Cockwells has launched the first of its new generation Hardys after buying the brand last year. And it’s a diesel-electric hybrid version of the Hardy 42.
The boat is a timeless well-proven model, around 30 of which have been built over the past 18 years. Previous owner Windboats started the build by laminating the hull and superstructure but the remaining 70% of the work has been completed by Cockwells at its Mylor Creek facility in Cornwall.
The hybrid installation is based around a single 440hp Yanmar diesel engine, rather than the usual twin set-up, with a 20kW electric motor linked to a 22kW generator and a 48V 400AH lithium-ion battery bank providing an additional source of clean, quiet power for the single shaft and propeller.
The generator either runs the electric motor directly or charges the batteries, but a 48V alternator also allows charging directly from the main engine.
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Under diesel power it has a top speed of 15-16 knots, depending on load condition, but at an economical cruise speed of around eight knots it should deliver a range of around 600nm from its 2,000 litres of diesel spread across two tanks.
In electric mode the maximum speed will be just six knots, but the batteries won’t last long at this pace. At a more sedate 4.8 knot cruise, a draw of around 200A allows up to two hours’ silent running.
Cockwells developed its own power-management control system for the hybrid installation. EmpirBus-based, the system will handle everything automatically. When battery levels drop to 20% the generator fires up to run the electric motor.
A touch-screen display enables easy monitoring. To make low speed manoeuvring easy it is also fitted with variable-speed Vetus thrusters fore and aft.
Cockwells is known for the high quality of its handcrafted wooden interiors and the Hardy 42 hybrid lives up to expectations. It features contemporary light-oak veneers with a satin varnish finish.
This first boat has a two-cabin, two-bathroom layout. The owners’ suite is amidships with the VIP suite forward.
Prices for the Cockwells Hardy 42 with twin 440hp Yanmars start at £846,000 including VAT. The Hardy 42 hybrid upgrade package costs an extra £75,900 excluding VAT.
Built for an experienced British yachtsman, whose previous boat was a Discovery 55 sailing yacht, this new Hardy 42 hybrid is expected to spend its first season in the West Country. However, once Covid restrictions ease, the owner plans to use it for French canal boating.
Dave Cockwell says this was the original motivation for choosing a boat with silent-running capabilities and a single-screw installation, as the prop is protected from grounding or underwater obstructions by the keel.
Air-draught restrictions on the Canal du Midi have also meant the mast and windscreen on the upper helm position can be folded down when required.
The launch of the Hardy 42 hybrid marks the start of Cockwells’ 25th anniversary celebrations.
“Thank goodness Cockwells stepped in to save this great British brand and what a clever way to reinvent it with hybrid power,” says Hugo Andreae.
“Now it just needs to keep up the momentum with more refreshed models and ultimately a new generation of Hardys. No brand can afford to stand still for long.”
First published in the June 2021 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting.