Simon Stiles is an explorer who converted a 1976 Wharram Oro 47 Polynesian canoe cat-style boat into an off-the-grid, solar-powered floating residence.
Stiles has spent the last 3.5 years building Old Dog, his fossil-free, solar- and wind-powered catamaran, with the goal of setting sail from British Columbia, Canada. He spent two years traveling North America in his van and another year on his motorcycle before purchasing his boat for 5,000 CAD (3,901 USD).
The 47-foot-long boat, made completely of plywood, fur, and yellow cedar, came with an undamaged diesel engine when Stiles purchased it. Stiles dismantled the engine and switched to solar power since he knew it was both expensive and destructive to the environment. He then mixed in an HP EV AC 12 kW engine, which is powered by 16 330-Watt solar panels and about 20 kW hours of lithium battery power.
Old Dog isn’t restricted by a tank, and because to the boat’s 5280 watts of solar electricity, Stiles can run ovens, induction cook plates, a washing machine, and just much anything else he needs.
Solar panels aren’t enough to keep the boat running when it’s on the move. To drive faster than 3.5-4 knots, Stiles must rely on his lithium batteries. In the summer, however, he claims that the Old Dog’s solar panels provide enough energy for him to cruise 50 kilometres across the Georgia Strait to Vancouver and arrive before dusk without using the batteries.
Because solar power is weather-dependent, Stiles is now considering installing wind turbines in place of solar panels on the catamaran. Even if it’s gloomy or raining, there should be enough breeze to keep the Old Dog running.
There are four berths (rooms) on the yacht, as well as a mechanic’s room, a bathroom, a washing machine, a huge galley (kitchen), and a lounge space. Stiles claims that he installed a stainless steel wood stove to assist heat the yacht in cold weather. Take a peek at the video below for a more detailed look at the Old Dog.