The Sailing Podcast








June 2018
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Episode 70 of The Sailing Podcast is with Karen and Dan of SV Minke. They were in North Carolina at the time and heading south through the Intra-coastal Waterway to Florida. Minke is a 35' Cartright Cutter steel yacht purchased in Canada.

Karen had contacted me via Facebook to see if I was interested in hearing about their transition to being live-aboard cruisers. In addition, she mentioned how they had carried out a Diesel to Electric conversion on Minke following a major breakdown of their Perkins engine.

It was a combination of their location at the time and the desire to find a more sustainable form of energy which led to the decision to convert from diesel to electric. Continue reading this article to for information about:

  • Registering a yacht with Canadian registration in the US
  • Why Karen and Dan chose a steel yacht instead of a fiberglass yacht
  • What led to them carrying out a Diesel to Electric conversion

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Diesel to electric conversion

Diesel to Electric conversion on Minke

The interview began with a chat about Karen and Dan's prior travel and work experiences. They met in Antarctica and have spent 8 seasons working there. After this, they worked at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. They were lucky enough to join the scuba club there and have all the diving they wanted for just a couple of hundred dollars.

The dream of sailing came together while they were in Antarctica and spending some time with some Kiwis at the Russell Bay yacht club. Following this then completed some sail training and the search for a yacht began in earnest. During the interview Karen and Dan described watching a couple of fiberglass yachts being decimated against the rocks during some bad weather at the Marshall Islands. This led them to decide on searching for a steel yacht.

Cartwright Cutter

After trekking across the US and Canada looking at yachts they decided to purchase Minke. At 36' long, it met all their criteria and after some negotiating the yacht was purchased in May 2016. Being in Canada, they needed to change the registration from Canada to the US and we heard about how this process took over 4 months to complete. It is a timely reminder to consider the difficulty in transferring ownership of a yacht. It seems incredible that it would take so long between neighboring countries.

An interesting part of their story was deciding to replace their Perkins motor with a Diesel to electric conversion. The diesel died early in the trip. Unfortunately the motor was not repairable. Their location did not give them opportunity to haul out the yacht so the choice was made to replace it with an hybrid-electric system. Hybrid because they are carrying a diesel generator for additional charging power when needed.

At this stage they don't have any solar power to supplement the drain on the batteries however this will be one of their future projects to attend to.

Electric motor conversion

Currently they have 4 Torqueedo batteries with a capacity of 200 amp hours, which seems to keep the electric motor running for about 4 hours in normal conditions. The electric conversion is to a 20kw motor, which is about equal to the output of the old 50hp Perkins motor.

You can find information about their journey at

If you have questions about your own system or are considering a diesel to electric conversion then you can contact Karen and Dan via their blog.  

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Direct download: 70_-_The_Odyssey_of_Minke.mp3
Category:Sailing -- posted at: 8:40pm EDT