Friday 25th November 2022
A series of interviews, setting focus on the X-Sailor and the yachts behind them.
John Haurum – Owner of the first electric-driven X4⁹E – Flux
When did you start sailing?
I started sailing as an adult (20 years ago) when a friend of mine invited me to join him on local races in his Luffe40 such as Sjælland Rundt and Fyn Rundt. Before that, as a kid, I had played around several summers in an Optimist Jolle, that some friends had on a beach close to my parent’s summer cottage. After getting hooked on sailing with my friend, I joined a good sailing club and took training to become a skipper and a bit of match-racing, and then started sailing with my family in rental boats in the Mediterranean. Gradually my family got hooked as well to the extent that we several times rented big boats for several weeks in Greece or Croatia that would accommodate my wife and me as well as my two adult sons and girlfriends and my younger son. This is also why we settled now on a big 49-foot boat so that we can continue to accommodate a large attending family.
Will you characterize yourself as a cruiser or a racer?
I am primarily a cruiser I think, but a bit of a mixture though. I have limited racing experience, and by far most of my nM has been done cruising, but I like racing also, especially longer races, such as RDR which I find very exciting to participate in.
What is your story with X-Yacht?
My current boat is my first new boat and I expect to keep this for a long time. Before that, I had an X-46 from 2006, which I bought used and kept for a few years. It also sailed like a dream, but was a little smaller in the cockpit, and did feel a bit tight when sailing with several people due to the layout in the cockpit and at the helm with the big steering wheel. So, when I got the opportunity to buy a new boat, with new updated technology, and the ability to design the boat as I would like it to be, I was quick to decide on the step up in size to 49, with the Dinghy garage and the open layout at the helms.
How did you end with an e-boat?
I looked at an X4⁹ and another luxury brand boat in the same size. I liked X-Yachts obviously from my previous boating experience and trusted its reputation, but the other brand possessed similar qualities and so I kept an open mind. I told both sales managers that I engaged with how I wanted to explore the possibility of designing a hybrid-electric system based on the Oceanvolt propulsion and hydro generation Servoprops.
The enthusiastic reaction of X-Yachts to this idea stood out, and especially the Technical Director John Morsing had prepared himself in a fantastic manner for our first meeting, bringing design diagrams and discussing specific knowledge he had already obtained from the Finnish producer of the Oceanvolt system, so it quickly became clear to me that the fit on this aspect was great between X-Yachts and myself.
I guess I am a bit of a tech geek and I like this kind of innovation. There is also probably a somewhat sleeping eco-warrior hidden in me and while the eco-impact my boat is minimal or even negative perhaps if you put a certain lens on, I do believe that small steps and innovation go hand in hand in securing a better greener future for the world. The concept of EV (electric vehicles) as a trend has established itself firmly in our society and will also rapidly spread into the maritime world once various technological barriers have been broken down.
How do you see the future of electronic boats?
Converting existing boats from diesel to electric (or hybrid) is happening already to some extent, and there are a lot of solutions available and many different levels of quality in use. The internet is flush with groups discussing and planning and implementing (and criticizing) such specific projects. Meanwhile, newbuilt electric boats are picking up pace.
It remains a small number, partly due to the lack of experience (validation) with the solutions being offered, and partly to do with the price of the solutions. We have seen from electric cars how this landscape changed quickly from a similar picture, where initially an electric car typically was an expensive Tesla to now ten years later where electric cars come in many sizes and price categories, and I think we will see something similar with yachts.
Have you received any comments from other sailors regarding your e-boat?
Yes, always curious and mostly positive questions. It is clear (even if unspoken) that very many sailors are sceptical about the whole setup, mostly due to a lack of knowledge about the system. The most common misconception I meet is the belief that I must have a very short range, which is limited even if I should bring a large and heavy lithium battery bank because most sailors don’t expect me to carry a generator that can sustain continuous sailing for the motor when on a rare occasion I want to do so.
What’s your greatest X-Moment?
I have had many, but the most recent one perhaps was when I sailed Flux back home to Skovshoved from Haderslev, singlehanded and where in the middle of a moonlit night I was flying my code 0 across southern Kattegat. That felt so great.
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