From Slovenia comes a swanky cruiser that, with the right configuration, can boast a small carbon footprint.
HYBRID TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING the way we go boating, whether that’s harbor cruising, distance voyaging or swinging on the anchor in blissful silence, and that may be why a Slovenian boat builder is shaping our future.
I must admit I was pretty jazzed to test a Greenline. Guiltfree boating has a lot of appeal, and the Greenline’s chic styling made me think of driving a Tesla on the water. It was a treat to jump on board with JR Means from Bayport Yachts and bring both the Greenline 39 and the 40 from Long Beach to Newport Beach side by side. My expectations were high.
HOW IT WORKS
The Greenline 39 is available in three versions:
• Diesel only, with a 370 hp Yanmar or a 220 hp Volvo Penta
• Solar, with diesel propulsion but signifi cant solar capability to
power all onboard systems via batteries and panels
• Hybrid, which marries diesel and electric-drive propulsion
I tested a Hybrid version that combined a single Volvo Penta 220 hp D3 diesel with a Mahle 10 kw electric-drive motor. The integrated 7 kw generator charges a 600 Ah bank of lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries that are a lithium-ion derivative but with a semisolid (gel) polymer electrolyte. These batteries are smaller and lighter than wet cells, need no maintenance, are rated for thousands of cycles and have a life expectancy of 10 years.
In hybrid mode, a diesel engine powers a generator that manages a full charge in two and a half hours. In electric mode, propulsion is purely zero-emission battery power and the boat can travel at 4.5 knots for two and a half hours, or around 12 nautical miles (though the company touts up to 20 miles). Nevertheless, an owner can cruise the harbor for happy hour without smoke, noise or vibration, and since diesels like to be under load, such outings won’t put low-rpm hours on the engine.
Greenline estimates a boats with the hybrid system puts one-third fewer hours on its engine, which translates to less maintenance, less fuel and less overall cost. Combine that with silence and an eco-consciousness, and there’s much to like.
The real beauty is life without the cord. Potentially, a boat that has been cruising all day won’t need to be plugged into AC power back at the slip, saving on the owner’s monthly marina bill and possibly opening up a greater variety of slip options, including those where electricity isn’t available.
An owner at anchor in a sunny climate may never have to run the diesel to manage house loads — refrigeration, lights, entertainment, microwave, and, to a degree, air conditioning — because of the four 300-watt solar panels on the coach roof. The panels are connected to the inverter/charger, which was upgraded to 5,000 watts on our test boat. The inverter is located in a compartment under the helm footrest, which is large enough to climb into. Dial up the charger for times of greater electrical need or keep it in a steady trickle-charge mode to keep the batteries topped up. Running appliances through the inverter means they are all household AC devices, so there’s no need to use specialized 12v versions, which keeps things less expensive and simple.
Switching between electric and diesel drive is a matter of putting the engine in neutral and turning a switch. It’s that easy.
Greenline is all about simplifying the onboard lifestyle, something I noticed at the aft boarding platform. A 15-inch traverse behind the transom lets passengers cross from side to side, but for the full effect the transom lowers to form an extended 29-inch swim platform (measured from the hinge). The platform is raised and lowered via a line and an electric winch, so there’s no need for hydraulics aboard. In case of power or winch failure, it’s possible to raise the transom manually.
Encompassing 6 feet, 6 inches from transom to aft bulkhead, the cockpit has a straight settee to port and a corner seat to starboard. Below the cockpit sole is an impressive amount of stowage space, enough for owners to carry just about everything for distance cruising, or all the toys for weekending.
The entire aft bulkhead is mirrored and opens in two ways: the sliding door opens to starboard and a window to port lifts up while a counter extends to create an inviting indoor/outdoor feel that connects the lounges outside with the galley inside. This effect makes 39 feet seem a lot longer.
The Greenline 39 is asymmetrical; the port deck is 6 inches wide and the starboard deck 15. Passengers can walk up either side but most will prefer the starboard side. Handholds and railings are of adequate height, and the sidedecks and the cockpit benefit from the cover provided by the extended composite coach roof.
