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Case Study: 'Pat II' - a 1924 launch

The 'Pat II' is a 39’ launch built in 1924 at Alexandria Bay, NY. She served as a tour boat in the Thousand Islands from 1924 to 1955. In 1956 she was moved to Skaneateles Lake and served as a tour boat and US Postal Service delivery boat on the historic Star Route 13 until 1991.

'Pat II' in her prime

Sadly the 'Pat II' went out of service in1991 and was sat languishing in a marina bone yard. She went to the Finger Lakes Boating Museum in 2014 and the team of volunteers set about their restoration project. They planned to return her to her former glory and operate as a tour boat with a notable exception - she would have an Elco electric motor and have SunPower flexible solar panels aboard. With solar panels aboard they can charge the battery bank whilst underway and help extend their range & time on the water - bonus!

'Pat II' before the refit work began (1991)

Needless to say the amount of volunteer work that has been put into the project is too much to go into here, I believe at the last count there was 16,000 hours! Head to the Finger Lakes Boating Museum website for full details.

Going Solar Electric

What's exciting is that at Sun Powered Yachts we were able to work with the team and help find a solution to charge their 108V battery bank (required to power the Elco electric motor) with solar panels. The Elco EP-40 inboard is a 29.4kW motor built in the USA - an extremely durable alternative to fossil fuel options. It will allow the 'Pat II' to run silent day tours on the Finger Lakes, a much more enjoyable experience for the guests aboard.

With a limited roof space we were able to fit 3x170W & 2x110W wired in series to get to a rated voltage (Vmp) of 125.8V and paired these with an AERL high voltage MPPT charge controller to charge the 108V battery bank. With around 6A-10A charge expected it may seem like a low charge but it will all help towards keeping the battery bank topped up and happy whilst underway. There will be a shore power plug to charge with 110V whilst docked overnight.

The other 2x50W SunPower flexible solar panels are paired with a Victron 75|10 MPPT charge controller to charge a small 12V battery bank that is used for smaller loads such as lights, VHF radio etc.

November 2020 - 'Pat II' is carefully taken out of the shop and onto her trailer ready to launch in the late spring of 2021. Here she is below ready to splash when the time is right. Congratulations to all of the volunteers involved, we look forward to an update when the 'Pat II' launches.

Want to learn more head to the Finger Lakes Boating Museum website

Click here to donate and help support their restoration project, thank you.

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