electric clipper 100


— A tough four-container sailing cargo passenger ship for zero emission trading, custom designed for the job.

— An efficient, easily handled yet powerful ketch rig.

— A crew of 6 + passengers

— Twin electric motors with lithium battery banks.

— Solar and propeller generation with back up diesel generators for safety.

— Separate passenger accommodation for six in two cabins with their own galley, head, and shower.

— Shallow 1.8-metre draught to go where few other cargo boats dare.

— A flat bottom with bilge keels and daggerboards to take the ground safely.

— Wonderfully versatile cargo options from two 40-foot containers to stacked pallets to container-sized accommodation units – passenger modules or pretty much anything.

— Gaff crane on board to load and unload up to five tonnes each swing.

— Separate mizzen derrick.

— Every component of the vessel is designed for a long, low maintenance lifespan.

— A five-passenger sailing dinghy with one pallet capacity and electric auxiliary is stowed in davits.

— An 8-pallet aluminium lightering barge is stowed on the cargo hatch.





We have used the time honoured gaff ketch rig for good power low down to reduce heeling. It’s an easily manageable and bullet-proof set up. Our modern version features a main gaff, rigged for cargo handling. We will take full advantage of modern sailcloth and tough synthetic cordage. We’ll employ aluminium masts and set a squaresail with a carbon fibre yard. These downwind sails will be set like square topped spinnakers – no one gets sent aloft on this ship. There’ll be full cut genoas and yard topsails for those light airs and a roller reefing jib. An efficient rig is a cost effective rig.


The hull is to be built in steel for economy, strength, and a long life. With the weight concentrated down low in the ballasted double bottomed hull, the boat will be safe and stable. There will be seawater ballasted “wing” tanks port and starboard, for trimming, windward work and when lightly loaded. The hull form is of necessity flat-bottomed around the central cargo hold but finely shaped to a knife edge bow and a carefully contoured stern to ensure efficient, easily driven underwater lines. Bilge keels will be fitted so the vessel sits upright when the tide recedes. Twin dagger boards fit inside the bilge keels for enhanced windward performance. Above decks aluminium is used for the wheelhouse with solar on the roof. The cargo hold is battened down with tough synthetic canvas supported by aluminium battens on rollers. A fold-up solar array completes the hatch covers. The fordeck awning also has solar.


When the wind dies, twin electric motors will power the ship at a steady 6 knots for over 3 days. The motors will be powered by two generous banks of lithium ion or graphene supercapacitor batteries which in turn will be charged by the solar array and propeller generation under sail. Separate diesel generators will be installed for backup power.


Versatility is the key here with a variety of cargoes able to be shipped. The hold will take 98 pallets or 4 x 20-foot containers or 2 x 40-footers. All container sized modules can be stowed and we have designed a two-storey accommodation unit that can also house an office, storeroom, mini laboratory or mini hospital – in fact anything container sized. Either side of the container in the central section are two smaller areas for general cargo or pallets. Containers aside, the hold can be filled with anything the traders need shifting and the gaff crane can load up to five tonnes on pallets or in a sling. Once battened down, a solar array is unfolded and secured over to ensure the battery banks are kept topped up.


A crew of three is enough to run the ship – a master plus two hands but up to seven can be accommodated. In order to make their life easier we’ll make full use of good reliable pumps, hydraulic steering, modern winches and up to date electronics with the emphasis on simplicity and efficiency so the crew are able to man the ship confidently in all conditions. The captain will have his own private cabin in the wheelhouse with the crew below decks.


The new ship will also take on six passengers in two cabins in the fo'c'sle. Each comfortable cabin has two bunks, lockers and a fold-down table and its own wc/shower. The foredeck is accessed via a separate companionway which leads to a good sized galley, shower, head, and general store. Dining on deck is via folding tables set up under an awning so the lucky passengers can enjoy those lovely tropical sunsets. Extra passengers can be accommodated in the specially designed two-storey container units with their own self-contained heads, shower, and power supply. These “plug-in” units are accessed from the side decks under mini awnings and feature a double bunk in a separate cabin and a lounge/dining areas. Down below are two more bunks, toilet facilities and services.


The health and safety of the crew and passengers is, of course, of utmost importance so all equipment including anchors, chain warps, sea anchors etc. will be of a good standard and all items such as safety lines, life preservers, emergency life rafts are full compliant to international standards. The ship’s boat also has foam-filled compartments.

Backup generators are also installed. Each motor and each cabin has independent circuitry and battery banks.


Aluminium, Carbonfibre or bamboo
41 metres   134’
33 metres   108’
6.2 metres   20’
29.5 metres   97’
Fixed keel ballast 10 tonnes + water ballast
3 metres   10’
Gaff Ketch with square topsail and staysail
500 sq metres
65 sq metres
4 to 6
6 in 2 separate cabins + more in accommodation containers
180 tonnes
98 pallets or
4 x 20’ containers or
2 x 40’ container + 20 pallets
1 x sail-electric tender 4.2m + 1 x aluminium pontoon 6m + 1 x rib
2 x 70 kW electric motors + propeller regeneration
2 x 15 kW diesel
Lithium ion or graphene supercapacitors
up to 12 kW on wheelhouse, hatch covers and awning
12+ knots (9 knots under power)
Derek Ellard