Sailboat Tour: The ELECTRIC Escape Pod (1974 West Sail)

Meet Johnny the Irishman who is helping these remote islands transition to renewable solar energy while also converting his 1974 sailboat to all electric!
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#Sailboat #Electric #BoatLife
We’ve made a few friends here in the Vava’u Boatyard. And, by a few, I really mean three. Because that’s how many of us are living & working here on our sailboats. There’s Cyril the Frenchman, Canadian Tom, Irish Johnny, and The Americans (that’s us).
Johnny is the character we want you to meet today. He’s a friendly Irishman with an interesting story about working in The Kingdom of Tonga and converting a 1974 West Sail to electric propulsion. It’s a tale about renewable energy projects on remote islands and a mission to build back better.
Plus, we thought we should give you a break from our boat projects and show you what else is going on around here. Johnny gives us the full tour…even the library.
Most importantly, it's a fantastic example of someone that proves you don't need much to get out sailing NOW. Even a Wet Snail with a Barn Door will get you out on the water and living the dream.
We’re Jason and Nikki Wynn. We been living #OffTheGrid and exploring the world for 10 years.
Our first six years of #travel were an epic road trip around North America.
Now we’re on a #sailing voyage about the world. Did we have any previous sailing experience, of course not!
Neither of us is overly talented, smart, rich, lucky, or retired. But that doesn’t stop us from reaching far-flung destinations, having wild #adventures and managing everything that makes living aboard a moving vessel possible.
We’re two ordinary people that just so happen to live an extraordinary life.
And this is why we publish our lives on the world wide web. We share in hopes of inspiring you to find your adventure.
Timestamps if you like to Jump Around:
00:00 We've Been Up To A LOT THIS WEEK!
01:36 Meet Johnny the Irishman
02:21 Escape Pod the Sailboat
03:29 How & Why Did You Buy This Boat?
05:25 SOLAR - A DREAM Job in Tonga?
07:32 Where Ya From & Any Family?
09:11 Why Install an Electric Engine on this Sailboat?
11:16 What Brand of Electric Boat Motor?
12:52 How Will You Power Your Electric Sailboat?
13:48 Wiring a 1970's Boat for Electric Motor
15:02 Outside Boat Tour Begins
15:39 Sailboat Electric Motor Brand & Cost
16:54 West Sail Sailboat Design
17:22 Wind Vane, GIANT Rudder & Propeller Plans
18:03 Cutter Rigged Sailboat & Sails
19:20 The World's Most Interesting Rudder!
19:56 The Cockpit, Navigation & Safety Equipment
20:50 The Sail Plan & Final Destination
22:41 West Sail Deck Tour
23:15 Alfresco Shower Setup & Ventilation
23:55 The Dinghy - Old & New
24:29 Mast Steps & Safety
24:58 Inside Boat Tour - Cabin, Head, Galley & Storage
29:04 Library Tour & Best Sailing Books
31:13 Making Pizza in Nikki's NEW GALLEY!!!
32:19 Corn vs Beer - #FoodieLife in Tonga
33:04 The Cruiser's Lounge is Open!
#BoatLife #Catamaran #TravelVlog #DigitalNomad #LifeStyle #Sailboats
© Gone With the Wynns 2020


  • Sandy J
    Sandy J7 days ago

    What an awesome dude! Amazing story of another sailor.

  • Cherie moonquaker
    Cherie moonquaker12 days ago

    I think I am in love with this Irishman!! xoxo

  • D G
    D G14 days ago

    John TraVolta?

  • Ruben Orozco
    Ruben Orozco15 days ago

    Johnny's an electrical engineer but talks like a down to earth likable guy, we need more people like him!

  • Vinny Vin
    Vinny Vin15 days ago

    One of my favorite episodes. Sure hope you can do a follow up.

  • Vinny Vin
    Vinny Vin15 days ago

    Irish John Travolta

  • Tom Briggs
    Tom Briggs19 days ago

    Between Mark and Johnny, they’re like the sailor’s spirit animals. Just a great episode.

  • guruuuDev
    guruuuDev21 day ago

    He has the gift of gab -- must have kissed the Blarney Stone (as Irish folk do)! Such an interesting and level headed person -- fits right in with the Wynns!

  • Bryan M
    Bryan M21 day ago

    That was just so wonderful. I enjoyed EVERYTHING about this episode. I see a future in boat explore/tours for you guys. Bringing back a shipping relic, but with an electric motor?? Magical!

