ZAANDAM – In Elizabethan times, oarsmen plied the waters of the Thames in “wherries” – boats that today, 400 years later, inspire a father-daughters team to make 5.74m (19ft) electrically powered recreational day boats that can do 10.5 knots.
Toon Zegers and daughters Lisa and Anne say “sustainability and energy transition “are not empty concepts (but) core values and guiding principles in everything we do.”
Toon has worked at several Dutch shipyards. In 1997, he began a yacht service company and built boats, including a trailerable sailboat. Gradually, he took a shine to the Thames wherry and had a naval architect calculate the hull shape. That became a prototype.
Daughters Lisa and Anne studied at Amsterdam’s Wood and Furnishings College. Their final year boat project coincided with their father’s Thames Wherry prototype development.
Today, the three are the ‘Zegers Faraday by Lisa + Anne’ company. (Faraday is a nod to the 19th-century English scientist whose study of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology).
The ZegersFaraday boat is designed for electric propulsion. It comes with a 1.7KW induction motor fed by a 5.6 kWh lead battery pack. It is suitable for six to eight hours of sailing or a distance of 50+ km.
“The Zegers Faraday is a new boating experience,” says Toon Zegers. “Developed from a desire to sail without disturbing the environment. Sailing in silence and low on the water, you soon feel at one with that environment.”
The electric motor sits under the aft deck and is cooled with air through a transom grille. Four, series-connected 6-volt batteries, provide 24 volts. The lead-acid batteries sit in a beautifully finished wooden crate in the center of the cockpit.
The tiller sits in front of the rear bench on the battery box. It needs no “swing space” as it is an opposite tiller: you push it in the direction you want to go. Traditional steering is available on request.
The ZegersFaraday cockpit has four seats. The hulls of the first boats were built in a mold at a composite company in Harlingen. The hulls are made in the traditional way, layer by layer. A foam core sandwich construction is more vulnerable.
The finishing is carefully done. Lisa Zegers: “The cockpit coaming, bump rail, tiller, throttle and tabletop are done in clear lacquered mahogany. The benches, bulkheads and cupboards on the cockpit sides are made of sheet metal. We have that CNC-cut at a furniture maker. An upholsterer makes the cushions. Striving for local products keeps the footprint small.”