Pretty cool video from Team SCA. Only a few days until the Volvo Ocean Race starts.
Boat building: research phase
So, building my own boat would be pretty cool. I’ve put my fingers on a class 950 fast cruiser, namely the Didi 950 - made from plywood and epoxy (the first hull just got turned). The next question is: can I do it, and if yes, how long will it take and how much will it cost?
To answer the second question I’ve spent a good amount of time in the last weeks filling a spreadsheet with parts, supplier names and prices. At the moment this list contains 187 entries for a total of €26,800 - quite a few items don’t have a price attached to them yet.
So far I have:
- a kit for building a hull - supplied by Woodtec in Greece
- most of the basic deck hardware - winches (€1,400 each!!), clutches, blocks, tracks
- parts of an electrical system - shore connection, charger, batteries, alternator, switch panels, lights…
- safety gear - life raft, epirb, MOB gear, fire extinguishers, pumps…
- a dinghie
What I don’t have yet:
- a rig
- an engine
- epoxy for glueing the hull
- a keel
- boat building tools
- auto pilot, navigation electronics
- a place to build the hull - I’ve done a quick search and it seems to be really easy to get a tiny (car parking) or a huge place (warehouse), but of course I haven’t seen anything that comes close to what I need
- anything inside the cabin, e.g. galley, heads
- all the many parts I’ve forgotten
So, I guess I’ll keep roaming the catalogs for a while to find out more prices. In addition I’ll have to talk to a few builders to find out more about how long it takes. And I think I’ll go to Hanseboot in October to talk to some dealers and manufacturers.
But before all that: next week we’re flying to France for our 1-week trip in the Biscay area on a Pogo 30. Woot!
Cultisol, the Mini with the bow, from the inside.
Team Concise Open 40
We yesterday watched “Beyond the West Horizon”, a real gem of a sailing film. Shot in the early sixties it features Eric and Susan Hiscock on their circumnavigation on the famous Wanderer III.
Of course it’s great to see the sailing and the places they visit. What’s funny though is how much the world has changed. This starts with the boat: the log is some weird mechanical, rotating device, the sails “are much better than the cotton ones we had before”. Everything is of course manual. Offshore navigation is performed with the sextant. Gender roles are clearly separated: “Susan has dealt with kerosene stoves since her teens so there’s no problem” and “has one of her washing days”.
Very very nice to watch. It’s available on Vimeo as a rental for $3.
Found via @projectatticus.
Alternative methods of Yacht Propulsion
If at all possible I really want to avoid putting a stinking noisy Diesel engine into my boat, so I’m looking for alternatives.
At the moment it seems the most viable solution would be to install an electric motor, a bunch of (lithium ion) batteries with enough juice to get me in and out of marinas/anchorages plus a Diesel generator for emergencies. I know this setup still has the word Diesel in it, but a generator would be:
- Smaller and lighter – small generators only need one cylinder and need to be less powerful than engines, i.e. 2-4kw as opposed to maybe a 8-10kw engine. An engine needs to be sized for the maximum power needed, a generator only has to slowly charge the batteries. If the electric engine needs lots of power the batteries act as a buffer.
- More efficient as it could always run at optimal RPM
- Really only run when I have to motor some place too far away to get there on batteries, i.e. if sailing isn’t possible
- More quiet – it’s not connected to the hull like an engine is, so vibrations can be dampened more easily, plus it comes in an insulated box.
Generators have been around forever so my feeling is that shouldn’t be such a big problem. Batteries, while expensive for the Amp-hour are available from multiple suppliers, too.
Electric motors are trickier. There’s Torqueedo but so far they only have outboards, which isn’t really what you want on a yacht. I don’t know if they’re working on inboard engines.
I was pleasantly surprised then when I read that Watt&Sea, famous producers of the Watt&Sea hydro generators (which are used a lot in IMOCAs, Open 40s and even Minis), offer motors now. Most notable is the 4kW Propulsor - maybe still a bit too weak for my purposes, but we’re getting there. The cool part is how it’s designed. Instead of mimicking traditional (read Diesel) engines where the engine is located inside the boat and the power is transferred to the propeller outside the boat via a shaft, they just put the whole thing into one box that hangs from the boat – pretty much like a keel. Not only does it make installation much easier (no gaping hole in the hull, no shaft), I can imagine it to be a lot less likely to break since there are fewer moving parts and everything is sealed in the box. The entire setup weighs only ~15kg.
So, since I don’t need an engine just yet: Torqueedo, please work on inboard engines. Watt&Sea, please make a 6kW version.