Déjàlà is a 1972 Ericson-Alberg 
35' Sloop with step mast and full/long keel.
  • Hull: #46 according to survey we cannot find proof aboard
  • LOL: 34'9" or 10.59 meters
  • LOL: with bow pulpit: 36'1"                  
  • LWL: 24'1" or 7.34 meters
  • Beam: 9'8" or 2.95 meters    
  • Ballast: 5,300 pounds or 2,404 kilos
  • Draft: 5' or 1.55 meters               
  • Displacement: 12,000 pounds or 5,443 kilos
  • Type: Fiberglass
  • Hull Speed: 6.7 knots
  • Dimensions: 
    • I = 41.60' or 12.68 m
    • J = 12.30' or 3.75 m
    • P = 36.0' or 10.97 m
    • E = 16.0' or 4.88 m
  • Sails:
    • Main, loose footed = 288sqft, 1st reef = 184 (64%), 2nd reef = 104 (36%)
    • Jib = 345 sqft
    • Gennaker = Selden Code X CX-15
    • Asymmetrical Spinnaker with sock = 845 sqft


Here are some pictures of the electric drive and associated batteries and switch system. The battery bank consists of ten Trojan L16 6V batteries in the deep part of the bilge. They are fitted with Hydrocaps to catalyze the hydrogen generated while charging back into pure water, greatly reducing the addition of distilled water, and keeping the interior safe from the gas.

The electricity is routed through a knife switch array to allow changing the operating voltage from 60VDC for the drive motor to 12VDC for operating house loads (lights, fridge, pumps, etc.)

The motor is a 'Ray' electric outboard. It resides in a box above the outboard well when not in use. This helps the boat sail more efficiently by avoiding dragging a prop through the water. The motor is sized to drive the boat in and out of crowded harbors, marinas, anchorages, etc. It is not for long term 'motor-sailing' for days on end. After all: it IS a sailboat! We could motor at 3 knots for about 12 hours to a 50% depth of discharge, but have never done it.

Electric Motor, Electric Switches, Batteries

Charging the bank is by a combination of solar panels, tow-behind generator and shore power through a Xantrex 100A inverter/charger.

This is probably too much info for those that don't care, not enough for those with a technical bent, but it is a short overview of the drive system.

The inside

Spinnaker, Anchored, Sailing

Stern, Cockpit, Dodger

All Lines to Cockpit, Solar Panels

We cannot forget our modular sit-on-top kayaks (Apollo Point 65 N) 
that get us safely (although wet at times) to and fro.

Inside V-Berth during passages

What's in the Name:

After owning our sailboat for about 4 years and in preparation
for our sailing adventures to visit many new countries, and following approximately two seconds of heavy deliberation, we agreed
to have our sailing vessel registered in Canada. From experience,
it seemed that in many countries of the world, the Canadian flag is viewed and treated as friendlier than the US one.

When we traveled to Canada to register our sailboat a couple of years back, we came up with three possible names (Déjàlà [French], La Pulce D’Acqua [Italian], or Yá át tééh [Navajo]). In case our favorite one was already taken by another clever name thinker we’d quickly have something to fall back on. The first name we came up with was thankfully approved and we didn’t think much more of the meaning behind the name we had made up.

How we came up with Déjàlà? Well, if you know a little French (English use the French term as well) Déja-vu, basically means “the experience of feeling sure that one has already witnessed or experienced a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the prior encounter are uncertain and were perhaps imagined – somewhat like an illusion.” We toyed then with the idea of replacing the vu (seen, viewed) with là (there) hence the illusion of having been there/somewhere before.

Now that we are in Mexico I often catch some of the Mexicans working around our boat point at its name and snicker so I finally asked them what it meant then did a little googling of my own.

In a broad sense, the term can mean: Let her be, Leave her behind, Let it be (my favorite version), Let it go,
anything to do with leaving something or someone somewhere, placing something somewhere or abandoning something or someone. It also can mean to allow, to pass on or to let depending on the context. I can now see why some snickers happen here in there. The Mexicans who snicker will often dare one another to ask me what it means or how I say it. I tell them that it actually is not a true word and when I pronounce it the French way where the “j” is pronounced like a “j”, not an “h” (as in Spanish), they think of it somewhat differently.

It will be interesting to see if other languages encountered along the way see other meanings in the name…


  1. Nice to see some "real" numbers. We too are converting our boat to an electric drive. Nice to find other sailors with similar mentalities. Keep it up!

    Sailing Uma

    1. Just watched your video answering various questions. We had fun answering the same questions. It really feels nice to have younger people following this lifestyle. Continue making your own decisions regardless of what old farts walking the dock (and never sailing) tell you. You will make some really bone headed decisions (we did)! We wouldn't trade those decisions and the learning experiences they brought for anything. We learned to sail once we left the dock in Long Beach, CA with an electric motor... You will learn how to "sail" much quicker than anyone with a iron Jenny back-up. The questions about motoring are posed by people who do not know how to "sail". Patience, refusing to be tied to a very tight schedule will make your sailing journey a remarkable experience. We have sailed in places that the old time motor-sailors said couldn't be done... Amazing what a little patience and research will do. As far as storms, you will become adept at following weather forecast and reading between the lines. Practice some heavy weather drills (for example Chubascos which can have 70kts winds give you only a couple minutes warning from calm winds), prepare for the worst, hope for the best. The vast majority of scary sailing tales carry the disclaimer in the first paragraph, "We had a schedule", "A storm was forecasted, but".
      Some of the more interesting places we visited were when we left an anchorage expecting wind from the South but having wind from the North... We don't fight it, we see what cool places are where the wind is blowing.
      If you'd like to bounce ideas, drop us a line.
      Would love to know how you found us?
      We are currently redesigning the electric drive system on Déjàlà and will be back in the water in December.

