South Africa’s Maverick Yachts has expanded its range of sailing catamarans with a hybrid electric drive vessel, the company has announced.

Officially launched last week, the Maverick 440 Hybrid is modelled on the company’s successful semi-custom Maverick 440, which is itself an update on the debut model the Maverick 400.

The hybrid model is powered by lithium-ion phosphate batteries which give the boat the best engine range for any 44ft catamaran in the world, the company claims on its website.

“Total cruising range on the diesel-electric hybrid drive engines [ie, no sail power] is calculated at over 1,000 nautical miles. This range is under calm [neutral] sea conditions at 5kt,” the company says. “The batteries are charged through a number of sources, namely solar power, wind generators [optional], hydro-regeneration while sailing, shore power, and diesel generators.”

The cruising range is thanks to two 20kW shaft drive electric motors and two 16kW diesel generators that “automatically go on to charge the batteries”. The boat can travel for five hours on electric engines on a single battery charge [at 5kt].

The company attributes the success of the system to the power of the lithium-iron phosphate battery pack which is strong enough to run all electrical systems, such as air-conditioning, water maker and autopilot.

“If you are conservative with your electrical consumption your batteries will recharge only through the use of the solar panels, wind generator, and hydro generator. The backup generator is set to automatically come on when required and you can enjoy more silent intervals. The diesel generators are highly insulated to run smoothly and quietly. Overall there is less vibration and noise when the diesel generator is running than traditional diesel motors,” the company says.

Cape Town-based Maverick Yachts has a facility in Montague Gardens. Its first model, the Maverick 400 designed by Phil Southwell, won the South African Boat Building Council Boat of the Year Award in 2010.