How the Insanity Began

Neither one of us has ever sailed so how did this whole sailing thing even come onto our radar? I blame it all on Dennis. He can have all the credit for the crazy idea this time. Dennis had stumbled on some sailing videos on You Tube and it took off from there. He went in search of a first boat that we could learn to sail on. I present to you our very first sailboat which we lovingly named Squirt.12143331_1054213897931751_7257496061172752968_n

Oh the fear that little yellow boat instilled in me. Dennis played fearless. There was a very big learning curve with Squirt that included but was not limited to getting stuck, drifting into the pier, running aground on oysters, getting stuck in a storm and almost flipping her over more than once. Needless to say it was never a dull moment when we took her out. There was definitely  a Lot of learning going on. It wasn’t all terrifyingly frought with misadventure though. We enjoyed ourselves on many sailing days also. There were dolphins that you could almost reach out and touch. The views and of course the sailing itself was Amazing.

After about two years or so of sailing Squirt we decided we wanted a bigger boat that can eventually take us further. Dennis had his list of musts. There were some long drives to look at some doozeys.  Time, patience, and quite a few boats later we found a Bristol 29.9. The price was right because she didn’t have an engine which was big on Dennis’s must list. He had his heart set on putting in an electric engine. He got his wish and then some.

Turns out this girl needs more work than originally anticipated. That is usually how it goes though isn’t it? She is coming along slowly but surely. All the projects and hard work will pay off.

Would love to hear how sailing came into your life? Did you grow up a salty sailor or did you find the adventure later on?

Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar

 

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Electric Motor Adventure

After seeing enough You Tube videos of full time sailors I noticed there was one common ongoing problem they have. It is ongoing engine trouble. So I started wondering how this nuisance could be avoided. We want to sail and enjoy ourselves, not have to repair an engine constantly. After doing much research on the subject we ended up purchasing and installing our 10 kilowatt electric sailboat motor kit from Thunderstruck Motors . Initially my biggest issue was getting the rusty prop shaft collar off the prob with no electricity. That was interesting to say the least. Battery powered drill and hammer to the rescue!

Anyhow, once we got that off it was pretty smooth from there. No engine mounts needed, just pre-drilled and screwed 2 decent size lag into the engine mount runners, attached the prop shaft collar to motor and then mounted the Sevcon controller and relay mechanism to the wall.

The only other issue I encountered was that the set screw for the upper pulley on the gear reduction unit was way to short and kept falling down the throttle cable attachment. I figured I could deal with the set screw later. Do NOT test the unit before replacing the set screw with a longer one!!!!!!! If you do, your alignment will be off and you will not be able to get the set screw in later which leads to other problems.

I tried to attach my exsisting  (not so great condition) throttle cables to the digital throttle unit, but try as I might I could not get the throttle play I needed to make it fully functional, so the cables went bye bye. I was bummed I would not be able to use my exsisting levers, but at least I could bypass the cables/levers and have a digital throttle assembly in the cockpit. Not the prettiest contraption, but I intend to make it look less like a toy in the future.

Our first real test did not go so well due to the fact I could not get the upper pulley set screw back into the upper pulley system. What ended up happening was that the pulley slid back on the shaft close to the motor and started shaving the metal off the back of the housing and the belt edge started shaving. NOT so good! A LOT of trouble to undo this!!!! Do NOT test system before replacing the set screw!

After undoing the upper pulley and getting a longer stainless steel set screw in (thank you ACE Hardware) our second try went much smoother. We probably ran it about a mile on low throttle and all was well, although the motor was getting a bit warm by the end. Maybe install a fan in the future?

Since this is a 48 volt system , you need to build the battery banks in sets of 4. We currently have a system of 4 group 27/125AH deep cycle marine wet cell batteries running the system for now.

Since we are on a mooring field, we keep them charged using our house battery 195 watt solar panel charging system. We do intend on getting separate solar panels in the future to maintain the batteries.

So far we love the fact that the system is quiet, not stinky, not to ridiculously expensive, no marine mechanic needed and it is more environmentally friendly. We will probably at least double the battery bank in the future and go with AGM batteries.

The magic question: How many nautical miles can the motor run for? Honestly we can not answer that as we have not pushed her to her limit. I hope it continues to work well for us. We encourage others to go the route of an electric motor after seeing and smelling all the pollutants (diesel and oils) that go into the bilge, water, and air. All the boats in the water day after day, year after year adds up to a big contribution in polluting our oceans.

Happy sailing.
Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar