Sailing a 35 foot C&C electric sailboat

Tonight I had the privilege of stepping aboard the Initram, a 35 foot C&C, but not just any C&C, this boat has had it’s old engine removed and replaced with an electric one.


The owners of the Initram are John, his wife Leigh and father Ian. My friend Pamela and I had met them last year on a Sailing trip in Guadeloupe. John is passionate about sustainable energy. His house is a straw bale constructed, solar powered home with a green roof; literally with grass growing on top, so it only makes sense that he would be a pioneer and convert his sailboat to electric. He’s also planning an ambitious circumnavigation to promote renewable energy.

John Wilson and his son Ian will sail around the world in a 39-foot catamaran to raise awareness everywhere about the most pressing issue in the world today: the urgent need to shift to renewable resources. This ambitious circumnavigation is the first component of the Sun Challenge.

Yes there are three different Ian’s mentioned in this entry including myself. You can read more about his house and his sail around the world and information about sponsorship on the Sun Challenge website.

One of the most amazing things about this electric sailboat is how quite it is. You do hear a quiet whirling noise, but it can be hard to hear over the wind, sails, and water. When going head to wind I wondered if it was even on, but then realized of course it is, I am holding my course just fine.

Myself at the helm.

The C&C is a 35 foot 1974 sailboat and it can really move. I have not sailed a lot of big boats, but this is probably the fastest and most responsive one I’ve been on yet. The wind read 17 knots at the airport with gusts to 24 knots so we had a great night. The boat felt rock solid in those winds and could turn on a dime, the entire evening was fantastic.

C&C heeling

Entire crew can’t be seen, but consists of Ian, Pamela, Leigh, John and myself.

To read about the conversion from diesel to electric check out John’s Sun Challenge blog where he has detailed all the trials and tribulations he went through.

Some video of the evening

Caught unprepared for a tack


  1. Shaun Harrison

    Enjoyed your blog.
    Had a couple of questions
    What is the range of a 20kw engine and do you recommend a re peering system on the boat?
    What would be the incremental cost of a solar system or wind turbine system?


  2. Hi Shaun,

    I suggest asking John over at, It’s his boat, and I was along to help sail her.