Boat owners show off electric boat in Captiva waters
Nancy Frainetti and Jeff String looked like a couple of movie stars waving from their sleek new boat to a group of kayakers bobbing in the Gulf waters off of Captiva.
The kayakers and others standing near the pier at McCarthy’s Marina last week marveled at the couple’s hybrid electric boat.
“It’s like a golf cart in the water,” String said.
The Clearwater couple set off in their 24-foot Endeavour Electric Hybrid for an eight-day cruise to the Atlantic Ocean. The couple traveled the 250-mile journey through Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, the Intercostal Waterway, to Captiva to Fort Myers, across the state via the Caloosahatchee River and Lake Okeechobee to Stuart, using less than $2 per day of electricity.
Frainetti and String who own Endeavor Green Electric Hybrid Yachts in Clearwater decided to do the mini sea voyage as a way to raise awareness for protecting the water and to raise money for What About Blue, www.whataboutblue.org, a non-profit organization aimed at bringing attention to world water problems. Funds raised will go to charities working on water issues, preserving and restoring waterways and, internationally, to help build wells for those without access to clean water, Frainetti said.
The Endeavor Electric Hybrid features a 13 horsepower electric propulsion system, hybrid, solar and diesel options, air conditioning – which is run on a diesel generator, galley with sink, toilet, full Eisenglass enclosure and 110 outlets.
Frainetti and String said they got into the boat making business after working at a boat company in California where electric boats are more common. With the help of Fort Myers naval architect Brad Dobbs, the couple built their first battery-operated boat in 2007. The hybrid is their most
sophisticated vessel using a combination of battery and a diesel generator. The diesel generator works as a back up and is used for air conditioning. The batteries receive their power via a 110 outlet.
Frainetti said customers are seeking more eco-friendly alternatives to
fossil-fueled boats. Though the electric boats don’t yet have the speed of powerboats – the Electric Hybrid’s top speed is 6 MPH. But they are
quiet, good on fuel and better for the environment, Frainetti said.
“We’re an alternative,” she said. “We’re really attractive right now.”
She said people looking to downsize from expensive yachts as well as
Sailboat sailors are seeking their custom-made boats.
“We have a wide demographic that is interested,” she said.
Rae Ann Wessel, natural resource policy director for the Sanibel-Captiva
Conservation Foundation, said the availability of a battery-operated boats is
“It’s a great idea,” she said. “Anyway we can reduce our carbon foot print.”
She said enterprising people like Frainetti and String are contributing to the
growing energy technology think tank for wind and sun-driven energies.
“These are the kinds of things we need to be experimenting with,” she said.
“Only by initiating these kinds of efforts will we get there.”