There is little doubt that one of the most visited boats at the Southampton Boat Show this year was the new Greenline Hybrid. Of course, the company’s original model, the 33-footer, has been around for several years now so this is by no means an entirely new concept but whether the preference is power or sail, it remains one that captures the interest of almost every modern boater. So what is it about Greenline’s hybrid system that makes it so attractive?
Greenline 40: The Hybrid concept
Greenline’s Hybrid diesel electric system is a fully integrated, electronically managed, maintenance-free set-up that is designed to collect, store and deploy electrical energy from three sources – the sun, shore power or the generator. The system consists of a diesel engine and an electric motor/generator conjoined by a hydraulic clutch. There is also a solar array on the roof and an inverter/charger to feed the Lithium battery bank but the clever integration of these features means that all the user has to do is pick between four basic modes: (1) Shore Power Mode (when the battery pack is under charge and the inverter provides domestic AC power); (2) Electric Drive Mode (when the boat is powered by the electric motor/generator, providing a range of up to 20 miles at four knots); (3) Diesel Drive Mode (when the diesel engine propels the boat and drives the generator, recharging the battery pack); and (4) Anchor Charge Mode (when the roof-mounted solar array charges the batteries and provides power to your appliances via the inverter).
These four modes are selected via a simple user interface and the electronic integration of the system means that if the battery level drops below a set value, the diesel engine is switched on to recharge the battery bank via the generators. In a world of spiraling fuel costs and ecological responsibility, the practical benefits of this approach are unquestionable – but so too are the subjective ones. Imagine being able to cruise in silence, like a sailing boat but with an endless supply of self-sustaining energy. In the right climate at the right speed, it would bring a sense of freedom that is very rare on a powerboat.
The hull entrusted to the job of deploying this precious energy is rather grandly entitled the ‘Protected Superdisplacement Hull’. According to Greenline, it generates less drag and less wake, uses less fuel and produces lower CO2 emissions, so your running costs are reduced and you are less dependent on the need for constant fuel stops. This all sounds perfectly feasible but they also claim that this same hull offers “better seaworthiness and easier handling than any comparable hull” as well as “optimum performance in all sea conditions”. Certainly, the twin stabiliser fins will help in a lumpy seastate but the fact of the matter is that very efficient monohulls rarely exhibit best-in-class seakeeping traits. We would therefore be wise to take the sales pitch superlatives with a hefty pinch of salt until we actually get the chance to sea trial the new 40. In the meantime, the best way to understand what the Greenline is all about is to recognise that its dynamic priority is efficiency and its internal priority is space and light…
Greenline 40: Big, bright and beautiful
Step inside and the sheer scale of the open-plan saloon immediately makes up for the slightly narrow external walkways. The natural light and the excellent visibility are also
powerfully evident, with large vertical windows wrapping around the entire structure, plus a very large sliding sunroof above the helm station. Better still, a sliding hatch at the navigator’s side of the helm means that the twin guest cabin on the port side of the lower deck also benefits from a tremendous amount of natural light.
Step back outside beyond the aft galley and the stern section offers another piece of design ingenuity. Not only do you get a fold-down transom to help increase the scale of the deck area, but you also get a very clever means of enabling the outdoor space to interact with the internal saloon. Instead of adopting the slide or concertina method, the port side of the aft door lifts on a ram and sits flat against the ceiling. This enables the galley to physically extend out into the aft deck by means of a fold-up bar. Certainly, we’ve seen lots of builders talk about an ‘inside-outside’ space but this arrangement shows how effective that idea can be when it is properly executed.
The bow is also conceived in a way that improves both its own practicality and also the experience in the main cabin. In order to maximise both head-height and natural light down below, the foredeck is essentially raised on a tinted window plinth. Not only does that do great things for the scale and brightness of the internal space but it also means that instead of the foredeck being very lofty and bulbous, the main raised section is very flat and useable, while the walkway around it remains reassuringly deep and secure.
Greenline 40: Review Summary
The freethinking design tangents of the Hybrid 40 make it a very civilised boat indeed. In fact it’s so civilised that it almost makes me feel like I’ve crossed over into the sailing world. The internal areas are bright, clean and impressively spacious and the versatility of the propulsive system promises refinement as well as efficiency. The exterior spaces are by no means huge but they are cleverly arranged, well equipped and very secure. And while the 40’s sleeping capacity is fairly limited, the quality of finish, the big internal space, the classic lines and the hybrid cruising ability do a huge amount to justify the compromise.
Greenline 40: Specifications
LOA: 11.99 m
Beam: 4.25 m
Weight: 8,000 kg
Draft (loaded): 0.85 m
Air draft: 3.03 m
Diesel capacity: 700 litres
Water capacity: 400 litres
Solar panels capacity: 1398 W
Electric propulsion: 2x7kW
Battery capacity (Li-Po): 2x11.5kW
12 V charger: 80 A
48 V charger / inverter: 70 A / 5kW
Diesel engine options: 2x75hp / 2x150hp / 2x220hp
Electric max speed: 6 knots
Electric cruising speed: 4 knots
Electric sailing range: 20 Nm
Diesel max speed: 10 - 22 knots
Diesel max range @ 7kts: 500 Nm
If you're interested in unusual new designs, you might also enjoy: Beneteau Barracuda 7: Ingenious and Versatile; Gibbs Quadski: From Jetski to Quad Bike in Seconds; or Solar Power: Ingenious Solutions For Boaters