  2. Hi,

    Rick and Jasna suggested getting in touch with you when, after reading their book, I mentioned to them that I was going Electric.

    I'm presently looking at installing a Kraeutler pod motor, (Austrian). They have 20 years experience with submersible boat motors (and much more with electric motors in general) and a good rep. I checked out Mastervolt but they were way less proactive, and I think they acquired their pod motors by buying another company.
    Anyway I am looking to possibly get the Kraeutler ACA 8,0L as it can be conveniently installed between my hulls and raised out of the water to hide behind the beam. They claim 82% efficiency, whereas your Ray say they have 45%. This is maybe because the motor is in the housing so has power losses between the motor and the prop? The ACA 8,0 is also more powerful at 8 kW and runs on 48 V instead of 60 V.
    If you know of any other reputable manufacturers I would really appreciate your advice, before I take the plunge.

    I actually originally found out about Kraeutler from a guy in Cairns called Dominic de Vries who runs a company called all4solar ( He has written a pdf book 'MYELECTRICBOAT' about electrics in general and specifically on how to run a boat totally on electrics. I could send you the pdf but that would be bad karma! and it is cheap from his website anyway ;-)

    As I am building a Proa I have plenty of cabin top space so have already installed 2.1 kW of solar panels, and as it is a Proa, the masts/sails will not generally blind as much of the panels as a Cat. The large number of panels is so that I can hopefully go totally off grid and supply a fridge, freezer, fans, etc, although I have 5kW Fischer Panda generator, with a Kubota single cyl diesel as backup.

    The downside to a Cat or Proa is the weight of the deep cycle batteries that I would need. I've calculated from Dominic's book that I will want around 400kva/48V of batteries which would weigh over 2 tons; no big problem for a displacement monohull, but a serious impediment for a Proa, so I've really got to go with expensive Lithiums.

    I see you are presently redesigning your electric drive and would welcome your thoughts on any of the above.
    Robin Warde (Luca Antara)

  3. Good Evening Robin,

    Great to hear from other folks going electric. I am not familiar with the Australian pod motors but had looked into a version in its initial stages headed up by a couple of General Electric / US Navy torpedo engineers. The specs sounded great and having everything in one small package certainly leads to better efficiency. We found with our style of cruising that motoring plays such a small role that efficiencies were not as important as we had imagined. Sometimes those dollars can be better spent on the primary drive (sails).

    Batteries are the major drawback to any cruising electric boat. For house usage the battery bank sized to the motor will be more than enough to lead a very comfortable life onboard.

    We have an Engel fridge/freezer, an Echotec water-maker, all LED and cold cathode fluorescent lights, fans, electronics, extremely efficient Lowrance digital radar (less power output than a cellphone), a hookah and solar pressurized hot water. All this with 400w of solar panel (for 2 adults and a very furry dog). We have lived very comfortably in the desert environment of northern Mexico down to the Tropics for 2.5 years. We do use propane for cooking.

    One big power draw we avoided is an autopilot. We use a windvane (Hydrovane) and I am completely sold on its performance and benefits. We do have a small Ray tiller pilot that we can attach to the windvane when running dead downwind in very light air.

    We do have a generator for back up, a 2kW Yamaha. We have seldom used it as backup. Mostly turned it on to make sure it still works every three months...

    Lithium ion batteries are great for saving weight but you will need to carefully monitor the charging algorithms in a marine environment. We had 10 Trojan L-16 6 volt batteries in series for the motor switched to a 12 volt bank for a house usage. We discovered that for us it was a massive overkill. That weighed 1100 pounds. Our new motor set up is a 10kW running on 48 volt powered by four 12 volt 130AH batteries. Our boat (35 foot, 16,000 pounds) will motor at 3 knots in calm seas at 1.2kW. Based on our cruising history (10,000 miles) this battery bank should be sufficient.

    Very smart on your part to stick with 48 volt. There are lots of available 48 volt electronics. It's a very common industry standard unlike the 60 volt we started with.

    We decided to go with an inboard motor system for two reasons: one it's tough to put things in and out of the water in a rolling sea and two we hope to use the system to primarily generate power while under sail. To this end we designed a propeller that is optimized for driving the motor as a generator and secondarily as propulsion for the boat. One of the cool things about designing your own system is that you can tailor it specifically to your wants and needs. For us our motoring totals for 2.5 years were less than 1% and 99% sailing. Not everyone is that 'crazy'. Your motoring expectations/requirements may be very different from ours.

    I bought an off the shelf motor / controller kit from Thunderstruck Motors in California. Their expertise has been in electric land vehicles and they are adapting the technology for sailboats. Our new solar panel system is 400w of thin film flexible panels atop a hard dodger (about the same as previous with a smaller footprint).

    Your proposed battery bank sounds Massive! With our 2100 amp/hours in the old system, we calculated we could be without sun for a month and still have cold beer.

    Thanks for the link to the PDF book. I'll download it when I get real internet again.

    Keep up your research, expect to make at least a few really bone headed decisions but you can fix them later.

    Feel free to ask if you have more questions,


  4. Aloha from Oahu, Hawaii! Love your vessel and love the article on Rurutu. Guess even if we visit the Austral islands by sail, we won't be sailing to Rurutu. The Alberg sloop has a profile that is very similar to our Morgan 45(S&J 45). Frugal on space but a relatively fast passage maker. Fair winds to you both. Kusuru and Ina!


We are always happy to hear from you but at times it may take a while to get a reply - all depends if we have access to the internet.