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How A 20-Yr-Previous With Zero Sailing Expertise Fixed Up A Sailboat

I’d by no means sailed earlier than. This wasn’t an issue, nevertheless, as a result of we weren’t crusing. We have been hobbling.


My new boat, bought for $5,000 from a man who instructed us solely after we’d paid that we had two days to maneuver the boat before he was kicked out of his slip, puttered out of the Alameda Channel and into San Francisco Bay. A 1974 Tartan 34C, No Bubbles fulfilled the promise of its title. At full throttle, the 14-hp Johnson outboard motor I’d lashed to the transom moved us wakelessly towards the Oyster Level Marina, ten miles throughout the bay. It will take six hours to get there.

Once i purchased No Bubbles, I knew it needed work. The previous proprietor had taken the engine out to do repairs and left it in a dock cart for months, the place it rusted into oblivion. And that was an issue I could truly see. But I wasn’t deterred. I work as an intern with former MythBuster Jamie Hyneman, who provided limitless instruments and recommendation. His store has the whole lot you want to build something, and he spent years sailing a dive boat in the Caribbean. I also work at a robotics firm. Between the 2, I knew I might handle the project—especially since I’d decided to utterly exchange the shot motor with an electric one. Here’s how I did it.

At my electronics job, we had been working with brushless 30-kilowatt scaled-up permanent magnet drone motors, which are much smaller and extra powerful than equally sized induction motors. The motors are designed for DIY tasks like airplanes and vehicles, and after writing custom firmware for one and troubleshooting the powertrain, I determined to order a 27-kV version for my sailboat. “KV” is a constant that approximates the rpm the motor will spin per volt applied to it. If I multiply kV (rpm/v) by my target voltage (eighty v), I can predict that, unloaded, the motor will spin at about 2,160 rpm. Loaded, this places it in a similar vary to the boat’s original Atomic four engine. To regulate it, I added a 500-amp electronic velocity controller (ESC) from Alien Energy System hooked up to an RC transmitter.

One profit introduced itself earlier than I even hit the water: The Tartan was designed with the motor proper in the midst of the cabin. It takes up a lot of room. To walk by way of, it’s a must to squeeze across the engine cover. However with the brand new tiny motor, which is simply six inches in diameter and three inches thick, I might exchange the engine cover with a small step and regain all of that ground house.

Prop Shaft
Jamie helped me attach the motor to the prop shaft. We figured it could most likely have sufficient torque to start out transferring the prop, so I made it direct drive for now, with no gear reduction. But when the bilge stuffed up and the bilge pump failed, that would go away the motor submerged. The salt water would destroy the bearings immediately. To keep away from that, I constructed a small plexiglass field across the motor to maintain the water out.

The motor runs on six 12-v 66-Ah deep-cycle batteries in sequence. On a calm day, it draws about 30 amps at about 3 knots. To make the boat go sooner, I’ll ultimately want to vary the prop, up the voltage, and get a new ESC that can handle it.

I also discovered eighteen photo voltaic panels on Craigslist for less than 20 cents/watt. Jamie and i welded cheap cosplay wig an aluminum body in an arch above the companionway, where we mounted 5 of the panels—power provide and an superior rain shield. Throughout peak sun, the panels can present 375 watts. That’s tremendous for charging my home pack, which runs the fundamental electrical elements of the boat, but the motor batteries still must hook up with shore power. Ultimately I’ll cowl the boat in the remaining panels and add a 3,500-watt Harbor Freight inverter generator. That ought to present enough energy to run the boat more often than not.

Chainplate Knees
Chainplates are metal helps that poke by way of the deck for the rigging wires to clip to. They’re bolted to items of wood hooked up to the hull. The compartment surrounding the starboard knee was fully crammed with water. As soon as I lower out the fiberglass round it, the plywood was so rotted I may scoop it out with my hands. I minimize a brand new piece of wooden, and Jamie gave me some fiberglass, epoxy, and filler to seal it back in. My largest mistake was forgetting gloves. Getting the bits of epoxy out of my arm hair afterward might need been the hardest a part of getting No Bubbles again on the water.

This seems within the April 2018 subject
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