PCEC goes solar sailing

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Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg welcomed everyone to the regular Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club on January 23, 2011 at Amari Resort’s Tavern by the Sea. After the usual opening announcements, he called on Barry Stone with Mermaid Cruises from Hua Hin.

Barry began by mentioning his previous appearance before the Club when he gave a presentation on their first solar powered electric boat. He said that this first effort came about because they felt it was both beneficial to Thailand and to tourists; protecting the environment and providing a comfortable and silent means to tour the river without scaring off the wildlife. Barry presented a picture of this first boat, noting it was based on a typical long tail boat configuration and was operated using DC batteries charged by solar panels.

Member David updates us on activities for this week, while Hawaii Bob confirms member Tom’s current card for the prize of a dinner for two.Member David updates us on activities for this week, while Hawaii Bob confirms member Tom’s current card for the prize of a dinner for two.

Barry said he wanted to bring everyone up to date on their latest boat; a solar and wind assisted Catamaran using magnet electric motors and lithium batteries. He showed several pictures of the boat, which is capable of carrying 50 passengers in comfort. It is 43 feet long and 24 feet wide and made from honeycombed fiberglass, which is ten times lighter then the plywood typically used. He pointed out several features of their revolutionary deck design including the bar and Jacuzzi on board.

PCEC speaker was Barry Stone of Mermaid Cruises, Hua Hin. Barry and company have developed electric boats for cruising on the rivers and creeks on the west of Bangkok Bay, without disturbing the varied wildlife.PCEC speaker was Barry Stone of Mermaid Cruises, Hua Hin. Barry and company have developed electric boats for cruising on the rivers and creeks on the west of Bangkok Bay, without disturbing the varied wildlife.

He said the boat, besides being environmentally friendly, is substantially less costly to operate than their diesel powered boat. The long tail boat and diesel powered Catamaran are used for scheduled cruises; but the new Catamaran will be for charter service at about 15,000 baht per day. It is designed for low water coastal cruising. Because it is slow and basically noiseless, passengers have the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. He expects it to be used for wedding parties, company sponsored excursion, etc.

Barry then pointed out the propulsion method used for the Catamaran and gave a brief history of the magnet motors they are using. The power source is from both solar panels and wind turbines. Fully charged, the lithium ion batteries can provide 5 to 6 hours of constant cruising. Since the batteries are being charged while anchored, they expect to have 8 hours of use time per day.

Barry said they received their registration from the Thailand Shipping Authority on December 31. Their vision is to build electric boats that can be used in and around Bangkok as they would be ideal for traveling the klongs and river since they do not raise large waves that erode river banks and are silent, cutting down on irritating noise pollution.

After describing their new Catamaran, Barry said it he wanted to talk about the new ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin operated by Thailiving Ferry. The ferry uses Ocean Marina in Pattaya and Mermaid Cruises marina in Hua Hin. As part of the ticket price, transportation is provided to and from specific locations in Pattaya and Hua Hin to the respective marinas. The ferry can accommodate about 70 passengers and has an air conditioned lounge. Water and a sandwich are provided as part of the ticket price, but the boat does have a bar and beer is offered for sale. The crossing takes a little over 3 hours and they have a DVD player offering video entertainment.

Barry then introduced a representative of Thailiving Ferry who announced that Pattaya City Expat Club members can receive a 10% discount off the ticket price provided they purchase the ticket direct from Thailiving Ferry and present their membership card. Information and reservations can be made on their website www.thailivingferry.com.

After Barry answered several questions from the audience, Richard Silverberg updated everyone on upcoming events and called on David Meador to conduct the always informative and sometimes humorous Open Forum, where questions about living in Thailand and Pattaya in particular are asked and answered.

The SunCat is Mermaid Cruises’ second electric boat, and offers capacious accommodation for all day cruising on the Prachin River.The SunCat is Mermaid Cruises’ second electric boat, and offers capacious accommodation for all day cruising on the Prachin River.