Crest of the Royal National Institution of Naval Architects - Click to return to the homepage


Air Products_March 2021


International Registries April 2021

Cyber Security 2021


Cadmatic April 2021

Sea Spark April to July 2021

New power trips for pilots

Ship & Boat International: eNews May/June 2018



A new all-electric vessel concept developed by Robert Allan Limited (RAL) could produce a smoke-free solution for pilots making 'short-hop' runs to their intended vessels. The RAlly 1600-E has been developed for distances of 5nm or less and constitutes an aluminium variant of RAL’s existing RAlly 1600 steel pilot boat design, albeit featuring the same total weight, power and speed as this predecessor, the Canada-based naval architect states.


The RAlly 1600-E is set to measure 16m in length and 5m in breadth, and will feature the capacity to carry a two-man crew and four pilots. The boat’s powertrain will include two permanent magnet 750V AC motors, each rated 500kW at 2,800rpm, and these will turn 840mm propellers via either ZF or Twin Disc 3:1 reverse/reduction gears.


The onboard battery system would be supplied by Spear, and would comprise a total of 70 SMAR-11N-224 modules, equalling a combined capacity of 815kWh. RAL adds: “As required by class, [the batteries] are arranged in a separate compartment which is located in the middle of the boat, between the accommodations and the machinery space.”  This compartment would be equipped with a firefighting system, supplied by FirePro.


The above arrangement should guarantee an operating speed of 20knots, RAL estimates. The company adds: “Pilot boats typically run at or near top speed with the pilot on board, then loiter for some time, and may return at a more efficient medium speed. In this mixed-use scenario, with a 5nm run, the RAlly 1600-E can complete a full operation totally on batteries, with 30% of nominal battery capacity to spare.”


As well as the obvious fuel savings and environmental benefits, including elimination of emissions, the batteries could also prove critical to greatly reducing onboard noise levels, in comparison to pilot boats utilising diesel engines.