Pogo 30 electric sailing yacht – 978Wp SP & SX series

The Pogo 30 is a performance-oriented cruiser-racer, manufactured by Pogo Structures in France. The owner of this vessel – Mark Johnson, Leader of Marine Innovation at Raymarine – has truly pushed innovation on his boat with electric drives, made-to-measure solar panels and Raymarine-integrated systems monitoring and energy management.

As the yacht’s deck doesn’t offer a lot of possibilities for integration of solar cells we searched for alternatives – and found them at the stern and lazy-bag. The stern panels deliver surprisingly much energy, increased by reflected sunlight from the water surface while the panels on the sail cover can be tilted towards the sun for maximum yield.

We just returned from our 3 week summer family cruise from Vannes to La Rochelle and back.  We had no technical problems, no range anxiety, and no need to plug into shore for a recharge.  Our 10kWh Torqeedo Lithium battery remained above 75% most days and we never dropped below 50%, indeed we had an energy excess to the point that I now plan to experiment with a 48V hot water tank.

This summer trip demonstrated again that solar sailing can be perfectly compatible with family cruising in an efficient sailboat like a Pogo 30.  The space gained from eliminating the diesel engine means that we have the equivalent usable volume of a Pogo 36, so the electric solution provides significant cost as well as weight savings.  Life on board is quieter and cleaner and it’s now two years since we visited a diesel dock – now that’s something to celebrate.

Mark Johnson, Owner of ZEPHYR

The stern-mounted solar panels (Solbianflex SP series) are particularly exposed to the elements: When sailing they spend quite some time underwater, at anchor they need to withstand fenders and regular contact with the dinghy. A full-surface adhesive layer ensures homogenous force distribution and high mechanical resistance while sealing the wire feedthroughs below the panels. An additional UV-resistant Sikaflex seal around the edges acts as second barrier against moisture and gives a smooth optical transition between boat and panel.

The lazybag-mounted panels (SX series) have been glued to thin fiberglass boards to stiffen their structure. Zippers connect them to the textile structure, fiberglass supports fixed with velcro allow a wide range of panel orientations towards the sun.

For maximum energy yield the panels are equipped with 20 integrated bypass diodes. The Torqeedo 48-5000 batteries are charged by three GenaSun MPPT controllers which have been programmed for this special kind of battery. The step-up controllers further increase shadow tolerance and low-light performance.

The owner summarized his experience with the boat and the technical details in a presentation – you can find it here.

Pogo Structures

Technical data:
Power: 978Wp
Panel series: SP & SX
Weight: 6,5kg
Battery voltage: 44,4V
Battery type: LMO-NMC / Torqeedo 48-5000