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19th to 21st of May 2026
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MAY 2026

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The traditional galician boat goes electric

Seadrone shipyard from Vigo projects a sailboat with solar panels inspired by details of the dornas and galleons and with a support deck.


The naval engineer Íñigo Echenique designs the first sailboat inspired by the traditional Galician electric propulsion boats. It measures 7.5 meters long and will be built at Seadrone shipyard, which he managed. He anticipates the first delivery will be ready within four months and then mass-produced it.

“I love traditional boats. They have a lot to teach us”, highlights the engineer from Vigo, who has written Madeira de Mar. Notes on gamela, prefaced by Torrente Ballester. For example, the hull has common aspects with the dornas and the deck is clear as in the galleons. «A typical sailboat has little space on the surface to lie down, due to all the elements that are on it. This design, inspired by popular boats, the beam is longer and thus we gain space on the surface”, explains Echenique, who adds that this characteristic provides greater stability to navigation. "The straight bilge shapes are also very interesting in hydrodynamics because they work very well," he says. They have little draft.

The new construction, which is "a mix of traditional and more modern boats", still has no name. «I would like it to be something in Galician language. I like nutria, lontra, which is a river fish variety, and they are seen more and more in the sea, like in Canido”, says the engineer. To ensure the longevity of the buildings, the structure will be made of fiberglass. For this, it has a retractable prodder.
In the middle of the shipbuilding industry transition towards less polluting propulsion methods, Seadrone proposes that the new traditional sailboat should also be electric. "It will have a small electric motor, but the important thing is that it will have solar panels in the cabin," he points out. According to the calculations they have made so far, thanks to the plates "in a day of mooring the battery could be recharged." It is 1,400 watts.

The first difference founded between a boat powered by a conventional diesel engine and an electric one is noise. "The enormous advantage of this sailboat is silence," agrees Echenique.
It also has a hut on the surface with a booth and is helped precisely by a gamela, about two meters long, one of the most emblematic boats in southern Galicia. This is not the first work carried out by Íñigo Echenique on popular boats. He delivered a galleon to a friend of his, who operates in a swamp in Extremadura. And for a shipowner from Hamburg, he made another gamela that serves as a support for another larger ship.

Seadrone thus continues to strengthen its division specialized in electric boats. Larger, they have already delivered five units of passenger transport boats for Menorca. They are equipped with solar panels so that the energy source is 100% clean.

(Source: La Voz de Galicia)