Sailors will remember Ian Bruce as the “Father of the Laser.” The 13.8‘ (4.2m) cartopper ranks as one of the world’s most popular boats. Born in Jamaica and educated in Canada and the U.S., Bruce was trained as an industrial designer, but participating in an International 14 regatta changed his life. One result was founding Performance Sailcraft soon after he introduced the Bruce Kirby–designed Laser in 1970.
Less well known is the two-time Olympian’s pursuit of a viable electric boat. Before his death in March 2016 at the age of 82, he’d invested heavily in the design and manufacture of a 22‘ (6.7m) electric launch. Dario-Alejandro Gomez, marketing specialist for Canadian Electric Boat Co., and president Alexandre Mongeon wrote to tell us more:
“We are an electric boats manufacturer since 1995. We have sold more than 1,000 electric boats all around the world. The company was bought two years ago by two boating passionates [sic], and the whole vision of the company has changed. Innovation and R&D have become key factors to our company. We aim to play a key role in transport electrification worldwide. The average-size boat needs 15 times more fuel than a family car. This is one of the main reasons we decided to find a way of producing high-quality and affordable electric boats. Our engineering and research-and-development teams work tirelessly in order to innovate in the green energy field.
“We are proud to carry on the expertise of Ian Bruce, a world water sports and recreational craft pioneer and visionary. Ian was an industrial designer who had worked mostly in the production category of recreational boats. Ian Bruce invested more than $13 million since 2006 in order to manufacture the first Bruce 22 in 2010.”
The company presently builds three models, designed by Bruce and Luc St-Onge.
• Quietude 156 measures 15‘ 6“ (4.7m) LOA, and weighs 800 lbs (362 kg). It carries up to four passengers and is powered by a Minn-Kota trolling outboard with 112 lbs of thrust. Three 12V lead-acid batteries yield 6–8 hours of motoring at 5 mph (8 kmh), on 8–12 hours of charge via any 110V or 220V domestic power source.
• Fantail 217, a classic launch with canvas top, is 21‘ 7“ (6.6m) LOA, and weighs 1,705 lbs (775 kg), and is powered by a Minn-Kota electric outboard rated at 2 hp (1.55 kW). The 48V system is powered by eight 6V batteries.
• Bruce 22 (6.7m), with a 6‘ 6“ (2.08m) beam and 18“ (457mm) draft, is powered by a UQM Powerphase Pro100 permanent magnet motor with digital controllers that delivers 258 ft-lbs of torque (36 kg/m) at 100 kW. The lithium battery bank is made by Panasonic. It’ll cruise at 30 mph (48 kmh) with a maximum speed of 41 mph (66 kmh). A “Fossil Fuel” model is available, powered by a 220-hp (165-kW) 4.5L Mercury gas engine with a 40-gal (151-l) fuel tank.
Hull construction is balsa-cored fiberglass for the Quietude 156, and solid glass for the other two models. Gomez: “The layup of the hull starts with an outer gelcoat skin, followed by an osmosis-protective barrier coat and a 1-oz (300-g/m2) vinylester skincoat. After this is fully cured off, a dry laminate is placed in the boat of 11⁄2-oz (450-g/m2) mat followed by the inner hull decorative cane webbing. This entire laminate is then vacuum-bagged in place and thoroughly and evenly resin-infused in a process that completely saturates the laminate. A full-length, hollow fiberglass stringer grid system is then bonded into the hull for strength and rigidity, and to support the floor. Half-inch aluminum bar is bonded into this grid and tapped for the engine mounts.” The inside of the hull is covered with J. Ennis Fabrics diamond-stitched material.
Canadian Electric Boat Co., tel. 438–405–8680, 866–479–1099, website www.electricboats.ca.