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31m Sobe Sunset begins sea trials following hybrid conversion

6 July 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

The 31-metre Heisley motor yacht Sobe Sunset is currently undergoing sea trials following an extensive refit and hybrid conversion by Atlantic Marine Electric and Sea3 Systems at Apex Marine in Florida. 

Work included retrofitting her with a hybrid electric propulsion system, a reshaping of the hull and the installation of a new integrated digital control system.

Sobe Sunset was formerly known as Marbella III

Sobe Sunset’s hybrid-electric propulsion system is composed of diesel engines and lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged by the yacht’s 11kW solar panelling, dockside power, tidal currents or the engines themselves. These batteries supply electric power and have eliminated the need for a generator set, while the solar supplements allow Sobe Sunset to operate for days on a mooring without running the engines.

Her "next-generation" digital control system has an integrated autopilot, stabilisers and pitch control system for optimal vessel motion control. The fly-by-wire helm is operated by a joystick for total remote operation and monitoring, integrating bow and stern thrusters and engine controls with computer-controlled thrust for steering.

Distributed computers and software control provide constant optimisation of all on-board systems, a technological feature that a spokesperson for Sea3 coined “revolutionary”. Her performance data will be continuously sent ashore via satellite, with the hope that “future technological advancements will include complete remote control, monitoring and predictive maintenance by shore-based crew.”

Other changes include the reshaping of her hull to reduce draft; the addition of a bow bulb, stern thruster and spud-pole mooring system; a new DC-powered HVAC system, with variable speed compressors and heat recovery for hot water with a phase-charge thermal storage system. She has also been fitted with new 441kW Scania engines and 138kW electric motors.

This news follows the announcement of another Sea3 electric refit; the 38-metre sailing yacht Smith, with a goal to sail silently for at least 12 hours powered only by batteries.

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