ePropulsion signs deal with world’s largest builder of small sailboats

The UK division of electric boat motor manufacturer ePropulsion has signed a deal to supply 60 of their 1kW Spirit integrated battery motors to RS Sailing, the world’s largest manufacturer of small sailboats

The motors will be mounted using a custom configuration developed by the companies that gives a flush-fitting retractable electric drive system on the first 60 of the new RS21 keelboat day racers.

Custom bracket designed with short lead time

“This new racing boat is in one of the fastest growing classes of keelboat in the world,” said Ricky Cole, head of technical development at ePropulsion UK. “They are in big demand, so the main challenge was a short lead time for creating an out-of-the-box solution that can not only be used during boatbuilding, but also for retrofits on boats already being raced.

ePropulsion UK worked with RS to redesign the top bracket motor mount for the Spirit and add a proximity switch that only allows the motor to run when it is locked down in the correct position.

ePropulsion also designed a new side-mounted throttle arrangement with a removable handle that helps reduce snags in the racing cockpit.  The last part of the customization is a new nylon mounting bracket with stainless steel fittings that mates the skeg of the ePropulsion motor to the outer hull plate.

Entire system is hauled in flush to eliminate drag

a diagram of how the boat motor fits into the sailboat
Click to enlarge

This enables the whole motor arrangement to be hauled up flush with the hull when in the stowed position,  eliminating any unnecessary drag.

Alex Southon, RS Sailing’s CEO – Design and Technologies, said “You can usually expect some teething issues with new boat designs but the ePropulsion solution has been seamless. It works perfectly and is one of the easiest systems we fit on the boat, even when retrofitting away from the factory. “

The light weight of the ePropulsion system – 7 kilograms – is another plus in a racing boat,  along with the usual electric boat benefits like no fuel or oil to spill, no regular servicing, no tricky starting procedure and no noise or fumes when operating. There’s also no need to swivel the Spirit around for reverse thrust.

This fits in very smartly with RS Sailing’s ongoing sustainability program that addresses the recyclable aspects of their boats, recyclable packaging as well as energy use and waste and paper reduction in their operations.

You can see how the ePropulsion Spirit compares to other small electric motors in our Guide to Electric Motors Under 5kW.

Photos and Illustrations ©RSSailing

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