  • Sid May
    Sid May26 days ago

    Too bad Johnny doesn't have a channel, he could sure teach a lot. Great video guys. Thanks Sid

  • ChrisM21222
    ChrisM2122228 days ago

    My dad had a Westsail 32...brings back some good memories 😊 Thank you for the tour!!

  • Rafael Hoek
    Rafael HoekMonth ago

    I can't get my head around sailing from Tonga to Malta solo... Like, how do you do that? don't you need to keep watch during a passage? Make sure your boat doesn't capsize while he's taking a nap? Can you get an auto-pilot on a boat that old with that style of rudder? I am in so much awe

  • Howard Buskirk
    Howard BuskirkMonth ago

    Lol 😂

  • Howard Buskirk

    Howard Buskirk

    Month ago

    I was laughing @ the introduction by the way. Very interesting 🤔

  • Mjr Burn
    Mjr BurnMonth ago

    What an absolutely awesome little boat and perfectly named "Escape Pod" just fits that vessel so well. Johny seems like an awesome Gent to just hang out with and listen to his stories of the Islands for hours. Thank you for sharing your new friend with us as you pretty much always do if they're willing...

  • Rex Smith
    Rex SmithMonth ago

    How's old coming along

  • CGF
    CGF2 months ago

    Nicest guy ever ... and not one cuss! (not that I'd care lol)

  • Michela Mallia
    Michela Mallia2 months ago

    I'm from Malta and very much into sailing. I will be on the lookout for the Escape Pod in Malta! Best of luck Johnny.

  • Adam Jordan
    Adam Jordan2 months ago

    I am catching up with (ie: binging) your videos and watched the bit about the "chicken tortilla soup but with fish". Your friend said she can't have it all the time because the coriander isn't always available. I spent the next few videos wracking my brain trying to remember the other name for coriander.. and then the Irishman says sláinte, and Jason responds with the word I was searching for. Thanks!

  • Bman
    Bman3 months ago

    Never a shortage of knowledge and interesting times when your all following simular paths. Trust is implied and understood. Great times.

  • David Wearne
    David Wearne3 months ago

    Elco was a boat made by the Electric Light Company in Groton Connecticut, USA. The company is now called Electric Boat where the US Navy has the submarines built. My grandfather worked there in the 1930s and he had one of the boats, been on it many times. It is the same logo as the old boats.

  • James Hibbard
    James Hibbard3 months ago

    Elco located in Athens, NY

  • Darren Mahlke
    Darren Mahlke3 months ago

    Super episode guys nice guy that Johnny eh .actually met him over there in 2018 in Tropicana cafe told me all about his plans back then with the boat for moving around the islands , nice to see he stuck with it, also stayed with Eduardo and Marie for a few weeks too. Really very cool that we can relate to all of your tongan adventure . 😁 keep up the good work I'm inspired .Darren another Irish man

  • Darlene Ermis
    Darlene Ermis3 months ago

    Lots of room in the boat, nice guy! I’d love to to live that kind of life! I could watch you guys all day!

  • whotknots
    whotknots3 months ago

    While re-watching this episode I picked up on Johnny's comment regarding "pulling out the old fuel tanks and putting in shelves for the batteries". As a consequence I wonder if he has done any calculations/comparisons regarding centre of gravity with regard to what I can only presume will be substantially increased weight? If his boat should become too stern-heavy there might be potential for problems.

  • whotknots
    whotknots3 months ago

    Did Johnny consider the English made Beta Marine hybrid propulsion system? Most models the company produce seem to be EU emissions regulations approved for the diesel component and apparently offer the best aspects of several alternatives. A 20hp variant is available and I was impressed by information provided on the website.

  • A
    A3 months ago


  • Barry
    Barry3 months ago

    You can tell they've been married.... Hairs the first thing to go... Next thing he won't be funny and life on the boat???

  • Stephen Melly
    Stephen Melly3 months ago

    Didn't swear once

  • EV power Сергей Голиков
    EV power Сергей Голиков3 months ago

    electric boat DY Russia

  • Skypig67
    Skypig673 months ago

    This guy needs his own channel, he’s got personality.

  • Judy Cook
    Judy Cook3 months ago

    I love how you are at home anywhere you are and seem to have instant friends waiting for you.. No life is perfect but even with Covid your looks pretty darn good. Hats off to you!

