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A launch, owned by members of the Electric Boat Association, won the prize for the best electric boat at the 2009 Thames Traditional Boat Rally at Henley. Report by Sylvia Rutter with pictures by Ian Rutter.
The cabin launch Adelaide was presented with the Simonds Trophy, open to all electric craft, for smooth running and overall appearance and also received a runner-up rosette for the Thames Heritage Trophy, awarded for the most traditional appearance of boat and crew.
The boat, owned by Jeff and Georgina Waterson, was designed by Paul Fisher of Selway Fisher Design and the hull was built of strip plank cedar on mahogany by Farrow & Chambers of Grimsby in 2008. Jeff then brought the boat home to East Anglia to epoxy the inside of the hull. After that Adelaide went to North Norfolk for Creative Marine to assist in the fitting out. Rupert Latham installed the 3 kW 48 volt propulsion system with 16 gel batteries supplied by Pb
Batteries. Jeff spent so much time working on the boat that Georgina began to call it 'the other woman' but the attention to detail in all the fixtures and fittings obviously impressed the judges.
Runner-up for the Simonds was Lady Bea, a Bates cruiser built in 1960 and recently converted to electric power. Lady Bea also received a runner-up rosette for the Osland Trophy which is awarded for structural restoration. Lady Bea's owner, EBA member Quentin Hoodless also had his gentleman's launch Lady Florence on the water at the Rally. Built in 1926 by Taylor Bates and originally powered by a Gardener petrol engine, the boat now has a new hybrid electric drive system installed by Rupert Latham during two winters of extensive restoration in Norfolk.
Another award-winner on the water was the Victorian launch Pike owned by the EBA's Jack Henley. Built in 1899 by Andrews, in 2001 Pike made the longest non-stop boat journey under electric power on a single charge of the batteries: 137 miles (220km) in 30 hours.
www.watercraft-magazine.com Facing page: The Selway-Fisher designed cabin launch Adelaide was one of several electric boat winning prizes at the 2009 Thames Traditional Boat Rally, including the solar-powered Kanoodle – above – bought at Bonham's 2008 Henley Auction.
A new EBA member, who joined at the show, had brought a solar powered canoe from its home in Lancashire on the roof of his car, with the solar panels in a suitcase. John Bridge bought Kanoodle at Bonham’s Auction at Henley in 2008 and this was its first time on the water. The canoe, which is built of cedar strip planking and believed to be Canadian, operates with a modified Minn Kota outboard and deep cycle batteries. Since the Rally, John has made some more modifications and fitted a Kipawa 314 prop.
The EBA stand at the Rally was kept very busy with enquiries from visitors interested in 'going electric'. EBA business members also had a variety of electric boats on display including the Fast Electric 23, featured in W75, electric slipper launch Magna Carta, electric canoe Melodie and the 1920s Salters launch Seven Springs, recently restored and converted to electric power.
For more information on electric boats see the EBA website www.electric-boats.org.uk or contact EBA Secretary Barbara Penniall on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1491 681449