Going Electric: Converting a Boat


The Electric Conversion : Sailing into the Future

When Dave and Danielle Baker and their two young children pull up to a marina and begin maneuvering into a slip, they often get wondering stares from people on the dock. Instead of emitting diesel exhaust and noise, their Island Packet 27 sloop Gilbert Ivy purrs quietly and handles as precisely as it might if it still had its Yanmar auxiliary. Inevitably, dock walkers approach to help with lines and ask the Bakers what kind of propulsion they use. Dave tells them they have repowered their boat with an electric inboard.

“It happens so often that I decided to make a video rather than retell the story dockside,” Dave says. “I got 21,000 views over just the first few weeks.”

When Dave and Danielle met about 10 years ago, sailing was his longtime passion but she knew nothing about it. He taught her to sail on his trailerable Com-Pac 16 sloop in the Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center, about halfway up Florida’s East Coast. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship.

They bought their first big boat in 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, although that was not a primary factor in moving up. “We just happened to stumble on this 1988 Island Packet 27 in a marina. It looked like it was abandoned,” Dave says. “The sun-baked sails were loosely affixed to the mast and boom, and it looked pretty sad.” They eventually located the owner and bought the boat.

“Luckily, it needed just a few minor fixes, including new motor mounts. Suddenly, we were cruising up and down the coast, from St. Augustine to the Keys.”

Dave is a mechanical engineer by trade, but the bulk of his work is electro-mechanical as he mainly designs circuitry and electrical systems. It was sort of inevitable that he would begin thinking about converting the Island Packet 27 to electrical power.

Read more at soundingsonline.com.