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Royal Huisman And Huisfit Refit Ketch Juliet With Hybrid Technology

Royal Huisman and Huisfit have announced that the 44m /143ft ketch Juliet is set to embrace all the latest hybrid technology benefits: the ultimate systems upgrade with leading-edge propulsion and power generation.

Juliet is a fine example of pioneering, custom-built technologies in the late 20th century. With nearly a quarter million of ocean miles under her keel, she still looks and sails like a dream.

Technologies have, of course, evolved rapidly since 1993. Hybrid propulsion and power generation systems are delivering exceptional lifestyle and environmental benefits including silent operation, zero emissions, peak-shaving, shaft-generated power under sail and reduced fuel consumption, together with enhanced operational flexibility and redundancy. As an example of its practical application, this hybrid system offers the potential of navigation in ‘zero emission’ zones such as the Norwegian fjords after 2026.

Recognising that they, too, can enjoy these enhancements to their cruising lifestyle, the owners have booked a hybrid conversion for Juliet at Royal Huisman’s specialist superyacht refit facility Huisfit. Where better? This is the shipyard that pioneered hybrid propulsion with the game-changing 58m / 190ft ketch Ethereal in 2009 (the world’s first hybrid superyacht) and has continued to refine its technological lead with the 46m / 152ft ‘NextGEN’ ketch Elfje and some remarkable new projects (including the hybrid conversion of a 30m / 99ft Royal Huisman cutter in progress at this moment).

Juliet’s conversion was meticulously planned well ahead of her arrival at the shipyard. 3D scanning by the Huisfit team enabled them to engineer the new layout of the components and order parts, ready to begin updating work on the engine room layout without delay.  

The centrepiece of the hybrid conversion is the installation of a new gearbox aligned with a sophisticated new electric motor / generator. This facilitates indirect electric propulsion, either generated by the main engine or drawn from the new, high performance battery bank or generator. Conventional shaft drive direct from the engine remains an option. The system allows the main engine to meet the yacht’s ‘hotel load’ via the electric motor / generator, while the power management set-up also provides additional silent options via the advanced battery bank.

With the main engine becoming the primary source of power generation, the system is configured to deliver peak shaving from the battery bank – for example during sail hoisting and manoeuvring. The thrusters will now be electrically rather than hydraulically-propelled. The same battery bank will enable ‘silent ship’ operation, including airco and hotel load consumers.

Under sail, electrical power will be generated by the propeller’s rotation – answering every sailor’s dream to hoist the sails, capture the wind and silence ‘that noisy and smelly engine’. Rapid re-charging of the battery bank is provided by the electric motor/ generator driven from the main engine or generator. At anchor, battery power replaces the gensets as the main power supply, eliminating the noise and atmospheric pollution that can detract from the harmony of pristine anchorages.

There will thus be a much-reduced requirement for the main generators in their traditional role but they will offer a high level of redundancy, both for propulsion via the diesel-electric system, and as an alternative source of electrical power generation. In the latter role, the main engine’s generator would normally be the first choice to recharge batteries after hours of zero emission mode.

Hybrid Huisfits are providing quality yachts of Juliet’s era with a lasting new lease of life and the shipyard team see these conversions increasing in number. Not only do owners and captains fully appreciate the benefits of enhanced quality of life aboard but also - by anticipating the requirements of future environmental regulation – they also see a wise investment in making a fine yacht future-proof. Royal Huisman and Huisfit are pleased to confirm Juliet has recently arrived at the shipyard’s Amsterdam location and will be re-delivered to her owners mid-2020.

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