On the bow, our boat had the optional double sunpad with integrated headrests. Farther forward is an undivided anchor locker and an electric windlass. The bow cleats are massive but are up on the gunwale, and I found them too close to the chocks to be used easily. Getting a line on quickly may be a knuckle-busting affair.
An excellent feature I noticed on the way up the starboard side was a full-sized opening door at the helm. Positioned nicely for singlehanded docking, it will also allow the driver to assist when catching a mooring or managing the windlass.
cockpit, in an arrangement that provides one-level living. The galley is aft to port and includes a full-sized refrigerator and freezer across to starboard. A U-shaped settee is also to port, while cabinetry and a popup TV are on the other side. The engine is accessed via the sole mid-salon.
Situated to starboard, the helm includes a 12-inch Raymarine MFD, the diesel/electric drive switch in the middle, and bow and stern thruster controls outboard of the wheel. The controls are positioned such that the driver can reach them as she steps out during docking. In this position, I could see both forward and aft and also down along the side to the dock.
A small integrated footrest is included at the helm, but buyers can opt for a full-sized board, which folds down and allows shorter drivers to stand and see out. One thing I found troublesome was the placement of the VHF; it was tucked down on the left side of the dash in a way that made it hard to reach it. Greenline needs to find better placement for this.
Overhead are twin electrically actuated hatches for light and ventilation. And speaking of light, the Greenline 39 has large windows running down both sides of the cabin and a full-glass uninterrupted windshield that gives the driver and any companion a movie-like viewing experience.
Accommodations include a bow master with a double bed that can scissor to create two bunks. There are two levels of side windows here and an overhead hatch. Master occupants can access the head directly, but it is shared with the guest cabin, which is to port. Here are twin beds, a round opening porthole, and an overhead slider that opens onto the salon and adds light.
I jumped between the Greenline 39 and 40 on the test, though my primary target was the 39, on which we first zipped around in electric mode and topped out at 6.1 knots on flat water behind the Long Beach jetty. Using the electric drive, I could hear the motor whir but at a significantly quieter level than a running diesel. We then switched to diesel mode. The 39 got on plane in 6.8 seconds and topped out at 18.8 knots at 4050 rpm. We found a steady cruise speed at 15 knots, where the diesel burned 10.5 mph. At just less than 7 knots, the Greenline 39 has a range of 1,000 nautical miles in diesel mode.
Periodically, we made strange S-turns but attributed that to a poorly calibrated autopilot. Because the seas were flat, I spun up a few wakes and noticed how the 39’s hull sliced right through and sat fairly steady even when I put it parallel to the waves. There is room aboard for a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer, and it is an option though it’s hardly necessary.
I found the Greenline 39 made wide, arcing, slow turns at speed, so despite its knife-like shape, there was no stomach- tightening lean. The wheel was a bit stiff and took six turns to get from lock to lock, and that may take some getting used to, especially for drivers maneuvering in close quarters.
The best way to dock was to line up with the slip and then let the bow and stern thrusters push sideways. Greenline models are offered in a straight-shaft configuration only (no pod drives), so the stern thruster is an important option.
THE GREENLINE OFFERING
The Greenline 39 and 40 are built on the same hull, but the 39 has adopted a newer and more contemporary aesthetic. Its profile includes a plumb bow, a sharp forefoot, a slightly reverse transom, hard chines brought all the way forward to knock down spray and a sleeker coach roof. Beyond looks however, there are other differences. The 40 has twin diesel engines with two accompanying electric motors, a higher top speed and about 70 percent of the range at 7 knots, primarily due to the fact the tankage is the same on both models. The 40 also has a companion seat (more of a perch), a full electric sunroof over the helm and salon, and two extra solar panels on the roof.
The choice between the two models really comes down to how buyers use their boat. Do they need twin engines to go faster and do they prefer more traditional styling?