  • Mel Hooker
    Mel Hooker3 months ago

    While I enjoyed this episode so much more than I thought I would,.

  • Spiff The Magnificent
    Spiff The Magnificent3 months ago

    I like him, good humored and unpretentious.

  • Robert Jaynes
    Robert Jaynes3 months ago

    Strange im from Tennessee and most of my older grandparents (my oldest grandmother was 103 years old, we had 6 generations alive in one year ) i can actually understand him better than a lot of American accents.

  • K G
    K G3 months ago

    Enjoyable !

  • Max Gafa
    Max Gafa3 months ago

    wow im from malta to :)

  • Rolf Larson
    Rolf Larson3 months ago

    Hello happy6 holidays I know a couple ..sailing UMA tat right now is in north Norway they sailing an Electric boat and they crossed Atlantic down to Amsterdam and then up to Norway and they claim they are using the electric moter about a 30 minims a day check them out as a reference Good luck with your projects

  • Jasper_OMG
    Jasper_OMG4 months ago

    give the man a permanent camera on his head, he's fantastic. //EDIT good job on cutting out the cursing, I heard none :D

  • TheRjjrjjr
    TheRjjrjjr4 months ago

    For no reason would I separate from my young children for a year. If someone told me that I couldn't reunite with my children because of a virus I would reunite anyway, period!

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    If you are halfway around the world and planes aren’t flying, not much you can do about it.

  • Leo Joseph
    Leo Joseph4 months ago

    He's the right guy for that boat and I predict Escape Pod will be a future YT sensation!

  • fawQman
    fawQman4 months ago

    Good vid guys!!! The Irishman was cool!

  • nicolas FILSDEJEAN
    nicolas FILSDEJEAN4 months ago

    Where can I add thumbs up??? T'was such a great video meeting this Johnny Irish guy with his funny accent. As a lot of comments say: that character would do great with a youtube channel of his own: although I do get that being alone and working most of the time it might not make much content but the 46 year old wet snail, it's new dodger, teh electric conversion, sailing back to Malta and re-uniting with his sons: that there is the making of a great content. Hope to see more characters/friends of yours and maybe you'll meet up with Johnny some day in the future. thanks for sharing

  • Greg Harper
    Greg Harper4 months ago

    I love it how Jason tries to conduct the interview of the Irishman outside his boat, BUT, Nikki wouldn't have any of that and kept on changing the questions..! lol super funny you guys. Jason, you're a real good sport, but we all know that Nikki runs the show lol. At the same time, this vlog lifestyle just suits you two so well. Photogenic couple? I Think So..!

  • Darth Fluffy
    Darth Fluffy4 months ago

    Why does this guy remind me of Daniel Day Lewis?

  • Paul Murray
    Paul Murray4 months ago

    nice old boat

  • Theron Melcher
    Theron Melcher4 months ago

    Electric Motor...Feathering Prop...generation of power when under sail? no need for additional equipment.

  • Aaron Runalls
    Aaron Runalls4 months ago

    What a great vid

  • Nadine Buttery
    Nadine Buttery4 months ago

    Love your feed. Really fun to watch. I do think you guys let yourselves down stereotyping your Irish guest as someone who will require bleeps because he is Irish. Come on! Surely you're better than that. From Limerick, not related to John.

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    That wasn’t a stereotype...that was our personal experience of weeks of hanging out together. Lots of F bombs.🤣 But he put on his gentleman charms for the camera when we told him we have families that watch together.

  • Tim Currid
    Tim Currid4 months ago

    Good man Johnny, flying the flag well brother.

  • Chuck Fowler
    Chuck Fowler4 months ago

    There called power poles not telephone poles as a I hate when people call them telephone poles.

  • Vadim Smilansky
    Vadim Smilansky4 months ago

    This Irishman so m,uch remind me me. It feels like we already friends. Ineed to connect to him then I can sail to Malta to meet him in med

  • Vadim Smilansky
    Vadim Smilansky4 months ago

    I have a good lauch , it is so funny, because my boat are 1978 with only compass as nav equipment and I am also considering to convert it to electric. I am not Irishman, but I start look like him :)

  • John Gage
    John Gage4 months ago

    Great episode. Your friend would be a great spokesperson for Citizen’s Climate Lobby' clean energy solution, carbon fee and dividend (aka cash-back carbon pricing):

  • Thomas Ryan
    Thomas Ryan4 months ago

    Go on johnny the kid

  • James Burnside
    James Burnside4 months ago

    Great show! It’s funny how USplanrs always talk about expenses being so high. I own on a 32 foot Nordic tug and it is way more affordable than my house. I would pay three dollars for corn if I could be on it when the snow is flying and it’s 20°. $700 heating bill a year would buy a lot of corn.

