Quit your job and go cruising on a hybrid boat
Today was a beautiful day, and no better way to spend it than getting out on the water in Poole Harbour doing something salty.
Our neighbour in the marina, John, invited me out on ‘Sea la Vie’ (soon to be renamed ‘The Wife’), his recently new-to-him Greenline Hybrid 33.
Yep, a 33ft hybrid motor boat, very cool.
With a background in sailing and a passion for traditional wooden boats, this was going to be a different experience. I spent 2016 based out of Poole Harbour, working as the First Mate onboard ‘Queen Galadriel‘. We took young people on residential sailing voyages and this area was our stomping ground.
So it’s fair to say a trip out of the harbour to Studland Bay would feel strange in a small hybrid motor boat instead of a 1937 110ft ex-Baltic trader.
But with an environmental conscience, and an innovative look towards the future, the idea of a hybrid boat is very exciting. So I jumped aboard and had a marvellous Sunday afternoon.
John recently sold his house, quit his job, and moved from the Lakes down to Poole Harbour where he bought his Greenline. He’s been living aboard getting the boat ready to set off for the past five weeks, and is nearly ready to go. His plan?
“To go south, down through the canals, to the Mediterranean. Then I want to find a boat job – a salty job!”
Having done some research, John is planning on crossing the channel and joining the French canals. He’ll motor down through Europe, and make his way to Spain once in the Mediterranean – John’s worked out it will be cheaper to live there than the south coast of France.
He’s keen to find a boat related job when he gets down to Spain. When he lived in the Lake District, John worked as crew on a boat on Lake Windermere, so I’m sure he’ll be able to find something salty once he’s there. John’s keen not to have too much of a plan, but we think it’s a great not-plan!
The Greenline Hybrid Boat
A hybrid boat is an excellent choice for John’s adventure.
With limited boating experience and a desire to make a life change, it’s quicker to learn to skipper a motorboat than a sailing yacht. Plus, as a liveaboard, a motor boat offers more living space. And with the French canals central to John’s plan, again a motor boat fits the bill nicely. Especially if it’s hybrid… and there’s lots of sun.
With a cabin-top covered in solar panels, and an electric engine to support the diesel, you don’t just feel like you’re on a typical motor boat burning expensive, dirty tanks of diesel. We used the diesel to get out of the harbour, cruising at a very comfortable 7.5-8 knots. The diesel went off and the almost silent electric engine came into play for a leisurely cruise around Studland Bay.
We dropped the anchor for a bit and our friends, who have also just quit their jobs to go off cruising and find work along the way, came across in their tender and joined us for a drink.
The aft bulkhead completely folds down, as does the transom, to create a fantastic open space. The boat feels a lot bigger than its 33ft, and the cabin superstructure gives you a good wind break to socialise on the aft deck and open galley.
John’s only wish was for a door next to the helm onto the side deck, for easier crewing. The next model up offers this… they had to hold something back I suppose, there’s not much else you can fault her for.
Chatting with John, he pointed out that in a way, a sailing boat is also a hybrid boat. Moored opposite in the marina is “Deirdre”, a 1935 25ft gaff rigged cutter. Deirdre has just had a new engine, to complement her otherwise very traditional rig. So John’s right, she is a hybrid too, with her sails and ‘auxiliary’ diesel engine.
Either way, it’s a lovely feeling to be at sea knowing you can propel yourself using the earth’s resources, whether that’s with red canvas sails or solar powered electric. Perhaps a 1935 wooden gaffer has a lot more in common with a 2011 GRP hybrid motor boat than you might initially think.
Want to work with hybrid technology and boats in the marine industry? Submit your CV and we’ll let you know if an opportunity comes up.
Or maybe you’ve got diesel engine skills – how about this Marine Diesel Fitter job?