“The Skull & Cactus” has some very interesting and different features to most of our previous boats. The owner, Sarah, had certain specific requests for her build. Sarah will be a full-time liveaboard, and so that she can carry on vlogging her GTA gaming to her many followers, one of her first requirements (apart from silent electric cruising!) was excellent 5G connectivity and comfortable places on her boat to use her mini projector for her gaming.
Sarah is used to the canals around her home county of Yorkshire, so knew she wanted to stick with a 57’ boat so that she can comfortably cruise on the Calder & Hebble. The Tim Tyler hull features the popular semi-cruiser stern, in a slightly shorter version than some of our recent serial hybrids because the 800Ahr LiFePO4 battery bank is housed in the cabin rather than in the engine room. The all-electric propulsion is provided by a powerful brushless motor (with 18kW peak) and there is a Fischer Panda PVMV-N 8000x generator to charge the batteries on days where the large solar array (2.4kW) doesn’t provide enough power for living and cruising.
To assist Sarah when she is cruising the boat on her own, we fitted our remote control system OrtoPilot, to the boat. This controls both the electric motor and the bow thruster so that she can guide her boat into and out of locks and through swing bridges, from the towpath.
Living an eco-friendly, off-grid lifestyle is important to Sarah, hence her choice of a Compoost toilet, and an Ekol Baked Apple Pie stove – in which she will burn special eco wooden heat logs, and cook her meals.
There is no calorifier or diesel-powered heating on the boat – it is all electric. Hot water is provided by an energy efficient 80L electric 3kW water heater housed under the bed, controlled by our OrtoMate system, which will use the tank for solar dumping in the summer whenever there is excess solar energy available. Having recently lived in a flat with only a shower, Sarah was quite sure she wanted the ability to occasionally have a soak in a bathtub in her new home – hence the size of the water tank. Heating is provided via the solid fuel stove, plus electric towel radiators in the bathroom, and thermostatically remote-controlled electric plinth heaters in the galley and bedroom, in case a quick boost of heat is required.
The boat will also be Sarah’s workroom – she has an industrial grade sewing machine, so her breakfast bar will double as a work bench. She has dual roller blinds throughout the boat which provide privacy and light during the day, plus the benefit of blackout blinds at night, which double as projector screens. Projector mounting brackets are fitted in the roof trims in both the saloon and the bedroom.
Bringing the outside colour scheme into the inside of the boat, the bathroom features matt black finishing touches, not even a splash of chrome anywhere! The centre piece of the bathroom is the corner bathtub, complete with shower over. On her second night aboard she had a lovely warm soak in the bath – it was a sunny day, so the water was heated courtesy of the solar panels.
Located at the bow, the bedroom has a full size 4’6” double bed with gas strut side lift and a padded headboard with reading lights, providing a comfortable place to stream her gaming from first thing in the morning.