­quires too much en­ergy. I like that.

Speak­ing of power, there’s an­other ben­e­fit of hy­brid sys­tems and so­lar pan­els: This com­pany thinks about elec­tric­ity in ways that other com­pa­nies don’t. “We make it pos­si­bile to use 110-volt power on board per­ma­nently,” says Vladimir Zinchenko, CEO of SVP Yachts. “We try to bring boat­ing closer to the home en­vi­ron­ment, and so we of­fer home ap­pli­ances like the reg­u­lar fridge and freezer, air con­di­tion­ing, elec­tric in­duc­tion cook­ing, and so on. Just bring any ap­pli­ance you want on the boat and plug it in, with­out any need even to flip a switch.” Zinchenko was re­fer­ring mostly to the com­pany’s hy­brid boats, with their slick touch­screen bat­tery man­age­ment sys­tem run­ning an ar­ray of Lithium-poly­mer bat­ter­ies. The non-hy­brid 36 uses mas­sive AGM bat­ter­ies to mimic the ex­pe­ri­ence. The so­lar pan­els on the hard­top power the fridge, and the bat­tery sys­tem can pro­vide three to four hours of air-con­di­tion­ing, ac­cord­ing to Rhodes.

But you can’t go this far and not find out about that hy­brid sys­tem, so Rhodes also took me out on a Greenline 40, a legacy model from the com­pany. Switch­ing to the 10-kilo­watt elec­tric drive (that’s 15 horse­power) in the chan­nel off Har­bour Towne Ma­rina in Da­nia Beach, Florida, the si­lence over­takes you and fills the boat. No sound. No vi­bra­tion. No emis­sions. It’s al­most eerie, to be frank, un­til you push the throt­tle a bit and touch the wheel and re­al­ize you’re un­der power. It’s noth­ing short of a gamechanger, where wind noise and wa­ter flow­ing past the hull are the loud­est noises you hear.

Hy­brid tech­nol­ogy is a great idea and seem­ingly get­ting bet­ter all the time. The chal­lenge, in a nut­shell, is that au­to­mo­tive hy­brids de­rive charg­ing gains from brak­ing, an ef­fect that does not ex­ist in boats. Greenline Hy­brid and oth­ers per­sist in try­ing to break the code of this sys­tem be­cause of its ace in the hole: truly silent run­ning. I’ve sea-tri­aled elec­tric-drive boats be­fore and I think I would use the sys­tem reg­u­larly. And I’m cu­ri­ous how the tech­nol­ogy would change how I would use a boat.

Adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy and adapt­ing to it can change ev­ery­thing, so long as we let the tech­nol­ogy han­dle the com­plex side of the equa­tion, and we bring along the free will. No need to keep that quiet.

Greenline Hy­brid, 954-381-1783; green­line­hy­bridusa.com

At the helm, a slid­ing door to the side deck helps over­come the un­for­tu­nate com­pass place­ment.

Other than raised helm and din­ing ar­eas, the main deck is one level from the com­pan­ion­way, through the gal­ley (left), and into the cock­pit: great for a run­ning start for can­non­balls off the swim plat­form.

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