  • ScubaJack w
    ScubaJack w4 months ago

    Great interview! Such a positive outlook. It shows how the world is full of great people.

  • Cruising Holiday
    Cruising Holiday4 months ago

    Totally enjoyable video. The Irishman is a personable, friendly golly fellow. Thanks a bunch!

  • MLS Yogi
    MLS Yogi4 months ago

    One of your best “interview videos” (and they are all good). So interesting!! Thanks for keeping me entertained as I hunker down!!

  • Mark Ebert
    Mark Ebert4 months ago

    Love the Electric Escape Pod Johnny!

  • Barton Reid
    Barton Reid4 months ago

    Thanks for the vacation from putting out fires.

  • Beth B
    Beth B4 months ago

    Awesome episode ...Johnny was very cool.

  • debmarie55
    debmarie554 months ago

    Slaintĕ! The first time I visited my husband's family in Ireland, I needed him to translate. It's much easier to understand now, and surprisingly I didn't have trouble understanding the Irish Sailor! LOL

  • Hello
    Hello4 months ago

    We pan to nikki, do you have any question, big smile her heart shaped sunglasses are pounding..WELL

  • Ron Buckner
    Ron Buckner4 months ago

    Irish languageis no where near as tough as scottish

  • Ken Jelinek
    Ken Jelinek4 months ago

    Install a Tesla Power Wall and solar panels. Freakin AWESOME interview all around! 🙂

  • Phil Henderson
    Phil Henderson4 months ago

    Best boat tour ever. What a great friend you’ve found. Really enjoyed all the details.

  • Raver Magik
    Raver Magik4 months ago

    Hmm the engine he is putting in is TECHNICALLY under power for that boat, the original specs had a 36 hp engine in it. However as long as his sails displace the most air they can, it should be ok. Good interview. For those following along, he could of done this with ANY electric engine he can build a battery bank for. He could of prob saved 4k if he would of realized that. However Great interview.

  • Mo Havie
    Mo Havie4 months ago

    Johnny should write a book about converting a diesel motor to an electric motor AND write another book about sailing tips around Tonga since hes sailing and living all around there for the past few years.

  • Keith Olson
    Keith Olson4 months ago

    Wow, that is a beautiful little bateau.

  • Thomas Sutherland
    Thomas Sutherland4 months ago

    Not one swear word. 3 gold stars.

  • Thomas Sutherland
    Thomas Sutherland4 months ago

    Suggest hybrid design. Steal Prius parts.

  • Thomas Sutherland
    Thomas Sutherland4 months ago

    Electric motor. lol

  • Louis669
    Louis6694 months ago

    27:04 roach goes running by

  • Hayden Watson
    Hayden Watson4 months ago

    And yet the fat old Westsail's have won major ocean races such as the 1988 Pacific cup.

  • Happy Go Londons
    Happy Go Londons4 months ago

    Ahh! I (Carlie) lived in the UK for a couple years and when I first got there I was so lost every time someone talked to me, it took a bit to get used to but i don’t think I’ll ever unlearn it! Gosh, I miss living over there! Always love boat tours and Johnny is awesome! It sure is enjoyable to dream! Though, our survey is scheduled for Dec 11th! 🤞🏽

  • Aidan Somerville
    Aidan Somerville4 months ago

    Ireland rocks!!

  • Peter Brown
    Peter Brown4 months ago

    What a cool dude, and knows how to set up a good living space.

  • Go Leafs Go
    Go Leafs Go4 months ago

    Love this guys accent and you can actually understand him without sub titles. Considering his line of work he had to go electric, not really up for debate! Is it just me or is Nikki just the cutest? So down to earth and along with Jason seem to be a pretty happy couple.

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    We are happy indeed 🥰

  • Colleen reimer
    Colleen reimer4 months ago

    What a great episode! You meet such interesting wonderful people in your travels! Looking forward to seeing more of the Irishman!

