You probably don't have time to wade thru the rest of this nonsense, so here's the skinny:

I intend to scratch build an ultra-light epoxyed plywood pontoon boat with a deck area of about 7 ' by 14' on 16 ' pontoons.
The craft will be powered by two 24V DC motors. The power will come from eight 12V Deep cycle marine (lead/acid) batteries that will be charged by solar panels and small vertical axis wind turbines.
The system will be split into two separate, isolated units
with one motor, two pairs of batteries, 2 wind turbines and solar array for each side.

The craft itself is still on the drawing board, there's some details left to work out but they're minor.
The current design displaces over 2200 pounds with only a 12" draught.

The plan is to take this boat from as far up the Mississippi as she can navigate down to New Orleans,
relying only on the solar and wind generated electricity she can create on board.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So I had this idea...

I guess maybe it's more of a midlife crisis then an idea.
But considering the life I've lead "midlife" has most likely come and
gone. With the economy in the tank and construction in New England
at a standstill, I've got a lot of free time, and the urge for one more a
dventure while I'm still in shape to take it on.

I'm going to build a small pontoon boat with electric motors, using a
combination of wind and solar for power. I'm hoping to launch the
boat from as far up the Mississippi as is navigable in a boat that stands
6 feet off the waterline and draws a foot of water.
Destination: New Orleans.

I suppose questioning my qualifications would be a good place to s
start. No, I've never built a boat before.
But I have been a carpenter for longer then most of you have been
alive. I'm sure I've got the skills and tools and there appears to be
enough info available on line to cover what I don't know about the
assembly process.
I live in Rhode Island, "The Ocean State" and grew up around boats.
Cruising Naragansett Bay and Block Island Sound.
I'm sure there will be a learning curve in running a seriously
underpowered craft in strong currents,but I figure I can handle it.
I'm not sure if this trip has ever been made in a solar powered water
craft. I did find an article about a couple from Texas that were going
to attempt it this summer, but there haven't been any updates in a
while so I don't know if they gave up or they're still under way or what.

I'm hoping to document the trip. Both on-line and with video and digital images. I'm packing my little iBook in hopes of finding a way to get internet access with enough speed to upload the photos and video, but I'm also packing a spare HD and memory sticks just in case.
I've made a dozen or so videos that have done okay, so the end product should at least be watchable. I'm not shooting for a Pulitzer Prize or anything, but maybe some local access air would be nice.

So that's what passes for my mission statement.

Thanks for looking in.


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