  • Sheila Flynn
    Sheila Flynn4 months ago

    Johnnie our Counties Waterford and Limerick are in The All Ireland Hurling Final on the 13th December in Croke Park in Dublin . I hope ya all can watch the Beautiful Game . I love watching your adventures keep the clips coming. Up Waterford in the Final 💙

  • Mattia Vio
    Mattia Vio4 months ago

    so that is what Vin Diesel is doing when not filming :) very nice video and the Irish guy is very nice

  • Donna Kawana
    Donna Kawana4 months ago

    Wow it was like going home heating his beautiful voice. I very much enjoyed his story an seeing the boat. It's just great....that electric engine was a thing of beauty! Hope to see it in action. Love the food at the end it was sweet how everyone pitched in. Yes its very expensive to live on an island! My sister lives in Aruba an I was amazed at the difference in price... luv y'all an cheers!!!

  • Barbara Freedman
    Barbara Freedman4 months ago

    I love that striped top with flutter sleeves. Looks good on Nikki. I can't find a top like that. Where did you get it?

  • Hayley Penny
    Hayley Penny4 months ago

    That guy is so cool

  • Kelly O'Neill
    Kelly O'Neill4 months ago

    Sláinte! 🍹 I understood every word he said. ☘️🇮🇪

  • Tom Clements
    Tom Clements4 months ago

    Great interview! I hope he starts his own youtube channel! 🍻

  • Tara Vano
    Tara Vano4 months ago

    Great interview guys!! Such good questions .. and very good answers, love the earthy or should I say., seafaring channel! Thank you so much for a good wholesome watch!

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Fred Read
    Fred Read4 months ago

    Very nice guy. He has done a lot of good work. The West Sail 32 is the boat that survived the “ Perfect Storm”. Very very tough boat. And amazing amount of room. Big displacement. Same as a 40+ foot cruiser. The opposite kind of boat from your cat. Wish him luck with the electric motor. Having to make inter island passages for a job in a mediocre sailing boat, he may want to think about a small diesel generator for when weather and schedule don’t agree! So if need be he can go diesel electric.

  • C
    C4 months ago

    Well I didn’t hear any swearing until the end and that was (mostly) from Jason. Think you owe your friend an apology! 😆 Great video and just underscores my thoughts about designing my own all electric shuttle bus some day! Even down to the wind turbine backup power! Nikki I love your haircut. It’s definitely you!

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago


  • Maxid1
    Maxid14 months ago

    9:05 "Flying airplanes"? They fly now do they? It's great getting to sit back and dissect someone else's misstatements when I can't even hear my own.

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    Haha, yea i thought about putting text on the screen *solar flying airplanes but I kinda liked the slip up b/c it's real 🤣

  • Maxid1
    Maxid14 months ago

    :39 I'm sorry, I got distracted. What did you say?

  • Maxid1
    Maxid14 months ago

    The boats original name was actually Beagles Wings...

  • Maxid1
    Maxid14 months ago

    :35 I've lived in San Francisco for over 30 years. Come on, Really?

  • Tim Gay
    Tim Gay4 months ago

    Dunno what your problem is.. I'm Aussie and I understand every word he says.. ;) a great looking double-ender.. or canoe stern we call them over here.

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    Right on

  • Stuart Smith
    Stuart Smith4 months ago

    Didn’t know Nikki could get any cuter. Supah sweet hair cut, girl!

  • Michael Samuel
    Michael Samuel4 months ago

    That dude is hilarious 😂

  • Darren Starling
    Darren Starling4 months ago

    At that rate I can see a bottle of rum lasting a "looong" time compared to mine. 🙀

  • Sharpshooter 250
    Sharpshooter 2504 months ago

    I already made a comment but forgot to tell you I love your new look . The haircut came out Great ...

  • Sharpshooter 250
    Sharpshooter 2504 months ago

    What a great guy to meet . You did a excellent interview . He's very smart or is intelligent a better word . He's someone I would like to have as a friend . Another great video . Thanks for sharing ... Be Safe and have Fun .....

  • craig scott
    craig scott4 months ago

    The posh family trying to be nice about a vessel they think is inferior to their own....slightly awkward! yet I prefer his proper boat!

  • Gone with the Wynns

    Gone with the Wynns

    4 months ago

    No way! Not even close, we love the boat and the sailor. We traveled for years in an old westfalia vanagon and it was far less posh than his escape pod. There is a time and a place for every vessel. Nothing inferior about it.